This Christmas, more people than usual will find themselves struggling with addiction and homelessness for the first time.
With your support, SCT can work towards making it their last Christmas facing such complex challenges and make next Christmas significantly easier.
As winter approaches each year, the cold weather means rough sleepers and people in precarious housing need additional care and support. At the same time, the dark winter months can be long and difficult for people with complex mental health needs.
As we endure winter and the second wave, people need our support more than ever. This year SCT asks us to reflect upon the passing years and to support those in recovery this Christmas.
This is *John’s story.
John began treatment in March 2020 at Acorn House, SCT’s residential recovery programme.
“I am 36 years old, father of one nine year old girl. I’ve been in London since 2009 and spent many years working in construction. I developed health problems in 2014 and since have struggled with family and personal problems, homelessness and alcoholism. I am keen on music and play a few different instruments, mainly keyboard at the moment where I am trying to compose a classical style piece of music. I also take part in physical exercise on a regular basis, mainly boxing training.
Since starting treatment, I have been engaging in group therapy and one to one counselling on a regular basis. This has been the basis and foundation of my recovery. The support, feedback and above all wisdom of the staff here has given me a lot of hope looking to the future in the important aspects of my life and in staying sober. The support has also been significant amidst the current pandemic and the residents have been encouraged to come together as a community and be there for one another. The most appealing thing about Acorn House for me is the freedom we are given in our recovery. By this I am referring to a constant encouragement to take ownership of our individual recovery process, to follow the program and stepwork in a way that is relevant to our individual circumstances, as well as being encouraged to explore our creative abilities by engaging in the different programs on offer (e.g. creative writing, woodwork, etc.). The main example for me is early on in lockdown (April) where I was able to borrow a keyboard and guitar from the store, which have been hugely beneficial. We also had a conversation about getting boxing equipment for the residents.”
It’s been a difficult year for all of us, but lockdown has brought lots of renewed challenges for people in recovery, including isolation, anxiety, loneliness, and losing access to many of the face-to-face group therapy sessions which have been a key source of support.
This year will be John’s first Christmas with SCT’s residential recovery program.
“Last Christmas I was in supported housing elsewhere in London. Almost all of the residents there were in active addiction. It was a bleak situation and I was drinking very heavily at the time. I spent Christmas day at my brother’s home, where we ended up falling out. The staff at least were nice (at the hostel) and there were a couple of drop-in centres open nearby where I spent some time over the Christmas period. I also spent some time with my daughter during Christmas, which was nice. But in the end, I felt very much alone and isolated during that period.
This year has brought about the biggest change of my life. Since the end of January I have been sober. I faced a lot of challenges in that time. Early recovery was very tough, and there were countless times where I felt a strong and almost overwhelming urge to drink. This coincided with lockdown but I am grateful that I stuck by my decision to remain clean and sober. I am proud of the good and honest work I put into myself and my recovery this year and hopeful and excited that it may serve as a platform upon which to build a future for myself. The support and encouragement of staff and everyone at SCT has been absolutely fundamental in my journey – a journey that feels at times like a revival of my spirit.
I look forward to next Christmas and I can see so many possibilities. My primary aim is sobriety, one day at a time. To ensure I can achieve this, I will continue to work with SCT at one of their move on houses, where I will carry on with the AA program. I have aspirations of becoming a teacher in the future, as well as getting more involved in music. I have developed a sense of identity and self-worth over the past nine months where I can see these goals as very attainable and manageable. I am also looking always to improve my relationship with my daughter, which is already in really good shape. In continuing on this path which I have undertaken, we can only become closer.”
As we look back over the past year, we’re proud of our community for what they’ve achieved, and for remaining so optimistic for the future.
This Christmas, your donations will go towards supporting people like John to rebuild their lives during one of the most difficult times for people in recovery from homelessness and addiction. Just £20 could pay for an hour of therapy for someone beginning their journey of recovery
Please click here for more information about supporting us this winter.