This story comes from John, a Peer Worker in our Outreach Team:
I met Sean* when he was at Milestone House, getting respite after becoming substance free for the first time in a long time. Between recovering from addiction and dealing with the impact of lockdown, it was an especially tough time to be alone.
When we first met, Sean was struggling a bit mentally and emotionally; I wanted to support him to integrate back into the community in a healthy way but with all the covid restrictions there was very little to help him keep busy, to participate in and feel part of. Recovery is an isolating experience in itself; add lockdown into the mix and all the supportive groups that can be a real asset, the opportunity to sit and have a chat with others, well that’s all gone and you’re on your own.
During our time together Sean* would have good days and bad days. He never missed an appointment with me though. Whilst we couldn’t go and sit in a warm café, we could go for walks, and take a hot drink with us.
We talked about everything and nothing. He would confide things in me, and I felt really proud that he could trust me enough to be open about what he was feeling, how life was going. Some of our walks weren’t great – Edinburgh isn’t known for being warm and sunny year-round you know! But the conversation was always flowing.
Sean’s in good spirits now, feeling a bit steadier on his feet so to speak. We still meet, we’re working on what comes next. He told me he feels like he’s got a new energy for life, that waking up with options about where he wants to go, what he wants to do, had been the biggest change. He's even volunteering now, and back in touch with his family.
He told me I’ve been a real lifeline to him during the past few months, but honestly, I think he’s been helping me too. When we can be honest with each other, and meet people where we are, things just get a bit easier – there’s no crossed wires or expectations. Sean can be Sean, and I’m the guy that brings the hot drink and walks alongside him as we figure out together what comes next.