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'Jail Saved My Life'

Drink and drugs controlled Max - he found himself in and out of jail.

He was trying to get rid of his past, forget events, block his thoughts - it worked for 24 hours but then it would start all over again.

Before his life spiralled out of control he was an infantryman in the Royal Regiment of Wales.

He hopes his story will help others going through a tough time.

Our reporter Emma Grant spoke to Max about his time behind bars. Click link to LISTEN to his story:

 

Max told us: "When I came out of the army I didn't feel supported my life went on a downward spiral drinking a lot - taking drugs. In hindsight I was trying to end my life rather than commit suicide, I would take drink and drugs, until I passed.

"I had no vision of my life going any further than the day I was living in.

"I didn't care what happened and about people in general. It was a really sad place to be.

Spice controlled me

"I couldn't go back to my normal life. I was drinking, smoking spice. They had control of my life, I had no control. I ended up in jail, I went in for 9 months. I came out and it was back to the same routine. Then there was another incident. I ended up back in jail for another 34 months. Thankfully that's when I met Rob from Care after Combat.

"The charity came to a veterans meeting in jail. I liked what they had to say. I was a peer mentor for Rob whilst behind bars. He's opened my eyes.  I've never felt supported before. It's made me a better and feel like a better person and I do deserve a life.

So good to talk

"My medicine is talking. Even the slightest problem - talk about it, don't let it manifest into something major, if it's minor. So I talk a lot, I could talk for Wales. I never used to. I used  to build everything up and keep it  locked down and not talk about what was affecting me. But now I do and feel better for it.

"I now feel like I have a future ahead of me. I am on a rehab so whilst I am doing a programme I can't work. I'd volunteer anywhere if they'd have me. I am not work shy.

"I have just got the qualification to mentor. I want to help someone who has been where I have."

Getting the right support

When asked how he felt about the threat of Care after Combat's office in Swansea potentially facing closure he said: " When I was told I was gutted. I hope it doesn't happen. The Welsh Government need to put their hand in their pocket and fund Care after Combat to enable Rob and Dai and the team to help guys like me, get back on the straight and narrow.
 
"If people judged me I wouldn't be where I am now. People have given me a chance and seen past my mistakes and seen the person. It is humbling for someone like me that people are willing to care for me. The Care after Combat set up are a cog in my life and it is going forward."

Care after Combat's Swansea office is facing a funding crisis. Its CEO Jim Davidson told us two weeks ago that it is at risk of closure within three months if it doesn't secure investment. The comedian performed at the Grand Theatre last Friday and will donate all of the box office takings to operations in the city.

Click link to LISTEN to Jim and find out more about Care after Combat's fundraising ball at Celtic Manor in May: https://www.thewave.co.uk/news/local/care-after-combats-swansea-office-could-face-closure/

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