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I CHOSE LIFE.. YOU CAN TOO NEW MAN Stuart has turned his life around; Pastor who turned away from life of drugs and crime launches blog to encourage youths to follow suit.

Byline: MARK McGIVERN m.mcgivern@dailyrecord.co.uk

A CHRISTIAN pastor who turned his chaotic drugs lifestyle around after gangsters put a gun in his back is writing a gritty blog to help youngsters avoid a criminal life.

Stuart Patterson slipped from a posh school scholarship into the grip of heroin and methadone, gang violence and a prison sentence.

His turnaround came after he signed up for a Christian detox programme, which led Stuart to open a ministry in a shopping centre in Easterhouse, Glasgow, where he was brought up.

His church is just yards from the chemists where he collected his daily methadone prescription.

Stuart, who featured in the Record two years ago, said he had been encouraged many times to write about his extraordinary life.

He said: "I returned to college this year to do an access course, hoping to go to uni. My tutor, Alex MacPherson, began to awaken in me a long buried love of writing.

"Just before Christmas, the idea came to me that, instead of holding off to write a book, I could use a blog format to write about moments from my life, showing I was responsible for the lifestyle choices I made. I try and be as vulnerable as possible when I write, in the hope that if someone does read it, some truth might resonate with them."

Stuart was in gangs at 14 yet won a scholarship to the private Hutcheson's Grammar School.

But his feeling of not belonging, coupled with his parents having no cash to meet the PS300-a-year cost of books, meant he flunked out.

He spent time in Barlinnie Prison for drugs offences, being released in 1990, and by the time he was 22 he was on a methadone programme.

Now 48, dad-of-three Stuart's about turn did not come until he was 27, when gangsters who accused him of stealing drugs from them put a gun in his back.

Six days later, he booked into the Teen Challenge, a Christian charity who offer abstinence residential detox courses, which Stuart believes saved his life.

Stuart earlier told the Record: "My experience with Teen Challenge involved me embracing the Bible. I was sick of seeing friends die.

Many are dying today due to the ongoing consequences of drug abuse."

Visit https://stuartpatterson.org/ CHAOS Guns and drugs

CAPTION(S):

NEW MAN Stuart has turned his life around

CHAOS Guns and drugs

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 20, 2018
Words:401
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