Overcoming a past fuelled by drug addiction, crime, violence and prison sentences isn’t easy. But a Swindon man is using TikTok to try to help others like him beat their demons.
Paul Simmons, 44, Walcot, appears to be a regular, happy, family man, living with his partner Zasha and two children Frankie, 8 and Lindon, 6, but things weren’t always like this for him.
Growing up he went down a dark path that saw him addicted to drugs, homeless and a criminal. He served a total of 22 years behind bars.
Now, in recovery from his addiction, he is using the social media platform to encourage others to turn their life around, acting as a mentor and a point of contact for people struggling.
“I was brought up in an abusive household, taken out when I was nine to a residential setting in Bath and abused again there. I managed somehow to leave school with all my GCSEs and at 16 I made myself homeless rather than going home,” he said.