I have got there having gone from having everything I wished (within reason). I came from a happy, settled and comfortable family. I have never really had to go without due to both my mother and father having very good, stable jobs.
I was born in Pietermaritzburg, which is a few miles outside Cape Town and I enjoyed everything that South Africa offers. Upon moving to the UK and my parents getting a divorce, I then saw how things can change very quickly. I suddenly saw what it meant for my mum to struggle to raise a family on her own.
I had a good education, GCSE’s, A levels and eventually an HND in English but I joined the British Army at 18 and saw active service in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia. It took me into a world where I had to endure situations where I saw things, experienced things and directly endured hardships and evil at every turn. These years in military service had an effect on me and my life. I was Honourably Discharged after an 8-year service with both physical and mental ill-health.
I have been homeless and on drugs for a considerable period of time since coming out of the Army. My drug addiction started with prescription medication for the pain but soon led to illegal drugs.
Over the last 15 years, I have had the fortune of being able to come to the Jesus Centre. During some periods, I have come almost every day. At other times it has been more infrequent, but always it has benefitted me so much. It enables me to have things that everyone (except a small few) take for granted.
I am currently still homeless but staying with a friend and being helped into more permanent accommodation. I am no longer injecting drugs and have even come off my methadone prescription. Coming to the Jesus Centre where we are not allowed to use drugs really helps with this.
The benefit of coming to the Jesus Centre is that it is a safe and warm space and it is a good atmosphere that allows me to make friends. I really enjoy conversations and have built up real friendships. I have used the Centre as my postal address for many years as it is a safe and steady address while my life has been chaotic. I sometimes get food here although I prefer to buy my own when I can so I can leave more for others.
Other services I use here are so useful – the shower, the use of the bike lock, use of the computer, games within the Your Space activities (although I have retired from table tennis as Tony beat me too often!) and charging my phone. Andrew
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