Gerry Inspires Cashback Course
Tue 9th May 2023
Gerry Murphy is a man who has learned from his mistakes and is determined to help young people avoid the bad decisions that led him to addiction, prison, homelessness and mental ill health.
Gerry lost everything thanks to drugs, drink and crime but managed to get his life back on track and now uses his experiences to reach young people who may be heading down the wrong path in life.
The Foundation recently asked Gerry to speak to a group of young people attending our Cashback For Communities – Towards New Futures course and when he began to tell the story of his life, everyone in the room was completely engrossed.
The participants, who are all young people with experience of the criminal justice system, took away an inspiring message of empowerment from the session, hearing first hand how taking responsibility for yourself and your behaviour, and confronting your past and your fears can allow you the freedom to live life more fully and honestly.
“I’m from the Gorbals,” explained Gerry, “And I grew up in violence and poverty. The decisions I made took me to prison, to 16 different drug and alcohol clinics, to homelessness and even to attempting suicide on numerous occasions.”
“I have been in three different mental institutions, in padded cells, straight jacketed. I’ve been in prison in a 10 x 8 cell, just me inside my head. I’ve been homeless, begging on the street. I’ve had cancer twice. I lost everything – my wife, my son and my house.”
Thankfully Gerry sought the help he needed and was slowly able to turn his life around. He has since written a book and travels the country talking to young people and adults about his experiences.
“It’s easier to blame others than it is to take responsibility for your own behaviour,” he told the young people, “You are responsible for the way you think and behave.
“You might be angry at your parents, blaming them for the way you have been brought up, but you need to be able to forgive the people who have wronged you. They are often doing their best. They have their own problems and issues.
“The only person who can change you is you. You have to face your pain. You have to admit to yourself the wrongs you have done. What you give is what you get back.”
Gerry challenged the young people with a series of questions, asking them to be honest with the wider group about the attitudes and behaviour that resulted in them attending the course. He also opened the floor to questions about how changing his own mindset and attitude, and removing himself from peers who encouraged his anti-social and self-destructive behaviour, helped him rebuild his life from rock bottom.
Providing speakers such as Gerry is just one of the initiatives the Foundation undertakes to make sure participants on our Cashback courses have all the help and encouragement they need to get their lives back on track. To find out more about our Cashback For Communities – Towards New Futures programme, click HERE.