Terry was days from death, he believes, when he was given the opportunity to be a night shelter guest. This is his story.
Throughout my life I've hit many rock bottoms. But in December 2019 I hit the deepest ever. The trap doors opened and my addiction to alcohol took me down another level. It would not be an exaggeration to say I was dying on the street. I was in bad health and was often incontinent. But the beer was so important that I couldn't be bothered to act for my own good.
The other homeless men were becoming concerned for me but were not always sure what to do. I had become a fixture in the doorway at the locked up TJ Hughes store. I knew it was starting to get really dangerous. I also knew that I should try and get to the Salvation Army. They knew me and I knew them. They were shocked at the state of me. They got me a shower and a process started where I began to wake up to Christ and really face up to the drink issue.
The next turning point came one freezing cold morning not long after. Terry had fallen asleep near to the Tesco Express in Grove Road.
I remember them shutting up. But I was so drunk I fell asleep without any sleeping bag blanket. It was a really cold December night, with a sharp frost. I woke up at six in the morning absolutely frozen. I knew I had to get into the night shelter.
Terry forced himself to walk and arranged to be referred to the night shelter.
It would be several days before I got the feeling back in my toes. I believe God saved my life and helped me make the right steps. I had lost so many friends, and some family members to hypothermia. Yeah, you know, I was like, How the hell have I not died. ‘I believe if I hadn’t done that I would probably have been dead within days.’
But that was only the start of the recovery for Terry, He had been in the night shelter before and his reputation for drinking to get drunk was no secret. He was however given the chance to try again by having the space and the time to break the pattern by spending 12 hours a day away from the temptation to drink.
I have been rebuilding my life. I made the choice to start putting my life back together - like a jigsaw piece by piece. I need to face my underlying issues from a place of sobriety. It's not always sweetness and light in the night shelter - but there are also people talking about their positive experiences of change in this kind of pushed together community.
A friend of a friend also helped me rekindle my faith. I had lost my way. But I have found the space to begin to put it all back together. I don't believe I've stopped drinking, just through pure willpower alone. I’ve prayed, Christians have supported me. Other guys in the shelter have supported me. You know, there are some days I have wanted to drink one but I believe God is with me. The night shelter saved my life.