Nathan's Story

Everything happens for a reason and luckily this saved my life …

I was just sitting there, just busking.

Out of the blue, I felt a punch in the back of the head. I turned around and he went to throw another—I didn’t really know the bloke—so because I’m not a troublemaker I got up and ran.

Next thing, I looked back and he’s chasing me.

I jumped over this little three-foot wall which ended up being, like a thirteen-foot drop. I didn’t even feel it break as I hit the floor. I went to stand up and the bloke jumped straight off the wall onto my leg. Like that!

After that because of the pain I was in and out of consciousness. The next thing I knew I woke up in hospital …

In fact P3 came with me to the hospital last Monday, we said: “It’s a bad break isn’t it?”

The consultant says: “It’s not a bad break, it’s an horrendous break. You were lucky to keep your foot.”

This happened—I’d love to catch the bloke who done it like, just to find out, why—but for me everything happens for a reason, luckily this saved my life because I reckon, I would have been dead now if I was still on the streets …

I’ve changed, I’ve put on weight, I was like a rake when I was in hospital. I can see it a little bit in my face like, cos you know when you’re on drugs if affects your face, but you really don’t see it in yourself. Now when I look in the mirror, I’ve got a few dimples coming when I smile. I’m happy and healthy.

I’ve been clean now ten months!

Prior to this I was on drugs for fifteen years, heroin and crack, luckily—I say everything happens for a reason—This happened and I’ve been clean now ten months.

As I say, I woke up in hospital. I was there for that about two and a half weeks. Then it was like a bombshell dropped on me, it was late Friday afternoon, they couldn’t keep me in till the Monday, they needed the bed.

At first, I was a bit angry, with the way it happened like, so quick! “P3 is on the way …”

I knew about P3, one of the nurses came up and told me P3’s staff were coming and Sarah turned up. I had a bit of a moan at her, cos they were expecting me to be discharged with no clothes or anything! I only had hospital pyjamas on. Luckily Sarah brought me something in new.

It gave me that little bit of dignity back. When you’ve got new clothes, even though you’re coming out of hospital, at least you’re leaving with something on your body. It made me feel cleaner, that was the nice thing about it, I couldn’t apologise enough to Sarah because I was really angry.

That was on the Friday afternoon wasn’t it?

Sarah sorted the night shelter 

It wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t perfect like, they kicked you out at seven o’clock in the morning and you couldn’t go back until nine at night. I was stuck in the town centre all weekend because I couldn’t get around.

It’s all a bit of a blur, my mind was racing, I was a bag of nerves, constantly sweating. I was constantly looking over my shoulder and the pain … I was on crutches, but it’s what I had to do from the Friday to the Monday. I stayed strong.

It was daunting more than anything, the worst part about it was sleeping on the camping beds, but I got on with it because I knew I had a real bed at the end of the day, Monday. Monday morning couldn’t come quick enough! Just to get off the streets …

On Monday morning I met Sarah. The lovely Sarah! Sarah brought me straight here, to P3. Actually, I’ve been here before, years ago—that helped. I was happy here then and I feel happy here now. The staff’s helped me with everything I’ve had to do. They’ve been fair with me and helped me through.

When I came here, I was on a lot of painkillers, I remember we spoke about it. I didn’t realise they were strong tablets and addictive as well. Codeine … I was concerned about taking them, so I just stopped them like that. I haven’t taken none since.

Now I’m just trying to sort somewhere to live to be more independent. I need something level … I think I might be alright up one step, I have to go up one step now, but when I go far, I still have to take my crutches with me ‘cos that’s when it starts to really hurt. Something will come along …

I did my detox in hospital

It was the worst three days of my life, I admit it! I was on that many pain killers I just thought sod it, enough’s enough. I didn’t go to a recovery unit.

It’s the worst thing a human being can go through, but it’s self-inflicted. What helped me was being on the morphine and all the tablets. I was in and out of consciousness anyway, so it took the edge off for me and I thought sod-it. Three days, I was tossing and turning, sweats, sleepless nights … The fourth day it was going straight through me, so never again!

Before I was smoking heroin. It was bad smoking the stuff, it’s opened my eyes now it really has. When you’re out there on the street taking drugs time just goes so fast and that’s the first thing on your mind every morning and every night, morning till night. Now it ain’t about that no more, now it’s about me. So, compared to 15 years using, 10 months clean is a long time and I’m happy with that.

For me it’s everything really, like I say I’m so happy in myself I really am, I’m trying to get my life on track I’ve made amends with my daughter which was my main concern. I’ve never felt so healthy, I really haven’t. I feel really good inside, really good.

I think my head, my mind’s pretty strong …

After this happened, every failure now just makes me more determined to fight even more, it really does. I’ve had time to think more than anything, like I say my life’s changed now …

The only times I found it really hard and that’s why I gave up over the time I was homeless, was benefits. Every time I went there having no ID, no address like, for every door that was being opened, two were shut in my face and after so many months you just give up and that’s what happened with me. I just gave up.

I’m only human at the end of the day, we all need a bit of help. It’s daunting when people shut doors in your face, that’s what makes people fail really, they should see everybody’s got their problems, we’re all only human at the end of the day.
There’s not many places that will give you a chance, so when you get that opportunity you’ve got to grab it with both hands.

To me it’s like a switch has gone on in your mind, it’s like now’s the time. Sod all that! I ain’t getting no younger. Enough’s enough.

Like I say this changed my life, I think I’d be dead, I really do because of the cold. I didn’t have a tent, I was only in a sleeping bag—everything happens for a reason, a bad injury has turned into a good outcome.

Anything’s possible you’ve just got to put your mind to it!

I’ve always worked, but then I got the sack, got laid-off, made homeless and this happened. My long-term plan now is to get back into work, it really is. Engineering or car mechanics, that was my last job I was stripping cars down to a bare shell, like at a breaker’s yard and rebuilding them.

P3 gives you the tools, but it’s down to you to take that, some people don’t. I grasped it with both hands and like I say the tools are there, you’m here to help us, why not take that opportunity?

My minds here now. It’s given me time to think and I’m getting more confident. You can’t shut me up! People come to me now with their problems and like, they all come to me and say can I have a word?

A few say fair play, fair play you’ve done the hard graft now, you’ve just got to keep at it. It’s about keeping positive now that’s the main thing. Be honest!

I have found it hard, a few times hearing about this drug and that drug, but I’ve learnt to just to let go over my head now, I ain’t interested, I’ll never do that again …

My leg is the only thing stopping me now, as I really do want to get back into work. They put me in this cast for five weeks which ran out Monday, and I thought Monday, yesterday they would take it off. The consultant showed me in more depth through the CT scan and they’ve found four more cracks, because the bar they put in broke, but they’re leaving that in, waiting for the bones to heal …

This really has saved my life and changed my life … I might shake the bloke’s hand when I see him! Thanks for breaking my leg!


*Name changed for anonymity.

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