Gutter Life: Creative writing for Anti-Slavery Day - My CMS

As part of our #50YearsOfChangingLives celebrations this year, we held a creative writing workshop for people supported by Changing Lives services.

We wanted to mark our 50th Anniversary by giving the people we support an opportunity to express themselves through writing, share their experiences and create something we can look back on for years to come.

Anti-Slavery Day, 18th October, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 introduced victim support measures and law enforcement powers to tackle modern slavery. Through the Liberty Project, Changing Lives support people who have experienced modern day slavery, but also work with other partners to develop best practice.

So it is fitting that today we share a piece of creative writing from J, who received support from our Liberty Project.

“Changing Lives, for me, has done exactly what the name says. It has changed my life,” said J. “Changing Lives were willing to invest faith and time in me and actually care about working with me. This has made me want to try harder because without them or their help, I would either be dead or in prison. They literally saved my life”.

Gutter Life

Before you judge man, just because of an image,

A book is always different from the cover when you’re in it,

So let me show you how I lived and how I’m living
How I came up out the gutter there’s no forgetting how I did it

Catch me looking at the stars when I’m thinking about the past life,

Palms get sweaty then my chest starts getting so tight
Take a breath, another second man it’s alright
Reminiscing got me sitting up all night

I use to wake up, suicidal and stressed
Cos I was addicted to drugs and got into a mess
Surrounded by violence, crime and depressed
It got to a point I couldn’t clear out my head

Couldn’t ask for no help cos no one was around
And the ones that was there only wanted them pounds
So I hustled real hard but I kept them about
Even asking for help to then getting turned down

Man I finally snapped and reach out for some help
Cos I was lonely and mad and was going through hell
And I was anxious for change but I knew I knew how
Just needed a chance and a little way out

And I got away from that life, and involved with some guys
Who decided to help, was called Changing Lives
Now I’m six months sober and feel so alive
Healthy and happy now I opened my eyes

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