“I spent 5 years in prison for a drug offence. Being in prison strained my relationship with my family – it was as though I was handcuffed and unable to scratch the back of my neck when it was itchy – I couldn’t do anything. My wife and I got divorced and I could only see my children when they came to visit. However, I wanted my daughter, my son and my wife to see that I am trying to change, and so, I took this chance to study so as to give them more confidence in me.
When I first came to HCSA Highpoint, the one thing that stood out for me was that Highpoint has a water heater! To me, providing us with hot showers really showed the extent of Highpoint’s care for ex-offenders. Slowly, I started to mix around with others and witnessed how Highpoint brings people of different personalities, races and records together. Through these interactions, I gained a better understanding of others around me and of myself.
Highpoint has opened my heart to see things from a different perspective. For example, I now see everyone as a friend, and I don’t judge others – even strangers. This is something I learned from seeing how the staff never talked down to the residents but treated us as equals.
When I opened up about my personal life, the staff pitched in to help and guide me. They understood my concerns especially when it came to helping my wife. The staff’s eagerness and willingness to offer help really encouraged me to rebuild my relationship with my wife.
Highpoint organised many events where I could invite my family to join and this played a significant part in the reconciliation with my wife. One of such events was the Mount Faber Walk where the route was not easy, and I had to hold my wife and guide her along the way. From there, my daughter, who was initially against our reconciliation, saw my care and concern for her mother and changed her mind.
I reunited with my wife in a simple re-solemnisation ceremony and now, I actively try to rebuild and strengthen my relationship with my wife and two children. When we moved into our new place, I told my family, “This is not just a house, but a home.” I strongly believe that it’s not just being a family ‘in-name’ but being able to open up to each other. Families are meant to be together, and I’m thankful to be reunited with mine after being pulled apart for so long.
Today, I am also the lead member of AIM, the Alumni arm of HCSA Highpoint, where I volunteer my time to share my experience with the Highpoint Support Group every Tuesday. I am passionate about helping others, especially youths, move forward in society as they find a way out of addiction and criminality. I hope that my presence in the Support Group will not only help others but also act as a deep reminder to myself to continue engaging in my own recovery.”
Testimony by Feroz, Alumni of HCSA Highpoint Halfway House