I celebrated 10 years of sobriety in November. When I was 13 years old, my parents got divorced and I went off the rails. I was drinking and smoking hash. By the age of 20 I was an intravenous drug user. My addiction and life was out of control.
Eventually I lost everything and there I was, on the streets, just up the Royal Mile. I had nothing. I felt so isolated and low that I wanted to give up. Even though I didn’t know God I actually reached out in prayer for the first time.
A few months later He answered my prayer. I got a support worker who was an ex-addict herself. I was looking at somebody who had lived a similar life to me and I thought “Maybe there’s hope that my life can change too.”
She found me a place at Bethany Christian Centre (a residential addiction recovery service). I could tell there was something different about the place; it was love, authenticity, compassion. The staff really embraced me. It helped break down barriers and turn my mindset around. I think the turning point for me was when I realised God’s unconditional love for me. I was in there for 18 months and I came out sober, a completely different person.
I’m now privileged to be working as a nightshift team-leader at the Welcome Centre. I can relate to the guests and empathise. I’ve had people breaking into tears, saying they’ll never recover. I tell them I was homeless myself 10 years ago, and your life can turn around. I’ve experienced Christian love in action. It does change lives. I have a changed life.
It’s so important to come alongside people and love them, to be there for them. When you’re sleeping rough most people walk past you and want nothing to do with you, rather than trying to connect with you. We recently had a person at the Welcome Centre say to us, “There’s something different about you guys, because with all the trouble I’ve caused you, you still take me back.” It’s because we love the guys, that’s what we do.
Sometimes I just sit in my house and think about how far I’ve come, I just feel so blessed. My daughter will say, “Dad, I’m so proud of you”. To see our relationship restored, It’s amazing!
I hope my story encourages and inspires you. We couldn’t change lives without your prayers and donations. I’m proof that anyone can turn their life around. We might just need an intervention, someone to come alongside us. There’s always hope… Where there’s life, there’s hope.