Pathways For All People Successes
We are, of course, proud of all of our success stories here at Pathways for For All People. Here are just a few examples:
Jay came from a middle-class background, with his parents separating at a young age. Jay often found himself caught up in the middle of his parents’ relationship breakdown. He did well at school and went on to university, but in his late teens was diagnosed with cancer. He was hospitalised for a few months for treatment resulting in having to pull out of university.
While in hospital he was told that he wouldn’t live past his mid 30’s.
Jay had suffered anxiety since his parents’ relationship breakdown; after battling with cancer and uncertain about his life past 30, he used alcohol to self-medicate to ease his anxiety.
Jay managed to find employment as a recruitment officer; but drank heavily to mask his feelings. After his life became totally unmanageable, Jay moved into Pathways for all People and with the support of the program became alcohol-free and now has the tools to work on issues of anxiety when it arises.
He is now living in the local community and working full-time for a large charity as a recruitment officer. He is now married with a daughter.
Jay’s 35th birthday has recently been and gone and he has no signs of the cancer returning.
If and when needed, Jay liaises with Pathways for all People for support.”
By the last two years of high school when I was about 15, I was drinking to blackout on a regular basis, alongside smoking weed every day. Life was becoming unmanageable as I was frequently missing school so I could use. This started a journey into recreational use of other substances like speed and ecstasy until I found cocaine at about 17 which, alongside my continued alcohol abuse caused me to drop out of the sixth form where I was studying for my A-levels. This kick-started a habit that lasted throughout my adult life.
By this time, I’d lost all control over any substances that came my way. I’d take anything and everything. I lived in chaos wherever I went and all aspects of my life were impacted by my using and drinking. Ketamine was a big issue too and very quickly affected my physical health in addition to my already deteriorating mental wellbeing. This carried on for a number of years until eventually, in my early 20s, I had a serious habit with heroin and crack cocaine.RG
I began to engage with recovery services due to my heroin addiction as I needed prescriptions to maintain my habit. I went through the motions to tick the boxes in order to get my script but in hindsight, I had no genuine desire to get and live clean. I had several detoxes and half-hearted attempts at fixing myself during this time. I eventually became desperate to change and get off the drugs but didn’t reach my absolute rock bottom until around July 2019.
I was living back with my Mum, in trouble with the police and with debts owed, I was putting mine and my family’s safety at risk. My physical health was deteriorating. Mentally and emotionally I was worse than ever. I knew I’d had enough so, through my keyworker, I was referred back to Pathways for all people.
There was a familiarity that offered me some hope in the fact that I knew people who had completed their programme and become volunteers here. I also had friends who had been through the Pathways and were living clean. Every time I’d thought I wanted to get well in the past, I had thought running away was the only way to do it. This time, I knew that I needed to stop running and try to get well in this place.
I honestly believe that right now, if I hadn’t come into recovery, I’d either be in a hospital, a prison cell, homeless or even dead. At the very best, I’d be isolated and miserable using drugs on my own in a room somewhere.
Today, life is better in every aspect. Mentally, life in recovery can be tough but I’m able to cope using the tools I’ve learnt to apply from the Recovery Programme, groups, staff and peer support. Physically, I’ve surpassed any expectation of where I could get to in a fitness sense and my health in general.
When I first came to Pathways, I’d struggle to climb a flight of stairs without getting short of breath. Now, I’m running half marathons thanks to the to 5K programme which is part of the Pathways wider social activity schedule. I’ve now been offered the opportunity to help others achieve their fitness goals by coaching through the weekly 5K regime.
My family relationships are healing, particularly with my older brother who’d previously become very distanced from me.
Emotionally, I’m now able to experience real happiness and manage any difficult feelings, again using tools I have been shown through the Pathways recovery programme.”
When Gary arrived at pathways he was in a state of despair, he felt invisible, broken and ready to give up. He could not see a way out of the life he was living feeling alone and totally powerless.
Gary had struggled for many years with his mental health, depression and anxiety. For years he took his medication and tried his hardest to succeed but was consumed by feelings of emptiness. He felt lost and struggled with severe mood swings which like a light switch would shift in the blink of an eye from a state of hopeless loneliness to anger and frustration.
This had a severe effect on his sleeping pattern, appetite and energy levels which plummeted leading to an ever-increasing sense of hopelessness. As time passed Gary had turned to alcohol to fill the feeling of emptiness as he struggled with growing feelings of deeper and inescapable depression.
He did not feel like he fitted into society and was struggling with feelings of deeper depression and a sense of hopelessness. He was unable to cope with social interactions, unable to function without alcohol, tight-lipped, nervous and anxious around his friends. Gradually he lost social connection with the people he loved and cared about, family and friends. Some were unable to understand his absence at family gatherings, he was no longer the life and soul of the party but a lonely recluse, a shadow of the social family man he once was.
Having lost all-purpose, self-esteem and confidence Gary felt suicidal, one day it all became too much and he turned to prescription pills in an attempt to take his own life and take away the indescribable pain and suffering. Gary woke up in a hospital bed all alone. There were no visitors. His friends and family had lost all contact with him and he wished he would be better off alone. Having cut all ties with his family and friends he was homeless with no place to stay.
Karen, the founder of Pathways For All People, was alerted to Gary’s situation by the council and social services who had concern for his mental and physical condition as he was no longer self-dependent, experiencing psychosis, tremors and suicidal thoughts. As he recovered from the physical bruises and stitches he faced ongoing and severe emotional distress. After several visits from Karen and a number of psychiatrists at his bedside, Gary was told that if he was able to give up drinking and take on a full personal recovery programme he would be offered counselling to help him open up about the traumas of his past, cognitive behavioural therapy to manage his on-going depression, educational support through college programmes and most importantly a roof over his head until he was able to stand on his own two feet.
No person’s journey at Pathways for all people is the same, with the majority of residents struggling with past traumas, a history of neglect, and abuse. All residents are looked after with a bespoke recovery plan to build confidence, skills and value to the community with the end goal of complete independence. Karen worked closely with Gary to focus on his strengths and give himself a belief in his ability. After four weeks of initial therapy, it quickly became obvious that Gary excelled at supporting Karen with day to day tasks around the houses, helping service users to move into their new safe haven at Pathways for all people he was able to use his experience to help others.
Now Gary is of service to all of the service users within the Pathways organisation having assumed the role of Volunteer Housing assistant alongside Karen. On Top of his volunteering duties, Gary has been studying for an NVQ in social care and assistance. Despite the difficulties of Covid19 and feelings of isolation due to his ongoing counselling support and purpose within the organisation, Gary has started a running club which has seen popular uptake amongst residents at Pathways for all people helping to boost mental health, morale and social activity. After weeks of training, Gary has built up from 1K to a 6K run and has ambitions to run 15K for charity! Gary has never felt such a feeling of achievement as a result of the freedom from the support given to him by Karen and Pathways for all people.
Gary now feels understood, valued and driven to achieve his goals of becoming a full-time support worker in the community. He has nearly completed his NVQ in social care and looks to pass his final exams in four weeks time. His main passion and the why behind his ambition is to show others there is a very fine line between anxiety and depression, success and freedom and that anyone can fall into a life of hopelessness but with the right support in place for each individual and the desire to recover others can follow the same path as him and turn their lives around. Gary is now carrying the torch in the community passing on his first-hand experience to help other vulnerable adults to recover as he has.
In September of 2020, Gary has signed up to a 15K charity fundraiser to support other vulnerable and homeless people in the Dorset community who have a desire to get the support he had and stand on their own feet with all proceeds donated to the Pathways For All People charity.