I was asked today about how one of our older boys is doing and I had to pause for a moment.

Could I imagine walking a day in his shoes?

This young man has endured a life of torture pain and fear and just managed to come to us before he technically became an adult. He is engaging, funny, sensitive and beats a heart that is full of mistrust

He describes how he can be doing something really mind numbing when his head is suddenly full of the violence he has experienced and witnessed. He says that his mind fills with video’s and he can’t escape the feeling that he is back in that moment of extreme fear. 

He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD

There are times that this experience is so overwhelming he can’t cope. He tries shutting down but that doesn’t last

He kicks off but that doesn’t help

So he returned to his medication of choice. The thing that kept him sane in his many years of living rough in town. The thing that numbed the dreams and flashbacks. That numbed his brain and he couldn’t think.

After three drug free years he returned to the only thing that he knew gave him an instant calm. He went back to drugs

We tried so hard to help him – we work with his trauma but we know that process is long. We sent our staff to be even more skilled in dealing with drugs and alcohol. We loved him and cared for him. But he needed more.

So we found it for him. He is currently going into his third week of rehab. We have found a good (but expensive!) organisation that is helping him. But we needed also to make sure he was safe.

So when he checked in so did his key worker. He was with him 24/7 for the first week until our warrior felt that he was ok – that he could cope on his own; that he was safe at night; no-one would hurt him and only then did we allow his key worker to leave him. We check on him daily

So when I was asked about this young man I paused. Some might see rehab as him being a failure. That his behaviours were not ok within our charity. That he should be condemned for his drug use.

We see him as a shining success who despite everything that he experienced is able to continue to trust that we are there for him. That what he needs is a programme of expertise that we can’t offer at that level.

My answer was simple. He is strong, scared, brave and frightened. He’s continuing to do what he needs to do in his life to access the demons that haunt him. He is fearless in his path and we are so very very proud of him.

His therapy continues – my hope is that he will find the relationship that will help fix the broken pieces of his childhood heart

His pathway is littered with glass ready to shred his feet and disable him but we are beside him to dress his wounds and give him the shoes that will protect him – always.