Derek’s Story

“I have worked with my support worker from Support First for the last 7 months and during that time I have seen my life completely transform. When I first met my worker I was drinking heavily and was hearing voices. I kept presenting at hospital because the voices were telling me to hurt myself. I was estranged from my 2 daughters and didn’t see my grandchildren. I had no social life and kept myself cooped up in my flat.

My support worker spent time just listening to me. I felt accepted and that someone cared for me for the first time in a long time. He never told me what I needed to do but allowed me to decide for myself what route my recovery would take. With their help I have accessed BiDAS and got my drinking under control to a level where I now drink at weekends only at a social level. I have moved from my previous flat where I was lonely and depressed into a semi-sheltered flat where I can access dinners and clubs and I have discovered that I like gardening and help in the shared gardens.

My relationships with my daughters and grandchildren are much improved and they play an important part in my life. My support worker helped me to see the pain and upset I was causing them and also worked with one of my daughters so she could understand what was happening to me which helped us to reconcile. My worker encouraged me to attend AA meetings and referred me into a mental health charity called BAND who are now providing support for me. I no longer hear voices in my head as these were brought on through my excessive alcohol use and unsuitable living accommodation. My worker has also helped me to reduce the debt I had accrued through my drinking. Without the help from my support worker I would not have changed anything in my life and I would still be struggling, drinking heavily and worrying about debt if not worse. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to turn my life around with this support”

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