“Yes, we can venture down these roads.”

“I had completely trashed my cell and the only things that hadn’t been destroyed were three books. The top one was the Bible, the second was the Power of Positive Thinking, and the last was Heal Yourself. I felt a shiver run through me. At that moment, I knew it was time to start changing”.



That moment was the start of a long journey. Once a powerful drug dealer working in the Birmingham criminal underworld, Tex has spent most of the last 16 years in prison. Inspired to change, he began to reach out in jail to people and support. Slowly, he started building a life free from crime and addiction. Tex talks about music as his salvation. He used the guitar and song writing to manage his anger and give him hope for the future. Recently released from prison, Tex has already played his own songs at a festival and auditioned for BBC television show The Voice. He has plans to set up a guitar school and is still stunned by how different his life has become.


The present and the future

“I want to start a guitar school.. I was known as one of the most effective street drug dealers around. And I’m thinking, if I can use my energies for the right thing, then who knows what I can achieve!”

 In prison

“There was a moment in prison about 15 years ago that I can pinpoint when I started to change, to make that transition…”

Wearing the mask

“When you’re on your own and you can start thinking… and you don’t have to put that mask on, I suppose the real you starts asking questions. It can get a bit treacherous . It can be really hard having to face the truth and then having to go back out and put that mask on again…”


“That’s one thing you know, my Daddy was a hard worker. But he just drink a lot of whiskey and that made it hard for us… Only one brother escaped it… but the rest of my brothers…. somewhere along the line we all ended up in jail.”


If Tex’s story has touched you, let her know.
Take 2 minutes to send Tex a message.


Here is Tex’s interpretation of what a better system can do for people: instead of only seeing one direction for them, services can take measured risks with the individual, by supporting them to find their own way to a good life.



Insights that relate to Tex’s story

Coping with love, rejection & trauma

icons3Unaddressed childhood trauma and rejection from a loved one, linked with a lack of support to cope with this trauma are often at the source of many of the issues people experience later in life. Access to therapeutic support is key.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Zeb Natasha Tex Martin Karen Stuart Colin
Coping with love and rejection Society’s expectations of you shape you


What is normal?

icons4.pngPeople experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage have often grown up in worlds where alcohol or drug use, violence, or offending are normal. How much does it take for someone to recognise and challenge these norms? Services need to not just focus on the individual, but also support whole families and sometimes communities to change.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Paul James Natasha Tex Steve


Change: “the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your life.”

icons2Acknowledging traumas and learning to be vulnerable are part of the recovery journey. It can be challenging to adapt to a “stable” life, especially when it means giving up on old relationships and environments, or when people then have to face universal services that don’t recognise how far they have come. We need to recognise that recovery is a journey, not just a step.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Zeb Natasha Tex Martin Karen Lee Colin
Building a new me – Part 1 Building a new me – Part 2


Recovery is a social journey

iconsExperiencing addiction, abuse or homelessness can be very isolating, and people experiencing those issues have often had to follow their own independent path from a young age. The system sometimes reinforces people’s isolation and sense that it is all their fault, while the circumstances they are in are in fact the result of a set of interdependent relationships. We need to support people to build positive relationships and social networks, and to be part of “recovery communities.”

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Tex Martin Lee Colin


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