Most of the tenants had been living there for years. They’d become institutionalized.
We received a cooked meal every evening, although “cooked” sometimes meant baked beans on toast. Sometimes we received stew, other times sausages and mash. Once a week we received a roast. A highlight was when the local Church members would arrive on a Sunday and cook a barbecue for us. Sausages, hamburgers, onions, salad, bread and soft drink.
We had a television in the common room, although it was pointless to try and choose a channel. The majority vote was to watch cartoons or soaps.
In the corridors there were abandoned bits of broken furniture and old, stained mattresses. No one seemed to be in charge of rubbish removal and the litter steadily accumulated as the weeks went by.
Once you hit rock bottom, there’s only one way to go. I still had a mind, even if it was fractured. I’d been knocked down. It was now time to get back up. I owed it to my kids, my friends and myself. Unlike the other tenants in this boarding house, I had a choice. I could escape if I put my mind to it.
I finally came to believe there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. My first task was to find one client and therefore an income.
It didn’t take me long before I had a single client who was prepared to pay a reasonable monthly fee.
On the basis of that I rented a comfortable, renovated house close to the city centre and set up my business from there. A home-based business with a staff of one – me.