“My name is Jurek. I returned to Poland on the 4th of August 2007 almost two years after I arrived in London.
In the first three months of my stay I had accommodation, job and money, until alcohol sneaked in my life again. I moved out from my sonâs place, where I lived, and on the same day I lost all my luggage and all my documents. From then on my way onto the street started. Alcohol moved in my life for good. Sometimes I slept in the same place where I fell down. Also in squats, with people I just met, in parks, at cemeteries. Sometimes I was able to find work. At the beginning, I would spend the money for some stuff and alcohol. It was so naive. In the morning I would wake up obviously with no luggage and no money and so the next day started.
There is nothing worse than to be lonely in a crowd when thousands of smiling happy people pass you as if you were invisible. Then I started to notice people in shabby clothes dragging along with inseparable rucksacks and with the eyes fixed on the ground. My reflection in the shop windows showed exactly the same picture. I got to a place where I could eat something, change clothes, have a shower. After a year on the streets I wished to leave such life.
One day in the Broadway Centre in Shepherd’s Bush I met four people from the Barka UK Foundation. They were Tomasz, Ewa, Grzegorz and Marek. They made a very good impression on me but I hesitated to approach them. Two friends of mine left for Poland thanks to Barka UK . Then I decided to quit alcohol, which was the only condition I had to fulfil to return. I had my provisional passport issued very quickly and I left with Barka UK for Poland. After we arrived in Poland what I saw in the seat of Barka in Chudobczyce was beyond my expectations. Apart from providing me with the roof over my head and comfort they gave me a paid job opportunity.
Three months passed. One day I drank some alcohol on the train. Tomasz and Grzegorz didn’t get upset but explained what kind of mechanism works towards an addicted person. They advised me to start therapy. I did what they asked me to. After that therapy alcohol stopped to exist for me. My way of living changed rapidly.
In May 2009, I worked on the streets of London for the fourth time. I supported the rough sleepers as one of the leaders of the Barka Foundation which had given me a helping help.”