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Former Seven Kings crack addict wins film festival with piece about recovery

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 October 2019

Junaid,wrote a poem exploring recovery. Picture: Suhail Patel

Junaid,wrote a poem exploring recovery. Picture: Suhail Patel

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Two creatives from Seven Kings won first place at a national film festival

Poet Junaid Khan of Westwood Road, and film director Suhail Patel, of Pembroke Road, joined forces to make a short film exploring addiction and recovery for the Recovery Street Film Festival.

Junaid has struggled with addiction his whole adult life having been a regular crack and heroin user.

He said that the experiences of his past have had a profound impact on his mental health, and he spent years in and out of prison while battling his addiction.

But with the help of professional services such as R3, based in Ilford, and charity HumanKind, where he now volunteers as a peer mentor, Junaid has been able to overcome his past demons by using writing and poetry to process past trauma

The poet performs in a short film created by director Suhail Patel. Picture: The Beast Inside MeThe poet performs in a short film created by director Suhail Patel. Picture: The Beast Inside Me

"It's truly been a privilege to have participated on this platform, knowing that my experiences are helping people in addiction and inspiring people not just in recovery but the services that work in the field of drugs and alcohol," he said.

"It helps people like me to become better versions of ourselves.

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"I wouldn't be here without their help."

The poet hopes that the film will raise awareness about addiction and encourage more people from the Asian community to talk about the issue as "not enough" do.

Suhail added: "It has been an honour and privilege to work with Junaid on this project which has truly been a labour of love.

"Knowing each other from childhood, this was an emotional experience for all of us. I am very pleased we have won and want to thank the services which have helped Junaid turn his life around."

The film, The Beast Inside is scheduled to be shown around the country to raise awareness about the stigma associated with addiction and those in recovery.

A spokesman for the Recovery Street Festival said: "The aim is to empower people affected by addiction by giving them a voice, providing a platform for them to tell their own stories of the 'ups and downs' and how they reached recovery.

"We want the films to highlight the problems that are confronted when someone is attempting to regain their place in society: to gain new friends, to revive links with family, secure a home and get a job.

"We want the films to show a different side to the story of addiction: one that shows a true picture of the determination, commitment and courage that is required to start life afresh. It can be an uphill struggle and one that is not without its pitfalls and disappointments and we want the films to explore all the challenges that people face."

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