Matt’s Story

ArrowArrowIf it wasn’t for St Martins I would of seriously been dead.ArrowArrow

Matt has lived in Norwich all of his life.

‘I had a tough childhood, and then I had to recover myself when I left that. I then became a father and all the things that happened when I was growing up made me think ‘is he acting his age, or is he acting younger than himself? But I was thinking that because I had to grow up quick. My son didn’t have to. He had two decent people, until I messed up.’

Matt found himself becoming addicted to heroin, which eventually led to him becoming homeless. His relationship with his family broke down, his friends kicked him out of the flat he was staying in when he decided to give up drugs, and he ended up sleeping on the streets.

When he came to St Martins 10 years ago, his journey started at Bishopbridge House. From there, he moved on to Barnards Yard, and after that, Pottergate. He was unfortunately taken off of the list for a flat, so he was moved to St Martins House, one of St Martins second-stage move-on accommodations.


In his own words

He recounts his time on the streets:

“So, basically, I didn’t want to buy heroin anymore and my mate was letting me stay there. I said, look I want to give it up. And he said ‘well you know where the door is’. I thought right, I’ve got the message. So then I roughed it out on the street for like a year. It wasn’t St Martins fault why they didn’t find me because I kept myself out of the way.”

“There was one time I was on the street. It was the year that it was snowing really heavily and it laid really thick. When I woke up, I thought I was dead. It was all white. I thought ‘Wow, well if this is heaven, fair enough’, and then someone wiped all the snow off of my face. And then I realised I wasn’t in heaven; I was outside Jarrolds. These people asked if I wanted a hotel room for the night, and I said no because I don’t like charity. It took me a lot to actually get to St Martins. The pride is still there. You still want to do it on your own even though you know you can’t. I think that’s where you do wrong because sometimes when they say about pride, pride is a fool. And if it wasn’t for St Martins I would of seriously been dead.”

“Every day I was hearing ‘you dirty smackhead’ and I never wanted to become that man. It was because I’d lost my mum, I’d lost everything around me. My big family left, my mates died on me, my brother died on me. And my other sister died, and all my other side didn’t want to know me. I didn’t beg for money. People used to throw it at me for some reason, God knows why. I used to sit there thinking, don’t throw any more money at me, and when it got to £20, I thought ‘Ah! Drugs!’. If they hadn’t of thrown money at me, I wouldn’t have thought about it! I would’ve been stuck there, like a cocoon. They think they are doing you right for giving you money, but they are just feeding your habit.”

“But now, I’ve kept away from drink, I’ve kept away from heroin, I’ve kept away from crack, I’m gonna be honest I’m not gonna say I’m teetotal because I’m not. I do smoke a little bit of marijuana, not a lot, a little bit to help me with my nerves.”

“It is hard. They don’t tell you this. They say there are two stages to recovery, but there is three. The first recovery is actually the drug itself. Then you have to come off the methadone. That’s two. They forget to tell you about the big empty space that comes afterwards. And that means trying to mend old bridges that you know you are never going to mend. Trying to forgive yourself for all the people you’ve upset and robbed and to be back to do all them, I’ve nearly done it all, but my son isn’t budging.”

“But anyway, I’m still alive. Since I gave it up (heroin and meth), I’ve been offered it three times, and I’ve turned it down every time.”

“If I’d had done this all on my own, I would’ve been proud of myself, but St Martins have been there the whole way through. St Martins has been in my corner, big time. I owe my life to them basically. I don’t like to say it, but they have.”


He is hopeful that, one day, his son will go for a coffee with him every now and again. He is happy in his room at St Martins and hopes to get his own flat in the future.


Read more stories here: Case Studies