#WorldHomelessDay & #WorldMentalHealthDay 2021

Adam shares his journey from homelessness to working for P3

Adam was just 21 when he bought his first home. He had a good job and when the time came to renew his mortgage, he changed it to buy-to-let, rented it out to some people he knew from his workplace and bought a flat. Everything seemed secure.

But by his own account he was “stupid, young and naïve”. He began to get into drugs, first seeing a way of earning some money and then using himself, starting with heroin and then cocaine.

Things spiralled. Adam was declared bankrupt and lost his home. He then found himself sofa surfing and living on the streets, and then he was admitted into hospital with kidney failure. Utterly unable to break his dependence on heroin, he attempted to take his own life. A type 1 diabetic, he took a huge overdose of insulin while out in some woods.

Fortunately, a dog walker found him after he passed out. Adam woke up three months later in hospital and was immediately sectioned as a risk to himself. “It was difficult,” he recalls. “I couldn’t have a cigarette or even a hot tea. Then I got a new doctor who understood that I was existing, not living, and that I wanted to live.”

After being discharged from hospital, Adam was introduced to a Christian rehabilitation centre where he spent three months. When he left, though, he felt, in his words: “Crap! I felt like I had broken everything and had health complications due to my kidney failure. I didn’t know anyone, and I was oscillating a bit. So, I went to Gloucester, I’ve been everywhere in the forest, sleeping rough or on sofas …”

But Adam’s journey is one of remarkable transformation and from being told by the doctors that he would be dead in weeks, he went to try to sort out his debts with Christians Against Poverty, and then he began to engage with his local church. “I really put a lot into it,” he said. “And I got clean from drugs. It was a real battle, really nasty. I couldn’t sleep or eat. But it was worth it. I’m a recovered addict for about five years now.

“I had paid some of my house and flat off and I could have sold up and had the equity. But I was too scared to speak to people. It was a pride thing.”

Adam is sensitive and knowledgeable about homelessness, having experienced it himself. “Covid was an issue. For example, as an addict I could walk into any local church or council for a Trussell Trust food parcel, but now you have to organise it online. Anyone who is struggling can’t afford to pay for internet access on their phone.”

And today Adam is now a rent-paying council tenant – employed by P3! “If P3 had been there, it might have taken ten years off my journey,” he says. “I’d have had support in the community.” He is also “on a Christian journey”, having received so much support from Christian organisations.

“And now, I love my life! I love my job and my colleagues are great. I’m really happy to be here, alive and building a future.”

Name changed for anonymity.

Photo by Brennan Martinez on Unsplash