The phone call that changed addict's life

The phone call that changed addict's life

As heroin addict Stuart Patterson craved his next fix, the last thing he wanted was to talk to a pastor.

His neighbour, urged by Stuart’s desperate mum, promised to look for the number of the rehab centre their junkie son had used, like others on the notorious Easterhouse estate in Glasgow’s east end. Instead, she brought back a card with the phone number for a pastor called Ken Persaud.

What was a hardened, drug-addicted gang member going to do with that? It didn’t fit into his life of fighting and fixes.

Only a few days earlier, he’d been held at gunpoint in a car, feeling the gun jabbed in his back, hearing a click and one of the two men yelling that the weapon had jammed.

“In the 1980s, Easterhouse was a bleak place,” said Stuart (pictured above, with wife Tracy, on his graduation day from Strathclyde University). “I crashed in different houses most nights, sometimes so high on a drug cocktail I could go days without sleep.”

Violence between rival gangs was common.

“One time, I was on a bus when I spotted a rival gang member. We shouted and swore at each other, then he challenged me to a fight. I was high on LSD, which made me feel like Superman, so we jumped off the bus and were punching and kicking each other in the pouring rain.

“I felt a thud on my head. That’s when I saw the other guy had an axe, but I carried on fighting. He struck me again, this time on my face and blood splattered all over us and onto the pavement. I managed to grab the axe and he ran off.

“I walked home in the rain, feeling like a champion even though blood still ran down my face. The axe had split my lip and cheek so that my teeth were visible.”

Aged 19, he was in prison for selling drugs.


Read the whole story in the February 2024 issue of New Life Newspaper.

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