When Adam was five years old, he was placed into foster care where he experienced abuse. After this he spent his formative years in various foster homes, social welfare family homes, along with a Boys’ Home.
“I was treated like a doormat,” he says.
From there, Adam looked for a sense of brotherhood and family, because this had been missing from his early life. He joined the Mongrel Mob.
“I got tattooed to scare people.
“I eventually joined the Mongrel Mob, but I ended up in jail again,” he says. “My final imprisonment was a few years ago. I had just gotten out of jail and was using synthetic cannabis heavily. I was arrested for burglary. The guy came home during the robbery and I threw a piece of furniture at him.
“I went to jail one month and then had a heart attack the following month. I died twice on the way to the hospital. When I went back to my cell, I thought 'there must be someone watching over me. He didn't want me to die'. I decided then and there that I didn't want my kids telling people that their dad died in jail. So I asked to go into the Bridge residential programme. I got the right judge who let me do this.
“I knew a member of the Bridge team personally. He took me in and welcomed me straight away. I was supposed to be there for nine weeks, but I stayed there for sixteen and graduated in August.
"I started to volunteer in The Salvation Army and now I work in the foodbank, reception area and drop-in centre. I also take care of the vegie garden for them.
"I recently graduated from a course. It was my second certificate ever, after completing the Bridge programme.
I've got a good relationship with my kids. They video call me every day, and I can visit them whenever I like. I just bought them heaps of Nike gear. It was supposed to be for Christmas, but I just brought it out. I love them to the max.
"My eldest boy is 15 and I've had custody of him since he was six weeks old. I also have two more kids aged 12 and three. They all live with their mother.
"Everything is so perfect, it's scary. I've had little slip-ups, but if I feel like I'm going to slip, I'll ring someone. I've got the best support I've ever had.
"I have tattoos and The Salvation Army offered to get them lasered off, but they're a part of my journey. The Salvation Army is where I was reborn, and it's my family.
"After I took all of those years out of the community by hurting people - it feels so good to put something back into the community. I want to be an inspiration to others in my former life who think they can't get help. You don't have to hunt for God because he's always with you".
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*All names and identifying details have been changed in this story to protect individual privacy. Stock images are used in all recovery stories. The Bridge would like to thank our tāngata for being brave and generous in sharing their stories. We wish them all the best for healthier and happier lives.