We ask students from Devon's rehabilitation centre Gilead Foundations to tell us their stories. This time it's the turn of GLEN COSTELLO.

Saved By Grace: Glen Costello

I'm 29 years old and have a five year old son named Connor, who lives with his mum. My life started okay. I was brought up in Darwen, Lancashire, where I went to a small Catholic school with my older brother and sister. My dad was a singer and so he was at the pubs most of the time, ending up an alcoholic. I started to drink at the age of 13 and my friends and I used to get drunk and do stupid things. One thing led to another and we started smoking dope and at the age of about 15 we started to take LSD, which at the time was great. If only we knew what was to come! Then one day heroin came on the scene. We didn't really know what we were getting into and before we knew it we were all hooked. The drugs caused arguments and fights - people even died.

My parents split up when I was 18 and my mum got remarried. After all this went on I decided to leave home and that's when I met Connor's mum. I was on drugs when we met although she did not know this at the time. I was with her for five years and after we split up I just went from bad to worse. I started drug dealing and became involved in a lot of violence. Then one day after being locked up in a cell, my dad picked me up and he told me of someone who could perhaps help me. I rang her and she told me about Gilead Foundations. She had been to this place and had been clean for four years.

She told me that she and her mum had been praying for me when I was in the cells. When she told me this I felt a strange feeling that I had never felt before. I did believe in God but had never turned to him or felt his presence. From that point on I just knew I needed help from some higher power. I did not understand it, but I just knew I had to come to this place and give it a chance. However, it seemed from that point things actually got worse. Due to my previous drug dealing, I was stabbed in the back and hit over the head with a gun and almost killed. But I believe that God was protecting me somehow.

I finally got my place at Gilead, and things started to change. I was a wreck. I wasn't even allowed to see my son any more, but my first blessing from God was that Connor was allowed to visit me after a few weeks. I had really been praying to see him and for my family to be reunited again. Then on one occasion I spoke to my dad and felt that he needed to read Psalm 42. He got out the Bible and to his surprise on that Psalm there was a leaf that my dad's wife had put there in 1972 before I was even born. I heard all this emotion over the phone! Then my dad's wife came on the phone and read me the Psalm - it was the first time she had spoken to me for 13 months. I know that God answered my prayers.

I now trust in God and my life has dramatically changed in such a short time. I am also becoming more responsible and at the moment I am being trained to help drive the milk lorry delivering milk in Plymouth, which means starting at 4am! If he can do it for me he can certainly do it for you. No matter what situation you are in, God can work through anything. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.