Dean lives in an ACT house and came on our recent retreat. This is what he has to say about what life has been like for him since coming to Oxford:
'I used to be into drugs – a dealer and an addict. I was in and out of rehab a lot. Even when I was inside I could get hold of drugs. I would get some on my day out, take as much as possible, then head to the gym to work them out of my system so they wouldn’t show up on the weekly tests. Because of my addiction my relationship with my partner broke down.
I took up cage fighting and boxing, and after a while I was bare knuckle fighting to pay for my habit. I carried a weapon around with me and ended up stabbing a guy. I narrowly avoided prison but things were spiralling out of control. I didn’t care if I lived or died. I didn’t want to face reality and I was constantly in trouble with the police.
My family didn’t know what to do with me. They packed me off to stay with my uncle in Oxford. He took me along to church and introduced me to ACT. I didn’t like it and wanted to leave. But I went back a second time and it hit me – in a good way. I started to go regularly and soon I was offered a place in an ACT house. Things started to change…
Over the last few months it’s been like I’ve got a new heart. I’ve loved worshipping God and feel closer to him through church. Church now feels like a family.
I went on the retreat and loved it. We played football, went swimming, hung out round a campfire. One evening I stayed up most of the night talking with a friend about the difference God can make. Thinking about the way I treated my family and friends before, I realised I was like a beast.
Now I want to be different. I want to be a man.'