Hope in difficult times

I’m Mark Bolton, and I recently became a trustee on Church Housing Trust’s board.

As more and more people become homeless, it can seem impossible to help everyone. Your donations mean that we can help individual people with the specific support that they need most.

I have been homeless and know how hard it can be. Here is my story.

I embraced the Christian faith at 16, spending many years in and out of the Church. I was using drugs, and although I stopped in my late twenties, I continued to struggle with drink.

I have lived in London most of my life, and dabbled in the fashion and music industries, with a modicum of success in both. But by the time I was 50 I found myself with two failed marriages and a bankruptcy. My drinking took over, and eventually I ended up spending the night in a police cell. In the morning, I had nowhere to go. I was homeless.

That’s where booze took me. I missed out on a place in a detox clinic, so instead spent nine weeks in a psychiatric ward. While there I met some of the most kind, sane people I have ever known. I then went to rehab, where I faced my biggest fear: the true reality of myself.

I guess my life has always been a quest for the truth.

It was while in rehab that I dug deep into my inner being, and realised that my struggle was with a false conception of God. Like Jacob, I had been wrestling with Him all of my life. From that point on, things began to make sense, and the truth of God’s unconditional love hit home.

I was lucky enough to get a place in a supported housing scheme in London, where I first encountered Church Housing Trust. I have been clean and sober coming up to seven years this July.

I have always written poetry and am now in the process of trying to get my first book published. This poem reflects part of my journey.

The Redemption of Johnny Cash
I have been to that dark place.
the cavern of depair,
lacking hope,
cutting myself with the flints of guilt and fear
insanity caused by the constant dripping of my inner tears…
my soul trapped in a sinful body and tortured mind,
moving further back over the cold rocks,
only to hear the whisper of God’s voice,
his gentle hand leading me
slowly back into the light.
M C Bolton 04/08/2010

I joined Church Housing Trust’s board because I want to give others the hope that I received. We help people of all ages and backgrounds, and all faiths and none. We recognise their individual needs, abilities, and dreams. We help them to rediscover their sense of self and purpose, which enables them to establish a home and a place in society. To read more about the work that your donations fund, download our newsletter.