Hello my name is Garry, and I was a resident on the Teen Challenge programme 5 years ago. I was helplessly and hopelessly lost after being addicted to heroin for 15 years. It was not always like that. I came from a loving family and am the youngest of three children. My parents were not Christians and I only ever heard God mentioned in assembly at school.
As a young boy I was very lively and had lots of energy so my dad decided to take me to a boxing gym. I fell in love with the sport and from the ages of 10 to 19 progressed and was very successful, getting chosen to represent England on a number of occasions. At 19 I gave up boxing and started taking ecstasy and cocaine and this went on for about 4 years, but I could not find fulfilment in any of these things. I craved excitement and acceptance by others, but I was never satisfied. I decided to go back to boxing and take it seriously. I had not taken any drugs in a year and was training hard. Then someone introduced me to heroin and in a matter of months my life went out of control. It seemed like 15 years went by in the blink of an eye. I had alienated all of my family, all of my friends, my wife divorced me and I lost contact with my son.
I had been on a methadone script for about 12 years and went into my doctor every week to pick it up and it was whilst I was in the surgery that my doctor shared his faith with me. I looked forward to going every week to speak to my doctor about his faith, although I would never admit it! I started going to a local church and the people there were great for they accepted me and just loved me, however, they did not know how to help me. Someone in church knew about Teen Challenge and suggested that I should go there for help. It was the best decision I had ever made.
From the first moment I walked through the gates I knew God was there and I knew that He wanted me. From the moment I cried out to Him as I was in my withdrawal He came into my life and has always been with me. My life is so unrecognisable now from the life I had without God. I sometimes have to pinch myself. Jesus said, ‘I have come to save the lost’. Well, I was lost and He did indeed save me. I do not know what the future holds, but I am excited about it. My family has been restored to me and I am now in contact with my son and have got married to the most wonderful lady. I used to wake up and my first thought was that I wanted more heroin; now I want more of Jesus.
Garry worked with us for 10 years. Garry was part of the Himalayan Mission Team, gained a diploma in counselling and got married. He is now working with Pilgrim’s Hall in Brentwood.