I was homeless for over two years before coming to Emmaus. I became homeless following a relationship breakdown; it was turbulent relationship, which lasted for eight years before ending in alcohol fuelled abuse. In the end I had to leave and choose to be on the streets.
Having developed a drinking problem, sleeping rough was an extremely difficult experience. I was on the streets for about six months, occasionally sleeping on friends’ sofas, but I was still struggling with my alcohol addiction. I could have gone to family and friends and got help from them, but the drinking was ruining everything I did, so I continued to sleep on the streets and continued to abuse the alcohol.
After around two years on the streets, I found myself in trouble with the police again for theft of alcohol and food from a local shop and one of the police officers that dealt with me recommended me to a charity called Addaction. He said they might be able to help me reduce my alcohol intake. It was Addaction that told me about Emmaus and that they thought it would be a good place for me to go. I did a two-week detox in hospital and I was then interviewed by staff at Emmaus Cambridge for a place in the community. I moved in two days later and I was at that community for four years, before moving on to live at Emmaus Village Carlton.
I can work anywhere within the community, whether it be driving vehicles, working in the warehouse or serving customers. I move around on a daily basis so there’s lots of variety in the work that I do.
Emmaus saved my life; if I hadn’t done my detox and come to Emmaus I would probably have ended up dying on the streets. Emmaus has given me purpose and structure, but out of all the things I have done in my 56 years, I don’t think I have felt as powerful as I do when I get out of bed and go to work in the morning. I am making a positive change to someone’s life somewhere and that’s an amazing thing to be able to do. My family and friends think that Emmaus is wonderful and can see the effect it’s had on me in turning my life around and making me happy. I am happy to be here, I feel safe and I love doing the work we do because I know it’s very important. I’ve been to Romania five times now working with Emmaus communities out there and it’s great to be in a position to do that sort of work.