Latest News and Interesting Case Studies

From Drug Abuse to Education

With the right support, people can come back from a lifetime of addiction. It's a huge step, but for Richard (not his real name), the dream of a drug-free career is on the verge of becoming a reality. At the age of 48, he's now studying counselling skills at Weston College, and building his own support network.

A determination to kick the habit Richard first used heroin when he was 12. Thirty-six years later, working with our partners we supported him to access six months of inpatient detoxification. It wasn't his first attempt to clear his life of drugs, but this time he was determined to make it work.

When his residential treatment ended, Richard joined the WoEW programme. He took part in regular one-to-one sessions to help focus on his goals, and to acknowledge his progress. The sessions were a safe place to talk about his barriers to progress: negative thinking ... a lack of motivation and self-esteem ... an ex-oender with no recent employment history.

Step by step towards a drug-free future Richard also attended aftercare service that included an acupuncture and meditation session, group therapy, and a post-lunch workshop. Richard's ability to work is limited by a severe lung condition (he's awaiting a transplant) which meant that the full-day sessions were too tiring. He attended for the mornings only.

But that was enough to boost his self-confidence and self-belief and give him the skills to better manage his emotions and his personal relationships. Richard crucially understood that, to build his confidence, he needed to mix with people beyond his immediate network. So, he signed up for a basic IT course, joined a community-based mutual-aid group, found a buddy among the long-term members of the group, and built up a support network.

A new town and a fresh direction Richard is well on his way to a new life. As his time in supported accommodation came to an end, he made a big eort to move to Weston-Super-Mare and find a permanent home. His health and recovery were his priority. Richard has now enrolled at Weston College and begun a Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills. He knows what he wants to do – and what he needs to do to achieve it – so he's also studying GCSE English to give himself the skills to progress further with his counselling courses. He has a vision of a different life, and he's working to make it happen.

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