Terroll Lewis was brought up into a world of crime and was a member of the notorious OC (Organised Crime) gang from the age of 11.
Over the next decade of his life, he spent each day on survival mode, staying alive by the skin of his teeth - quite literally.
"A pebble from a shotgun literally just went past my fader," Terroll tells LADbible.
"One went past my lip here, I still got a scar under my moustache.
"I've been stabbed multiple times. And I've had madnesses, crazy fights on the streets or wherever it is, youth clubs or wherever, growing up.
"It's very, very difficult to talk about again."
But talking about it again is exactly what he's done in his new memoir, entitled One Chance: Surviving London's Gangs.
Recounting the moment he was millimetres from death, he writes: "First came the flash. A blinding, yellow light, flying towards my face like a firework.
"Next, the bang, though I didn't pay much attention to the noise. It was all about the bright light, and the heat, man. It was like that scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves dodges bullets. Kinda.
"I swung my head as if I was avoiding a slap and ducked, but something hit my face. My mouth was burning. My face had been torched. That's how it felt.
"In the shock of the moment I didn't realise, not fully anyway, that if I hadn't turned my head and dropped when I did, I would've taken a bullet full in the face. I'd cheated death by millimetres."
But many weren't so lucky, and Terroll lost more than 10 friends to the streets. One got shot in the head and another was stabbed in the heart.
"It was normal, it was all so normal," he says.
"If I got a call and someone said, 'Your friend got stabbed down the road,' I'm like, 'Rah did he die?' And they're like, 'Na he's alright,' and I'm like, 'Right, cool, just shout me when he's out.'
"It was just so normal."
He continues: "Over the years of being on the streets, I've seen people leave, and people leave to go to prison - six foot or behind bars.
"Knowing that I could have been in any of those situations - I could have lost my life at one point, I could have ended up behind bars for the rest of my life - it definitely makes me just think about how far man's come through this journey."
After making as much as £2,000 ($2,841) a day as a drug dealer, Terroll was wrongfully arrested for murder aged 21, spending 11 months at Belmarsh prison before he was acquitted.
This proved to be a blessing in disguise though, as he spent the time focusing on his own physical and mental health, working out and meditating in his cell.
Upon his release, he left the gang life behind him and began holding work out classes in the park, with as many as 100 people attending. Over the years this morphed into Brixton Street Gym, where he works with young people from the local estates as a mentor and role model, guiding them towards education and full-time employment.
Now the 31-year-old hopes his story will encourage others to look beyond the hoodie and try to see the bigger picture.
He says: "I want the guy who lives in Holland Park and Knightsbridge, wherever it is, Oxfordshire, to not just look at the estate and see hoodies and balaclavas, but understand that there's a deeper trauma.
"There's deeper things that are going on in these young people's minds, a lot of mental health battles are spent on these estates.
"A lot of these communities need us to go in and really bring some positive energy."
One Chance is available from Amazon here.
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