Blogs Reports

Finally, That Day I Got My Flat Key


Reported by Miles

Published on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Accommodation Emergency Accommodation Recovery
Blogs Reports

Finally, That Day I Got My Flat Key


Written by Miles

Published on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Accommodation

Emergency Accommodation

Recovery

So, the day finally arrived, I’m nervous, excited and scared to unlock my new front door, it’s happening…… finally 🤫

To give you some context, in the last few years of my life, I’d spent fifteen months existing in a homeless hostel in my city, weaving my way through a complicated, disjointed resettlement pathway which then housed me for a further fifteen months or so, in a room in a shared house.

It’s been challenging, dangerous at times and I’ve been fortunately helped with great support staff in both settings, buts that’s all about to change.

I turn the key, door opens….. I’m now alone, responsible for everything, a new set of challenges, bills will arrive to be paid, will I manage, keep on top of things or return to the isolation I lived inside my mind, will my head tell me you can do anything you like now, anything and no one will check in with you. Will my ‘old addict head’ throw a party now its got an exciting opportunity to play with my early recovery.

That fear doesn’t go by having a key in my sweaty hands….🥵

Over the next few days, I listen to the creaks and groans of the block of flats, people coming and going, will they knock, or ignore me in the stairway, will I have anyone to talk to – BUT THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED! – your own space… the reality sets in over the week, the following week and so on.

Maybe I’ll pop round to the old hostel, or shared house, familiar faces, the people like me desperately wanting to get their place too.

I do, and they ask to visit, stay over and could I help them out – and slowly it starts to hit me, I’m realising that people pleasing was what I did to feel connected, fitting in with ‘the familiar crowd’ who promise all sorts, deliver on none, yet take whatever they can – and it’s like looking into my ‘past mirror’ – I see myself in there.

I realise something – it wasn’t a flat that was my magic wand to a new life, it was connection with people who behaved with care, compassion and honesty and who I felt safe to be amongst.

I’d joined a few recovery groups, tough at first, another new door to open, scary, daunting but essential to me being well.

My quirky ways, my self-doubt, my overthinking, and my desperation to be someone I wasn’t – they accept me, warts and all and I started to grow again, (around the waistline sadly too) but it was a sign that I felt a bit better about things and life in general.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly grateful for my flat, it’s clean, a safe space to wash, cook, sleep and sometimes even open the door to invite friends in for a cuppa. Yet my real magic wand is believing in myself again, not arrogant, or cocky, accepting responsibility for myself in full, reaching out for help offered in spades.

My flat was the start, not the solution to my new way of living life well.

Written by Miles


I'm Miles, dad of two, lived in York for 33 yrs whose overcome homelessness and addiction to become a local reporter for Groundswell since 2020 sharing my experience and thoughts on various aspects of my journey.

Read all of Miles's articles

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Accommodation Emergency Accommodation Recovery

One thought on “Finally, That Day I Got My Flat Key

  1. Really insightful, thanks for this report, Miles. I’m really struck by ‘my flat was the start, not the solution’. Good housing is essential for so many things, but not a panacea for all ills. I really appreciate the way you’ve described your experience.

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