Former heroin addict Mike Tucker was ejected from BCHA accommodation. But despite this, he credits the organisation for helping to save his life. Mike 41, was ejected by BCHA for drug use, damage to property and antisocial behaviour.

That weekend his mum found him in her house having overdosed on heroin. He was 15 minutes from death and then lay in a coma for 14 days.

“I can honestly say that BCHA, and in particular my tenancy sustainment officer Kirsty Matlock, saved my life.

Firstly by ejecting me from my accommodation – because if I had remained there my mum would not have been there to find me in time.

Secondly, because I needed to hit rock bottom.

And thirdly because with her help I have gone on to get clean, rebuild my life and my relationships and now have my own place and a future.”

Mike was only 12 when he first started smoking cannabis and taking LSD with his friends. “I first took heroin at 20 and that changed the whole path of my life,” he said. I worked as a labourer to fund my habit and when I couldn’t work I turned to crime to buy heroin. I was in and out of jail and in a right state.

Despite the terrible things I did and the ways I treated people and let them down, my family – my mum, my dad, my brothers and my sister – stood by me. When I came out of my coma I was ill for a long time and I have been left being deaf in one ear, with a weakness in my leg and memory loss.

Kirsty and BCHA, along with my family, are the reasons why I am standing here in my own flat today. Without them I would be dead.

Kerry, who was my drug and alcohol support worker, was a massive support not just to me but also to my mum, especially when I was in his coma and she has been with me throughout this journey, eventually referring me to move on accommodation.

Kirsty helped me move through BCHA temporary and move on accommodation and now I have my own unsupported social housing tenancy.

I recently spent my first night in my new flat and it feels like I have been here forever. My dad has even helped me buy things for my new home and I really appreciate that.

Kirsty is no longer required to help me, but she still checks in and I know she is there if I need her. With BCHA’s help I soon hope to retrain and start working again, perhaps as a gardener or a plasterer.

If I can come back from heroin, I believe anyone can. But you need your family and an organisation like BCHA behind you.”


Mike’s piece of advice for Changemaking:

“Accept help from those who can and want to give it. It’s your best chance of recovery.”