When you start using petrol to get high at the age of seven, life gets hard fast.
That's what happened to Blenheim man Jason Ross, who has been in and out of jail five times. He says his addictions only got worse as he got older, "that escalated into pot, alcohol, mushrooms, acid, ecstasy."
But the father of three says he really hit rock bottom when he assaulted his partner, and mother of his children while she was pregnant with their third son.
"That was a very very low point of mine, I just felt ashamed as a human being that I could hurt the person I loved."
Through tears, his partner Megan Coster told 1News, "That was the last straw for me, especially with two young children at the time and a third on the way. I pretty much told Jason do it, or pack and go."
It was an ultimatum, and his Probation officer Billy McKay was the one who helped him follow through on a promise to change. Instead of allowing him to be jailed for a sixth time, he pushed for Jason Ross to be sent to The St Marks Residential rehabilitation centre.
He spent three months there, fighting his addiction, and as part of his therapy he started work on a children's book.
That book, The Fairies of Woodlock Forest has now been published and sold out twice with another print run on the way.
Jason says, "It's monumental to me, it’s huge, I couldn't see myself accomplishing very much in my life."
"It's absolutely fantastic. He's a different guy to what he was last year , a year and a half ago he was a bit of a nightmare to be honest," says Probation officer Billy McKay.
Now he's writing his second children's book, and has plans to write an autobiography about his battle with addiction.
As the pair share a hug, his partner Megan says 'I'm very proud, he's come a long way…. A very long way."