I’ll never forget the day my dad committed suicide.
It was a day like just like any other, my sister and I walked home from school together and when we stepped inside we found him hanging in the hallway.
I was only 6 years old at the time. To this day, whenever I walk up a corridor or open a door, I still get flooded with all these memories.
After that, I completely went off the rails. I got in trouble at school and ended up being sent off to boarding school. I left school early – it really wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t long before I started doing drugs. I met a girl and we had a baby together. My partner was an alcoholic and that relationship didn’t last very long. Sadly, I lost contact with my 5-year-old daughter.
I moved down to Manchester and through my addiction ended up sleeping rough in the city streets for 4 years. These were the worst years of my life.
People spat on me, peed on me and kicked me while I was asleep. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you sleep rough in a big city. That’s the side of homelessness people never see.
My health was deteriorating fast, I had a heart attack last year. After that, I decided to come back to Scotland and got a place at the YMCA in Glenrothes.
There, I found out that my daughter had become homeless and was staying in the YMCA’s supported accommodation for girls in Farmhouse.
The YMCA helped me reconnect with my daughter who I hadn’t seen for 11 years. I’ve had to slowly gain her trust but now we see each other regularly. I always look forward to meeting her for a meal. I find it hard when she calls me dad though, the word ‘dad’ still brings up all these painful memories.
The YMCA also connected me with the right people to help me stop using drugs. With the help of my addiction worker, I’ve been able to finally kick the drugs.
Things are looking up for me right now. I’m seeing my daughter again, my health is improving and I’ve finally overcome my addiction.
I used to be a painter decorator and the YMCA in Glenrothes restores unoccupied flats. I will be involved in redecorating a few of them. It feels good to use my skills for something so worthwhile.