How an ex-drug dealer has changed his life
A MAN who has blown £250,000 on drugs, been jailed twice, suffered severe drug psychosis and put two men in a coma through gang violence has turned his life around. Three years ago, Rob Joy, from Letchworth GC, was at rock bottom and suicidal. He said it
A MAN who has blown £250,000 on drugs, been jailed twice, suffered severe drug psychosis and put two men in a coma through gang violence has turned his life around.
Three years ago, Rob Joy, from Letchworth GC, was at rock bottom and suicidal. He said it was then he found God, became a Christian and transformed his life.
The 29-year-old now spends his time talking about his past experiences at schools, prisons and churches in a bid to help turn people away from a life of crime and drugs.
Rob said: "I grew up on the Jackmans estate in Letchworth and lived there most of my life. It was growing up there that I got into the gang life. People were calling us the Jackmans Boys.
"When we were 15 or 16 we started drinking heavily. We would take on the doormen and beat them up. There were so many of us - about 30. Our reputation was becoming worse and worse. People would steer clear of us or be with us to keep on the right side of us. We would take over pubs like the Hogshead and The Three Magnets until we were barred from every one.
"Then the drugs came in when I was 16 or 17. I became totally out of control. I started off on speed and went from doing that every other weekend to doing it every day. I became the biggest dealer in Hertfordshire. I went onto cocaine and then crack cocaine. My dad died and left me a lot of money and I blew £250,000 on drugs.
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"I've been to prison twice. In 1999 I got 18 months because a group of us beat someone up and put him in a coma. I pulled a weapon out to hit him with and then we started fighting.
"I went to prison in 2002 for hitting someone round the head with a gun. I was already out on bail for hitting someone with a lump of wood because Chelsea lost to Liverpool. I was totally out of control.
"I lost everything - my flat, my girlfriend. I went down to eight stone and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I lived on my own in Baldock and was borrowing money to buy drugs. I was a real mess. I used to cut my clothes open thinking I was bugged. I almost cut myself open because I thought there was a bug inside me. I was off the wall.
"I was standing on a bridge in Baldock and wanted to throw myself off but something stopped me. I knew there must be something else.
"I tried to get off the drugs and I found out my girlfriend at the time was pregnant with my son. That gave me a real, real hope.
"I desperately wanted to stop the drugs but I couldn't. I was so addicted.
"My son's mum got back with me and I got work. But I was so far gone she left me.
"I rang my mum who is a Christian and has been praying for me for years.
"I had always believed in God. She taught me how to pray and I asked Him to help me.
"Literally overnight I felt something happen in my heart. I used to have to sleep with a weapon in my hand. I slept for the first night without a weapon and there was no paranoia.
"When I left my house the next morning I knew God was real. There was a new feeling in my heart, not anger or hate.
"I don't take drugs and I don't drink now, but I don't pretend to be perfect. It's been nearly three years since I became a Christian and I have messed up a few times, but I'm trying. Even if I fall down I keep going."
Rob now lives in Sunderland, to avoid the temptations of his former way of life.
Last year he received a bravery award for stopping an armed robber.
He has written a book called Satan's Lost His Grip On Me, which is available online at www.mciuk.net/shop