Martin’s Life Changing Journey

For many years Martin battled drug addiction and was on the path to becoming a career criminal. He found his way back from the brink and now empowers others in his role as Trainee Branch Coordinator with WISE Ability where he gives powerful insight into positive change to disadvantaged people and those with disability.

Martin grew up in a loving home in Sheffield, raised by happy hard-working parents. During his secondary school years he became rebellious, unable to stand the formality and restrictions. After ditching school he felt free and spent time with friends shoplifting, the excitement helping to alleviate the drudgery of life.

Most of the remainder of his young adult life was spent committing petty theft, being involved in gang violence, drinking and using recreational drugs. Martin began using glue and marijuana before he graduated to cocaine and heroin which quickly spiralled into a crack-cocaine addiction.

Planning to score became a daily occurrence and slowly and unwittingly his priorities shifted from using, to dealing. In the grip of his addiction his offending intensified and Martin did things he never would have imagined. At a low point in his life he held up a petrol station using a fake gun and later robbed a neighbour at knife point.

Martin spent many years behind bars where drugs were freely available and despite being involved in correctional support and substance abuse programs, he remained unable to break the chains of his addiction.

His release from prison was followed by unemployment and trying to manage ongoing health conditions, including anxiety and depression. When he eventually secured a job, everyday issues such as relationships overwhelmed him, and drugs pulled him under again. He spent years cycling through offender programs, disregarding good people, and living on the fringes.

Eventually, disappointed and angry, he became determined to get clean through rehabilitation. He completed intense counselling to handle stress and anxiety.

After treatment he faced many hurdles to fulltime employment.

Martin said, “Everyday I was out looking for work but I could sense fear and concern about employing me. After an extensive period of job seeking I became reticent about employment. When I did manage to get jobs I often struggled to hang on to them.”

Desperate to change this he joined Work Programme and was referred to WISE Ability. When he first came to WISE Ability’s office he was sceptical about the service and uninterested.

WISE Ability worked closely with Martin, assisting him to complete counselling where he learned how to change the way he thought about himself and gain confidence.

Martin’s commitment to finding employment was admirable and WISE Ability saw his talent for demonstrating openness and empathy toward others. They invited him to interview for a Customer Support Assistant role and offered him the job.

Determination is one of Martin’s great qualities and he threw himself into the role wholeheartedly, which resulted in his appointment as Trainee Business Coordinator.

“As far as Martin goes his attitude is phenomenal. He has a reassuring nature, is a great listener and adept at supporting people in a very professional manner. We are so lucky to have found an individual like Martin, and it makes our job worthwhile, to know the positive impact an organisation can make on people’s lives,” said, Louise Revill, Manager, WISE Ability.

“When Martin first opened the door of WISE Ability he had no idea that within months he’d be working for the company,” she added.
Asked to characterise his transformation, Martin said, “Receiving this opportunity to work at WISE Ability and then being appointed Trainee Business Coordinator is wonderful and something I could not have imagined.”

“Previously I lived in a chaotic state and everything was spiralling out of control – every day was loaded with pressure, stress, frustration and pain. I used terrible tactics to get what I wanted and I found it difficult to look at my life without feeling shame and failure.”

“Now, just knowing I have something important I can offer from my life experiences gives me great comfort and I know WISE Ability will help me get through any rough spots so I can keep going rather than chuck it in,” added Martin.

Martin is moving forward into happier times. He is looking after his health, saving for a house and making outstanding progress towards being one of a rare few in Sheffield who have successfully had their IPP licence removed.

Martin’s mantra is “onwards and upwards”, and serves as an inspiration to others.