Brandon, 23 years old, lived in our supported accommodation in East Kilbride. Now moved on and looking forward to the future, he shares his personal journey of recovery with us.
I grew up in care since the age of seven. I moved about a lot, with different foster careers, and different schools. I have always been a grafter and want to work as much as possible so when I left school, I worked my way up in hospitality while doing my social care studies at college.
When I was in my early twenties, my biological mum passed away and I turned to drugs as a way to escape and deal with my feelings. During this time, I was working as a manager and was doing really well with a lot of responsibilities and working 12-hour shifts. However, my routine involved working all day, taking drugs, and staying up to 5am, having a couple of hours of rest, and then back to work to repeat the cycle.
During this time, I racked up a lot of debt, and the next thing I know everything is consuming me. I kept taking drugs to try and numb my feelings as I felt there was no escape from the position I was in.
Then it all got too much, and everything just snowballed, I lost my job, my friends and then my relationship so I had nothing left.
The area I was staying wasn’t safe either as I owned a lot of people money. I felt really lonely and scared. I didn’t want to run away from my debt, but I knew I needed to get my head straight first so that’s how I ended up at Right There’s supported accommodation.
Arriving at Right There
When I arrived, I was as quiet as a mouse for the first 3 weeks. I kept crying and couldn’t believe I had gone from having everything to showing up with a backpack of clothes. A bit of funny story but what got me out of myself was accidentally walking in on Titch, another resident, in the shower. And from that day on we were really close, and even though I’ve now left, I know we’ll stay friends.
I had to build myself up again from scratch. I saw the accommodation as a bit of a full stop for six months, a chance to reset and get myself sorted with my addiction. And I could do that in a place where I felt safe. Being here, made me stop and look at everything. It made me realise my mistakes and how they made me feel.
It made it made me appreciate a lot, and the simple things we can take for granted, having a roof over your head, having a good support network, and having a job. I realised I needed help and speaking to the staff was therapy enough for me, along with external support from a Cocaine Anonymous group.
A Stepping Stone
I’d say the accommodation was a stepping stone for me so I could move forward. The staff play a huge role in making people feel safe – they are really, really nice and just act normal. I don’t even see them as ‘staff’ – they are just people who are being themselves and they understand a lot. They aren’t fake or use their authority against you. It feels like they care and I knew I could go to anyone of them if needed help, whether it was to talk or help with my paperwork.
Christmas in particular is a bad time and Lyndzi, one of the worker’s, asked me ‘how can we make it better for you’. I said my mum’s ashes were still in old flat so they organised me to get safely to my old place so I could pick up her ashes. I honestly can’t say how much that meant to me.
” Me and Titch dressed up to give other residents a bit of a laugh. These things matter when you are going through hard times, especially at Christmas when people are alone.”
My Life Now
I will always be in recovery. But the biggest change for me is my mental health, I got my smile back. I wasn’t lonely anymore more. I was getting my fix by having laughs with Titch or resident movie nights and feeling safe.
I spend three weeks in a psychiatric ward at the end of 2021 and never again do I want to be in that position. I am not being big headed, but I know I will be successful in life. I am going to the gym, living in a new area, working out a plan to pay off my debts, and working with a company called Invest which has been really good at helping me find a job.
I know how much this place helps people and the opportunities you can give to someone else. When I am ready and a bit more settled with some money behind me, I’d like to come back and volunteer and maybe go into social care as a career.
You can change someone’s life by sitting talking to them and showing you care. If I can make someone’s day a bit better, I will do it.
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It only costs Right There on average £16 a day to provide someone like Brandon with a safe and supportive place to call home.