Amongst my four siblings, I am the middle child and seeing our parents at each other’s throat all the time reflected on us. We had bad feelings towards each other and would fight a lot. Once it got so bad, that I stabbed my sister in the hand during one of our brawls. This led to my arrest for GBH (Grievous bodily harm). I was always very angry.
My parents eventually broke up, and I blamed my mother for it. Everything was a mess.
Gradually, I began to seek the attention and love that I didn’t have at home elsewhere. I involved myself with a group of friends who were popular and being with them felt like ‘family’.
I noticed that I could be more popular by fighting, so I took the anger from home to school. This violent streak got me kicked out of school just before my GCSEs. The event that led to my expulsion involved me grabbing a wooden stick with nails to beat a girl. We were in a group acting up but when it came time to face the consequences of that terrible act, I was on my own. I felt abandoned by my so-called friends and from there, I felt I couldn’t trust anyone anymore.
When I thought of speaking to my parents, I always felt like they wouldn’t understand me. I didn’t really have a relationship with my siblings, so I couldn’t speak to them either. I felt alone.
I would see people smoking, and a desire grew inside of me to try it, so I would pick cigarettes up from the floor and smoke them. Later on, I moved onto cannabis and would smoke it every day. It was the first thing I would do every morning and the last thing I would do every night. If I didn’t have it, I thought I would go mad. I depended on it to calm me down and to help me fall asleep.
At the age of 18, my mum had to call the police on me. I was arrested for domestic abuse because I was violent towards her. Out of anger, I smashed everything in the house until the whole place was upside down. I was out of control!
It felt like there was no hope for me. It came to a point where I would constantly cry, and I just wanted to end my life, but I was too afraid to do it.
I knew about the Victory Youth Group from a young age because I would walk past the building, but I never imagined that they could ever be able to help someone like me.
One day, I felt like something was drawing me in; telling me to go inside so, I did. I took part in one of their meetings, and I could relate to what was being said; I heard that I could be happy again, which motivated me to return.
I was taught that, in order to be happy again, I had to first let go of the things that were having a negative effect on me – people, addictions, grudges – and choose to forgive. I had to let go of all the emotional baggage that I had carried over the years. It wasn’t easy because that’s how I had been living for a very long time, but I knew it was the only way for me to be free.
Gradually, I began to see a change in me; I realised that I was no longer angry or craving weed, and I didn’t need anything to make me fall asleep because I began to sleep peacefully. I no longer felt like ending my life, and my family also began to notice a huge change in me.
I continued working on myself, and I can say that, today, I am completely different. Now, I wake up ready for whatever challenge comes my way. I have peace and happiness that comes from within me. There has also been a great improvement in my relationship with my family; we can now all be in the same room without wanting to kill each other, and when problems do arise, I no longer lash out – my reaction is totally different. I know this is only the beginning for me’.
Leandra’ life was full of problems; she had a lot of inner conflicts and a tremendous void within. Her suffering led her to become abusive towards her sister, Mamara.
Leandra and Mamara
David Baer had conquered everything he wanted: fame, recognition, girls; but none of that could fill the huge emptiness he had within. However, he understood the importance of opening up instead of fighting alone.