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Anyone who has ever taken their shopping bags through the back entrance of the Alsterhaus knows Achim. The 57-year-old has been a regular here for around 15 years. And he would open the door for everyone – until the corona pandemic broke out. “Since then, I’ve kept a clear distance,” says Achim, who nevertheless feels very comfortable at his sales place. “After so many years, I have many loyal regular customers,” says the tall, slender Hinz&Künztler happily.
The Hamburg native has a lisp when he talks and has been selling Hinz&Kunzt for 21 years. “Back then, I was fed up with my old life,” Achim recalls. It consisted of drugs, alcohol, and theft, regularly leading him behind bars. It was Hinz&Kunzt that freed him from this vicious circle. Since then, he has had a clearly structured daily routine and a job again. “I’m still an addict,” says Achim. “But I’m 57 now and can’t do what I used to do. I’m happy when I can smoke weed and play on my Xbox with a few cold drinks.” He only rarely has a hard time with it anymore, he says.
The fact that he uses drugs to cope with his stress is a thread running through his life. After graduating from junior high school, he worked in the port for almost ten years. “It was the hardest job in my life. The things I loaded there: Coffee, sugar, cotton …” And yet, looking back, he gushes. “It was the coolest time. Always on the water. And in the summer I looked nice and tan.”
But after work, we went to colleagues and friends. Switch off. Party. At first with marijuana and alcohol. Later with hard drugs. In his late 20s, he was hooked on needles. For a while, it was still possible to combine his job and party life. “But when you’re really on drugs, you don’t stand a chance,” says Achim, who finally ended up on the street in his early 30s.
In the beginning, he financed his drug consumption with occasional jobs. “Then I started breaking and entering, and conning other people,” Achim says quite freely. Of course, he got caught. He served his sentence. Looking back, he describes this period of his life as “my other life. It’s not just the drugs that he’s got halfway under control. Achim has also long since left the streets. He has had his own apartment for eight years. “I’m trying hard,” says Achim. “I don’t want to lose what I have now.”
Achim sells Hinz&Kunzt at the Alsterhaus on Poststraße.
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Text: Jonas Füllner
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante