Alex Fishwick battled substance dependency for more than 20 years and after multiple spells in prison, decided to turn his life around when doctors advised if he didn’t make changes he would die.
The former addict attended the House of Lords this month to share his experiences at the launch of the Ex-Prisoners Recovering from Addiction Working Group Report, set up to help individuals like Alex build sustainable futures.
After undergoing detox and being released from prison in 2017, Alex moved into supported housing in Preston, enrolling on an access to Higher Education course at Preston’s College. He has also run sessions with more than 2000 young people in schools and youth centres, sharing his life story and highlighting the dangers drug and alcohol dependency brings.
Alex explains: “I was privileged to share my story with a Minister and MPs at the House of Lords and I hope the insights I could give will help others on their journey to recovery. I hit rock bottom and realised I wanted to live, especially for mum who has always stuck by me. I knew I needed help and getting into supported housing and starting College was a big part of the process.
“The routine of Preston’s College was brilliant and I really enjoyed the learning. I was used to being shoved away from people but I felt welcomed and got a lot of support going back to study after so many years. I’ve loved working with young people and I know this is the area I want to build my career.”
Dr Lis Smith, principal and chief executive at Preston’s College, said: “Alex’s story is incredibly inspiring and we are proud of his continued success. He is an excellent student and has overcome many challenges. To be invited to share his experiences in Parliament is a massive achievement and we look forward to welcoming him back here as a graduate in a few years to speak to our learners.”
Alex will study a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Criminology at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in September.