I was a drug dealer and a thief..now I'm addicted to healing; TWIN WHO BEAT DEMONS FEARS FOR BROTHER Charity saved Kev from life of crime EXCLUSIVE.
Nine years ago, Kevin Dooley
Kevin Dooley is a former editor at DC Comics. During his time there, he served as the assistant editor to Andy Hefler and took over much of Hefler's titles following his promotion. was addicted to heroin and had to sleep rough outside the Houses of Parliament Houses of Parliament: see Westminster Palace. .
Now, instead, of lying in the gutter outside Westminster, the reformed gangster has been invited inside to advise MPs on how to help ex-offenders stay on the straight and narrow.
Kevin, 46, has undergone a miraculous transformation from drug dealer to addiction recovery consultant and motivational speaker A motivational speaker is a professional speaker, facilitator or trainer who speaks to audiences, usually for a fee. The keynote speech generally takes place either at the beginning of the event, or the close of the event. .
What makes his life story even more remarkable is that he has shared most of the journey with his twin brother Brian.
But while Kevin has left his chaotic lifestyle behind, he fears for Brian, who has gone "off the radar".
Kevin said: "Brian and I spent more than a decade drugged up to the eyeballs and dicing with death in London's criminal underworld.
"We needed pounds 400 a day to fund our drug habit.
"We would shoplift shop·lift
v. shop·lift·ed, shop·lift·ing, shop·lifts
To steal merchandise from a store that is open for business.
v.tr. and recruit punters for the sex trade by day and at night we would sleep rough outside the Houses of Parliament.
"Heroin, crack cocaine, you name it we did it. Some days I would wake up covered in blood with needles sticking out Adj. 1. sticking out - extending out above or beyond a surface or boundary; "the jutting limb of a tree"; "massive projected buttresses"; "his protruding ribs"; "a pile of boards sticking over the end of his truck" of my arm."
But at Christmas 2001 the twins had a chance encounter with the Crisis homeless charity, who got them into rehab.
Kevin, who has a daughter Shelley, 26, said: "Brian and I were asked to be part of the charity's Christmas campaign and for the first time it felt like somebody really cared about us as people.
"We both went to rehab and got clean. Brian had a flourishing career as an artist for a while but is still struggling with his demons.
"He now lives in France and I have not seen him for quite a while.
"My life has just gone from strength to strength. I've been sober and clean for nine years and travel round prisons, schools and colleges giving lectures. I've also worked as a consultant to Avon & Somerset police.
"I could not believe it when I was asked to go to Westminster to speak to the MPs. My life had come full circle.
"Just 10 years before, I had been sleeping rough outside the building and there I was giving advice to the people running the country."
One of 16 children, Kevin had a poverty-stricken upbringing in Glasgow's Gorbals.
His dad William died when he and Brian were just six months old, leaving mum Katie, who died aged 86 in 2002, to struggle on alone.
Kevin said: "After my dad died, my mum had a breakdown and moved to England. We were brought up by my older brother Willliam.
"He worked two jobs to provide for us and was the most supportive and consistent presence in our lives. Brian and I owe our lives to him. If it was not for him we may have remained in the Cathkin Children's Home children's home n → centro de acogida para niños
children's home n → foyer m d'accueil (pour enfants)
children's home n we were in as toddlers.
"Growing up was a struggle and it was hard to avoid the gang culture.
"We started taking drugs at 12, buying Valium for 20p a tablet.
"By 15 we were both expelled from St Bonaventures School. I vandalised a classroom and assaulted a teacher and my brother knocked the assistant headteacher unconscious.
"We both became drug dealers in Glasgow and made a good living from dealing and thieving."
Kevin was locked up in Glenochil at 16 for assaulting a policeman and 10 years later was jailed for eight-anda-half years for attempted murder In the criminal law, attempted murder is committed when the defendant does an act that is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the crime of murder and, at the time of these acts, the person has a specific intention to kill. and possession of firearms.
He said: "When I was released in 1997, I followed Brian to London and got hooked on class A drugs.
"I shoplifted every day in Oxford Street. I was really good at it and only got nicked once in four years.
"Every penny went on heroin or crack. I didn't care about being cold or sleeping on the ground. All I cared about was my next fix. It was a dangerous life. Everyone we knew were shoplifters, addicts, pimps, prostitutes and criminals. I was terribly depressed but couldn't find a way out."
Kevin added: "After Crisis made their intervention, I spent time in a hostel and got on a methadone methadone (mĕth`ədōn', –dŏn'), synthetic narcotic similar in effect to morphine. Synthesized in Germany, it came into clinical use after World War II. It is sometimes used as an analgesic and to suppress the cough reflex. programme.
"Brian got clean first and inspired me to do the same. For the first time, I began to feel that there was a good person inside me and not a junkie junkie Popular health A popular term for a person, usually an IV narcotic abusing addict, whose life is disorganized vis-á-vis family and societal structure, whose existence revolves around obtaining–often through theft, prostitution or other illicit .
"Being asked to be part of the charity's campaign was a real turning point. I was treated like an intelligent person with an opinion. From that moment, I made it my mission to help other addicts and ex-offenders."
And Kevin has fulfilled his dream.
He runs his own addiction recovery consultancy business and has helped countless people.
He now lives in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and is in a serious relationship with voluntary worker Kasia Badon, 32, who he describes as his soulmate soulmate n → compañero/a del alma .
Since turning his life around, Kevin has built up a closer relationship with his daughter and her four kids.
He said: "Shelley came to London when she was 16 looking for me. She found me crashed out beside St Martin in the Fields church - I am not very proud of that.
"Over the past few years, I've got to be a real dad again. Not long ago we were at a function and Shelley asked me to dance with her, something I had never done.
"I'm now treasuring all these golden moments, I could so easily have missed out on.
"I'm back in contact with the rest of my family. The only person missing is Brian. He has gone right off the radar and I miss him with every bone in my body.
"I'm just keeping everything crossed he is safe and that he will get back in touch."
Kevin, who is writing a book - A Cruel Healing - about his life, wants to influence policymakers on how to help addicts.
He said: "The Government think the way to deal with addicts is to throw money at education and housing.
"They don't take into account the emotional healing that needs to be done before recovery can take place.
"You don't ask a drowning person why they are drowning, you try to help them and ask questions later.
"That's what they need to do."
ROCK BOTTOM Brian, left, and Kevin struggled as addicts with living rough in London SOULMATE Kevin with partner Kasia NEW START Kevin has turned his life around and now works to help ex-addicts and criminals stay clean