Tiglin – Stephen

“I couldn’t see any way out. I truly believed that it was all over, and I was determined this time. I had everything planned. I asked my wife to take the kids down to the supermarket, and I was just about to do the unthinkable when I received a message from my mother. It was an unusual message with perfect timing. The message just said, ‘Love you!’ That was enough to knock me off track… You see, I came from a broken family; my father left the family home when I was five, I grew up in a tough working-class neighborhood, with a work-hard, play-hard mindset. I would work for a week, earn some money, and then blow it all in a day. This very soon became an endless cycle, in which I spent nearly 20 years of my life. It’s not a fun game to play. I was a binge drinker, a party head, and gambled away an awful lot of money. There were times when I would lose a month’s earnings in an hour. The psychological damage that did to me brought me to depression, suicidal tendencies, and later a suicidal attempt. That day, after my mother’s message, I hit rock bottom. My wife found me sobbing like a child, and I told her everything. It was such a big relief to admit that I needed help. I reached out and I went into a treatment center I work for today. I went in, I opened up, and I listened. The two most important things I learned were to respect myself and to be honest about how I feel – these were the hardest to learn, but they truly changed me. Life is still not easy; both of my sons have autism and intellectual disabilities. Some days, my wife and I are at breaking point because we can’t get services. No therapies, no school placements, no help, just waiting list after waiting list. Despite all the hardship, I was able to find my passion, which I am truly good at. I now work in the community engagement team for a charity called Tiglin. I work closely with individuals who are living through similar situations as I was. Many of these people have life-controlling addictions that keep them trapped. It’s my job to show them that there is a way out and that there is help.”