Matt, 59, from Glasgow had began drinking heavily after his mum's death in 2007. One night, Matt fell and hit his head while drinking and suffered a brain injury. Staff at our brain injury rehabilitation centre in Glasgow supported him to heal and turn his life around.
"After I lost my mum, I started drinking. I used to get up in the morning and buy cider and go to my brother's house to drink. I would fall asleep on his couch and then wake up the next day and do the same.
I got my brain injury from falling out a taxi. It was December 2010 and I had been drinking. I cracked my head on the kerb. I was taken to hospital and had tubes put into my lungs. I was in a coma for a long time.
The doctors didn't know who I was. My daughter's name and date of birth tattooed on my arm helped them identify me. They put her details in their computer. I remember meeting Dr Brian O'Neill and he talked to me about going to Graham Anderson House. I didn't really think there was anything wrong with me.
I can't really remember what I was like when I was at Graham Anderson House. But I've read my reports which have been a massive eye-opener. At the beginning, I thought I would be out in for about three to four months. It turned out to be nearly 3 years.
They kept me there because of my behaviour. I was frustrated. I would see people being discharged and wonder what was happening to me. I believed there was nothing wrong with me.
I often felt like people were disrespecting and taking the piss out of me. I was the new character on the scene and had to put my foot down and be the boss. I did and said things that even I wouldn't have done before I had the accident. I was rude to staff. I used to get annoyed if they didn't do things the way I thought they should be done. I would look for mistakes and make a big deal about it. I came across as a bully.
Seeing people with disability in a new light
Before my brain injury, I didn't think about people with disabilities. I left school at 15 without any qualifications and spent time in ‘approved schools’ [former young offender institutions]. I was quite notorious in my local area. I worked as a painter and decorator, roadworker, labourer and bouncer, and also worked for a removal company. I spent some time in prison in between.
I remember catching the bus into the city centre in the early days at Graham Anderson House. I would feel annoyed at old folk or people with disabilities sitting in the good seats at the front of the bus. I would sit in them and not move for people who might need them more than me.
It wasn't until I'd been in Graham Anderson House for a year or so that I became aware of other people and the issues they face. I started to be more caring and helpful towards them. I can't remember the specific things I used to do in my rehab but the staff helped me to see things differently. I've got massive respect for people with brain injuries. They didn't ask for this.
My priorities are different
It took me a long time to realise that Graham Anderson House was one of the best things to happen to me. They did so much to help me back into society. Without them, I would not have the quality of life I now have. I wouldn't have the opportunities I now have.
I live in a flat on my own and do everything for myself. I go out and about as I please. Now, I get up for people on the bus if they need my seat. I don’t drink. But I can still go to pubs and enjoy myself.
I have two children: Steven and Stacey. And I also have four grandchildren. My daughter is my guardian which I really appreciate. I have a great life.
When I look back, I feel really angry for what I put my family through. My family tell me that if I didn't go to Graham Anderson House, I wouldn't be here at all. I'd be six feet under or floating down the Clyde.
Today, my priorities are living a healthy lifestyle, spending time with my family, looking after myself, volunteering and helping disabled people. I'm also on advisory groups for disabled people. I've got a lot to give back to society.”
Find out more about and take a look around Graham Anderson House