Step by step… little by little
Our ‘Support First’ project supports people on a one-to-one basis in a range of practical ways that reduces the frequent need for them to access acute care services in crisis. David was referred to us with a 20 year history of alcohol misuse. He ended up losing his job, his relationship and his home. He then had to be admitted to Intensive Care. Added to this he was suffering from severe short-term memory loss. Throughout this time, David’s elderly parents provided a lot of practical support as he was unable to lead an independent life.
David had carers coming in four times a day. However, he steadfastly declined to engage with alcohol support services and was in denial about his condition and the help he so desperately needed. So it was hard for our Support Worker to move forward with him.
But, our worker didn’t give up. She continued to engage with David on a weekly basis. Building a trusted relationship was doubly difficult because of his memory loss. She started with small steps to try and give him something meaningful to do so he no longer sat on the sofa all day. David had previously enjoyed painting so we provided a paint-by-numbers kit and a sketch pad. He would periodically forget what we had agreed, but with lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement, little by little David got into a better routine with his life.
He would periodically withdraw from alcohol when he had no money. So, during one short period of abstinence, we were able to discuss a referral to the local drugs and alcohol service ‘Achieve’, which he agreed to. With intensive support from us, ‘Achieve’ and his parents, David has now been abstinent for three months – which is a massive achievement!
David’s abstinence has allowed us to pursue areas to help improve his physical health. We have helped him gain more independence with shopping, choosing food and cooking for himself. He is now well enough to take care of a small pet, so he now has acquired a cockatoo which is company and therapy for him. Bird keeping is something he enjoyed in the past.
David is frustrated with lock-down but is now open to looking at simple volunteering opportunities when the pandemic is over and some sort of normality can be safely resumed. In the meantime we supplied him with some gardening equipment which he has made good use of. David’s relationship with his parents and brother has also improved. Please pray for continued improvement in his mental, physical and emotional health. There is still so much work for us to do but we are so pleased with how far he has come.