Before Horton I was facing health complications due to prolonged alcohol use. My alcohol use had impacted my tenancy and I was being evicted. I had a history of offending behaviour and had spent time in prison. During my time in prison I would complete detoxes for my alcohol usage but then on release I would return to my old property which had a lot of other users in and anti-social behaviour. This made it difficult to remain clean from alcohol and I would start drinking again.
My mental health was low and I felt isolated. I had lost people that were close to me and required some bereavement support. I wanted to reach out and have contact with my family but wasn’t in a good place to do this, and felt it would be unfair on them. I had no ID, I had debtors chasing me, I required a dentist and a local GP, and I needed to engage with probation. There were so many things that I was dealing with that it felt overwhelming and impossible to manage. My engagement was poor with services and I neglected myself.
I wanted to make significant changes and better choices. I felt this had to start with my environment. Initially, with Horton’s support, I moved into a dispersed property. Unfortunately I had a mental breakdown and my alcohol use was at an all-time high. It was decided that I needed to be in supported accommodation where staff are on site to support me.
I learned that being around people that wanted to see me do better encouraged me to make changes. I benefitted from their reassurance and prompting, someone guiding me daily and showing me the benefits of the changes I was making. I knew I was able to complete an alcohol reduction and detox because I had done this in prison but needed the tools to remain detoxed.
I wanted to reduce my drinking. I wanted to get my health back to a good standard. I knew that I had to reduce my drinking in order to see my health improve. I wanted to live somewhere without anti-social behaviour and chaos so that I could focus on achieving my goals. I wanted to stop my offending behaviour and keep out of prison. I wanted to have my family in my life again.
It was when I moved into supported accommodation that I really started to make positive changes. I was supported to engage with CGL (Change Grow Live), I began a reduction plan and my alcohol use declined. I began to feel better and my health improved. I was referred to mental health services to deal with my low mood and received support around bereavement. I was supported to register at a local GP and dentist. I got my ID in place. I worked with my support worker to reduce my debts and consolidate them to an affordable repayment plan. This helped my money management and I found I was able to save, so I now have a savings account.
I am completely discharged from probation services for the first time in my life. I have no current offending behaviour and I’m determined to keep it that way. Due to all these positives, I had the confidence to reach out to my family. My sister is now in my life and is a huge support for me.
I have not had a drink now for three months and I have been free from heroin and crack cocaine for eleven years. If I can do it, anyone can.
I am now looking to move on to more independent living. I would like a council flat so I am secure and can put my own stamp on it. I have already started to buy furniture and things I need so I am ready to move when somewhere comes available.
Having a place to call home is like having a blanket around me. It makes me feel safe.
Although I am still reducing my alcohol use, I know that I am able to manage this more independently. Alcohol was a coping mechanism for me and that’s why when I normally reduced, my mental health would take a big knock. I’ve managed to reduce without any self-harm or serious decline in mental health and this is something I’m proud of.
All the goals I wanted to achieve seemed overwhelming but having Horton’s support made me feel like I wasn’t alone with it all.