"I will treasure these experiences for the rest of my life"
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“I became homeless due to a family breakdown mainly due to my drug and alcohol addiction. My health was not so good at the time so we agreed that getting registered with the local doctors and dentist was a priority.
I was in a complete state, but having found Fairweather I felt I was now safe and off the streets. My support worker was very understanding, listened and very patient, she worked at my pace rather than me feeling that she was there to tick box. I started to trust and believe in her and so started to commit to the goals that we set together and I was gradually achieving them. I was starting to discover my confidence - a strange phenomenon.
My support worker and I started to look into accessing educational activities. Something that I have once in the distant past wanted to do but never felt I was capable. With the support received by my support worker, I have completed courses in money management, attended cookery classes and been on confidence building classes.
My biggest challenge to date was when I was ready to address drug and alcohol problem, although I knew I did have a problem and spoke about what impact and effect it was having on my life, I felt at the time my addiction took over and getting my next fix was the priority at the time.
Despite my problems, my support worker continued to help me and although at the time I wasn’t very forthcoming she persevered and continued to help me. Not sure if she realised but just coming and checking on if I was okay was helping me, knowing and seeing that somebody was there and was asking for you was making me feel wanted and that I was being missed. I gradually started to recognise that through the work and support that was being provided I could change. I started to slowly commit to doing things like having a regular bath and brushing my teeth regularly.
My support worker encouraged me to attend a confidence building class, which not only was about attending and learning how to build your confidence, it was a way of getting out and meeting ‘normal’ people. I started to realise that I had hidden talents like at these sessions I was voicing my own opinions and not feel embarrassed about speaking out. I was slowly beginning to take control of my life.
I was now ready to address my drug and alcohol issues but still needed a helping hand. My support worker was with me every step of the way from helping me to make the appointment to attending the first very few sessions until I felt I could go on my own. Although I am still an addict, I have managed to reduce both my alcohol and drug use and intend to give up completely some day.
During my stay at Fairweather, my support worker encouraged me to attend consultations days and I was encouraged to speak up and help improve the policies and practices of the organisation. I even joined and helped write the newsletters within the organisation.
These experiences I will treasure for the rest of my life as it was for the first time I was made to feel valued, being listened to and my voice being counted and seeing how I was helping to change and improve things for the better was certainly a great boost to my confidence. They encouraged and actively engaged me in other processes, such as being on the interview panel in recruiting staff members.
My support worker and I continued to work on meeting and discovering other goals, a priority was to secure more permanent housing. We applied to different housing associations, and my support worker wrote a support letter and encouraged other services to provide support letters which helped in securing my own tenancy.
My time at Fairweather has been a very instrumental one, they have valued me as an equal and I feel good that I have helped them too from helping them review their policies to helping others within the service that we're experiencing some tough times.
I feel that having been at Fairweather I am in a better position to take control and shape my future. I have enrolled on a hairdressing course which is due to start soon at Bradford College.