Dean O’Brien, Student
How did you find out about abob?
From probation. But then I had a chat with Ken Hinds and somehow I trusted what he had to say, even though I had no idea what was in store for me. And suddenly I was in the middle of a forest.
Tell me a bit about your family life?
My mum kicked me out when I was 16. I was in gangs and involved in violence. Things were pretty crazy. I didn’t have a father figure around ever. And I just got out of hand. I also had ADHD, which was hard for everyone to handle, including me. My mum couldn’t cope with me.
What did you go to prison for?
Three burglaries, a common assault, and possession of drugs. I got one month’s remand and I’m on probation for two years. If I do anything at all wrong in this time, they will send me to prison for five years.
How was the Quest for you?
Strange. At one point, we had to allow ourselves to be blindfolded and at that point, I had to trust. That was hard. I expressed a level of anger that I’ve never expressed before, and I found out techniques for expressing in a way that wouldn’t hurt me, and wouldn’t hurt anyone else. That was really important.
How about the community of men supporting you?
For me, it was a first, I’d never spent any time with a group of just older and younger men. That was incredible. And we weren’t allowed phones either so actually spent time together.
How was your relationship with your mentor?
Gavin is a very cool man. I have a great deal of respect for him. And he lives literally 20 minutes away from me. We share quite a few things. And he really helped me in going for a different way of life and having the confidence to want a lot more from life. He helped me through some difficult times and he still does. He’ll help me with relating to people in a positive way.
What did you discover about yourself through abob?
I discovered that I was worth a lot more than I thought I was. Before I used to spend a lot of time inside, now I am out all the time looking for work or in action in some way.
And you are studying?
Yes, I am studying to fix rails for London Transport. It feels good to be going for a job that I will enjoy.
What do you want for yourself now?
A good home, a good job and hope.