Blake’s journey to becoming a House Dad

Blake joined The Carpenter’s Arms in December 2022, and has since had a remarkable journey of recovery, celebrating several milestones of achievement.

As Blake moved into one of our Phase 3 houses, he quickly assumed the role of a house Dad – an integral position within The Carpenter’s Arms. Being a House Dad holds great significance as it involves providing support, guidance, and mentorship to fellow residents on their own recovery journeys. We’re delighted that Blake has now happily re-joined his family.

We asked Blake to tell us in his own words about his journey and what being a House Dad means to him.

“Hi, I’m Blake Murray, I’m 31 years old and I’m a recovering addict. I’m from a little town in Kent called Deal. I’ve been addicted to crack, cocaine, and cannabis for 12 years. I struggled with mental health from my early 20s and was sectioned twice, being in and out of mental health hospitals for many years due to using drugs to cope with my emotions and feelings. I have always struggled with my image and self-worth and never knew how to be open and honest.

I lied about using drugs and wore many masks to cover up my addiction and that just got worse and worse until no-one believed a word I said. I pushed family and loved ones away.

I have a little boy who I adore and want to be the best role model I possibly can for him. For me, not having a father figure in my life, not having my dad around was hard for me. I felt lucky I had my grandad who always stepped up, but I don’t want the same for my son, so I reached out and called the Carpenter’s Arms to change my life.

It has been a rough journey, with my mum suffering from breast cancer and having to pick up all my pieces from my wild addiction along the way, but I’ve found my Lord and saviour who has given me life again and I now feel at my best. I no longer wear any masks and can be my true- self and I know my Identity today in Christ.

I also use to wear 2-to-3 T-shirts and a jumper before I would leave the house because I had a massive issue with my weight. However, today I can say that I only wear one t-shirt and I’m happy! Now I’m seeing my son on a regular basis and have beautiful contact with all my family. I’m the house dad in Phase 3 and a support worker for Phase 1 and feel I’m growing stronger in faith and in my recovery, and my life, and look forward to what the Lord has planned.”

Blake’s achievements stand as a testament to the transformative nature of recovery and the hope it can bring to those battling addiction. As we continue to witness stories like Blake’s, we are reminded of the importance of fostering a safe and nurturing environment for individual seeking to overcome their struggles. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of Blake’s journey, and we look forward to celebrating many more milestones of achievement with him and others in the future.

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When I left the Military, I had problems in my marriage and was a victim of domestic abuse. I totally lost it and turned to alcohol. The Carpenter’s Arms were willing to take me on and knowing they were signed up to The Armed Forces Covenant was a big thing for me. I have grown with the programme, and I have now got self-worth. I wake up every morning thankful. I’m blessed.

Brian, resident

As a magistrate, I see the devastation of addiction to a person’s life, as well as their family and friends, when they end up in the Court system. The Carpenter’s Arms offers an opportunity, strategies and support to face and overcome addiction, and turn people’s lives around. It offers people hope at their lowest ebb to gain self-confidence and self-worth which are invaluable gifts.

Mrs Henrietta Chubb JP, High Sheriff of Leicestershire

I got out of prison on the 14th of December 2017 and went straight to The Carpenter's Arms and felt the labels go. My first clean test in 24 years felt amazing. I had never seen my little girls through clean eyes. It was overwhelming! All the victories that were coming for me just for being in this place.

Garry, resident

I’ve known The Carpenter's Arms now for several years and it's great to see the way in which they have grown. What they've done in terms of supporting the defence community has been extraordinary. They show such great enthusiasm and such an ability to reach into people's lives.

Bruce Spencer, MoD Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands

Before my arrival at the Carpenter's Arms, I was lost in a very dark place, haunted by past memories, suppressed by the use of drink and drugs. A local Christian charity recommended The Carpenter's Arms and I was thrown another lifeline and my hope was restored. My spirit, body and soul have been renewed, and I have re-established family connections and built bridges I once burnt.

Bradley, resident

The Carpenter’s Arms is one of our alliance charities working in the area of addiction. We draw on their understanding of what's going on, and their work and solutions for people living with addiction. It helps support our policy and working forward to sustainable living and aspirations in life after addiction.

Steve Meadwell, Regional Manager (Midlands), Centre for Social Justice

I have been suffering from mental health for over 10 years and was addicted to crack, cocaine, cannabis, and steroids. My life was unmanageable. My life has changed completely and I’ve been able to see my son again. I was lost and broken and now I am blessed. I am now a House Dad in phase 3 and I’ve been put on the Pathways as a Support Worker.

Blake, resident

I'm the trustee of the Carpenter's Arms and, this year, I’m also the Mayor of Charnwood. I first met Brian and Judith when I was a Magistrate Chairman of the Drug Rehabilitation Committee. The most rewarding experience was when I finished sitting on the bench and watched the amazing successes at The Carpenter’s Arms in capacity as a trustee. To sit and listen to the clients tell their stories, what they have done and how they have come out the other side with new beginnings, I think for me is the most rewarding. The court couldn’t do it, but The Carpenter's Arms did.

Councillor Margaret Smidowicz, Mayor of Charnwood and trustee of The Carpenter’s Arms

After years of hard drug addiction and causing a lot of pain and suffering for myself and my loved ones, I walked through the doors of the Carpenter's Arms. In the space of a few weeks, I started to see and think more clearly and within months my life had changed drastically for the better. I can't thank the Carpenter's Arms enough for giving me a second chance at life.

Marcus, resident

I've been an alcoholic for 3 years. Whilst it has been a challenge at The Carpenter's Arms, I have been clean for 1 month, have more energy and motivation to do things. A routine has helped me a lot, as well as being able to be around people which has helped me speak more easily. I am excited to go back to work and see my family more.

Rob, resident

I was a broken man after 16 years addicted to heroin and crack, with no confidence or self-worth. Through coming to the Carpenter's Arms, I have been able to break free from my addiction, have learnt how to love myself, how to treat others and how to deal with everyday life without drugs. I am now happily married with 6 beautiful kids and have had a job for the last 6 years.

Scott, resident