Andy's story

Cambridge Andy Featherstone 22 170513 v2 web

I was born in Kent but my family moved north when I was only small. I was brought up by my stepdad as my real dad was a drinker, and still is.

I am a boy in the middle of three sisters and got up to all sorts of mischief just to get myself noticed. I knew I'd get in trouble for stuff, I willed myself not to do it, and then found that I'd done it anyway. I started feeling quite angry and I used to create a scene with my mum and at school, I'm not sure why now. I ended up going to a school where we did adult qualifications like NVQs, I was pretty good at IT and maths, but then I started hanging out with an older crowd drinking and getting into drugs and school went by the wayside.

My stepdad was a long-distance lorry driver, so he was away for long periods of time, and when he was gone I ruled the roost, as it were. Then he would come back and want to be in charge, so we clashed in a big way. We get on fine now that we don't live together, but then, it was a nightmare. I moved out and got my own place, but lost it after a short while; I wasn't too good at managing my finances or saying no when people asked if they could stay.

I wanted to move back in with my mum but it just wasn't going to work out. I sofa surfed for a while and a few nights I just walked around all night drinking. I didn't feel like I was properly homeless - I didn't know homeless people, I didn't sit on the street and beg, and yet there I was without a home. I was still drinking and taking drugs, basically because I didn't know what else to do. I took out credit cards and phones and sold them on, not thinking about the consequences of having to pay it all back.

People just kept offering me money and stuff and I kept saying yes - why would I have said no to what seemed like free money? I worked on and off in various jobs and then I went and lived with my real dad for a while. He was still drinking, and was in pretty bad shape when I moved in with him. I helped him stop drinking as he needed to be booze-free to have a hip replacement. I nursed him while he got better, and things seemed to be going OK, but basically as soon as he could walk again, he started drinking again. I was so disappointed in him, and we fought, and he told me to leave.

I heard about Emmaus from an old friend who was at Emmaus Cambridge so I applied to come too and got in.  He has since left and at the start it was a bit weird being here alone, leaving my home town and friends and family behind. A big step for me, but I am pretty happy here, and trying to make a fresh start.

I like having something to do with my days, being useful. I get bored on my days off. I am slowly paying off some of my debts, but it's going to take a while. I send money to my sister sometimes to try and help her out. Emmaus gives me some stability with no hurry to move on, which is what I need right now.