Men’s Substance Use Disorder Case Study – *Jonte’s Story's story
Prior to moving into our service in Ealing in October 2019, Jonte smoked cannabis and consumed alcohol daily’. He had been sleeping in a hostel in Ealing for months before his move in to our service and was engaged with Ealing RISE. Apart from his monthly meetings with his keyworker at RISE, he had little support systems in place.
Due to this, Jonte was not used to regular contact with his keyworker or socialising in a setting such as the Ealing service. As he settled in over the first few months, he became used to engaging with his keyworker once per week and attending the daily house meetings. His drinking became stabilised and throughout his time at the service, he became confident in his desire to reduce his drinking. He felt that his recovery would be alcohol abstinence whilst maintaining his cannabis use.
Though Jonte’s external support reduced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he remained engaged with his keyworker and built a good rapport with all members of staff. By the time he left the service in July 2022, he had achieved periods of abstinence and began leading his fellow residents by example, attending every morning group, Monday-Friday each week. Jonte left the project confident that he would go on to live a life free of alcohol, and happy to have support with this through the Ealing floating support team.
Jonte came to the service after a period of homelessness and hostel stays and was supported to register for a local GP. He came to the service in good health, although staff noticed that he would often come very close when speaking and get close to his phone or paper when he was reading. When questioned, he informed staff that he found it quite hard to read or see things that were far away. He was soon supported to make an optician’s appointment, where he was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes. He found adjusting to his newly prescribed eye drops difficult due to fact that they stung but with support from the GP, staff explained to him the importance of using them consistently. This he did consistently towards the end of his time at the service.
Though Jonte did not struggle with any mental health conditions, when he was admitted to the service, he found it very difficult to talk about his past traumas or process any negative emotions without turning to alcohol. As he built rapport and trust with staff at the service, he was observed to be open when he was feeling sad or angry at any life events. This was always encouraged, and he always thanked staff for listening and supporting him through these moments.
When he first arrived, Jonte acclimatised to the house and the in-house programme well. He engaged with little issue, and always attended morning group. A big trigger for him was his Universal Credit pay date, as he expressed to staff that he struggled to keep his money for the month, as spent it on alcohol. Staff supported him to pay his service charge arrears with a repayment plan and showed him how to use the payment cards. After a few months, he became self-sufficient with this. When he moved out, he felt confident in his ability to continue paying monthly rent to his landlord.
Jonte had previously served a few years in prison for assault, which he disclosed to staff after he had been at the service for a few months. He maintained his otherwise clean record whilst with us.
He was also supported to set up his own bank account whilst at the project, to stop his benefits being paid into family and friends’ accounts. This is something he was confident about when he left the service.
Education & skills
Jonte developed a range of skills whilst residing at the project. Although he at first required assistance, his IT skills improved. He attempted to try new things alone and was comfortable asking for help when he needed it. Jonte became very resourceful and punctual; he always collected his daily meals from the temple, which is local to the project and engaged with in-house programmes such as morning group. He participated in community meals and made efforts to get involved.
At the start of 2022, Jonte made it his central focus to move into his own place by the end of the year. He felt more independent and happier, particularly after opening his own bank account and feeling able to manage his own money. He wanted to get a place where his children and family could eventually visit him. He found a flat to his liking and once he discovered the rent was affordable, wasted no time and moved into the property as soon as it was possible. Leading up to his move out date, he had moments of doubt and nervousness due to being so used to the project for two years. But after much reflection and confiding in staff at the service, he realised that moving on was the best next step for him as he had already come such a long way and was ready. Jonte now receives floating support at his new home to help, assist and encourage him to continue with the immense progress he has already made.
*Jonte’s real name has been changed to protect his identity