Josh’s Story

When my father died suddenly 10 years ago it was a given that I would take on the family business. I was out of my depth but too scared and stupid to say so and just 18 months later the once thriving firm was going into liquidation. It was another agonising 12 months before the family realised what was going on. I spent a whole year leaving the house at the same time every morning but instead of going to work I went to the bookies or the park or the pub or just drove around. Then my double life of loving husband and father and workaholic son was over and I was just the gambling alcoholic.

I can honestly say that Blenheim rescued me. For the first time in my life I felt that I wasn’t pressurised, just encouraged. I can’t describe the relief I felt in being able to be open and honest. I am now in my final year of my teaching degree. Teaching is what I always wanted to do, if only I had had the confidence to say so back then.

Josh's story

Rafi’s Story

I was taken into care when I was 12 years old. At first it was ok as I wanted to leave my family as much as they wanted me to leave them. After a while though, I missed them and just got more angry. I started to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol to feel better.

When I was 17, Social Services referred me to Blenheim’s Insight Project for young people. My drinking and drug use was getting out of control and I’d had too many fights with the staff and other kids in the residential home. My key worker at Insight helped me to work out what I wanted and had to do. I came up with four things, a relationship with my mum, sort out my immigration problems, control my anger and do something about my drinking and drug use.

Now already I can, say no to pressure from friends, think before acting out, be more responsible and don’t need alcohol or drugs to feel better. I’ve got my own flat now which I am trying to kit out and I am also looking for work or an apprenticeship.

I still go to Insight and meet my key worker. Oh yeah and I am also a Service User Rep, which means that I try to help other young people who are in situations like I was.

Rafi's story

Sue’s Story

When I look back now, I realise how naive I was.  Throughout  37 years of marriage to an alcoholic, I really believed that I could change him and make him well. I would hide the alcohol, cut up the credit cards, cry, shout, plead and threaten.  He did try to get help and was in and out of rehab several times, but his heart wasn’t really in it and he kept ‘falling’.

My breakthrough was a friend’s advice: “you can’t help him, you can only help yourself.” She told me about Blenheim’s CASA Families, Partners and Friends service. They impressed me from the start, showing real understanding of and empathy with my situation. I decided against one-to-one counselling as I was afraid that I would be encouraged to leave my husband  (I now know that you have to make your own decisions) and I didn’t want to. Instead I joined a support group. It felt very safe and I learned quickly that I needed to create some distance from my husband. In my doing just that, he started to really look at himself. My CASA group sessions, and the fact that my husband was too ill to get out of the house to get his alcohol, finally broke a pattern of nearly 40 years of dependency.

He is still sober, three years on. He has rebuilt a relationship with his adult children and we go out together, to the cinema and to visit friends. I am now a Blenheim volunteer and I cannot thank them enough for showing me that you cannot change anyone apart from yourself, and for helping  me to make those changes.

Isabelle’s Story

I suppose people would use words like ‘traumatic’ to describe my childhood but all the dysfunction just seemed normal to me. School was pretty pointless. I was moved about so much. They didn’t know then that it was dyslexia that meant I couldn’t concentrate and was easily distracted. I was just a nuisance.

A few years later and I had made progress on the nuisance scale by getting seriously into drinking and taking drugs. I followed up by getting pregnant and then the icing on the cake…sleeping rough.

It was when Sam, my son was born and taken into care that I finally had something to live and fight for. I was a mum. I’d heard about Blenheim’s KC North Hub project so I just turned up at the drop-in.

In just one year I stopped using, sorted some housing and for the first time in my life completed a course and got a qualification. I am now a volunteer and believe it or not I am really keen to study more.

Best of all is that Sam and I are reunited.

Isabelle's story