Member Case Study
I was referred to Bridge as I felt I was close to using drugs again. I was drinking heavily at weekends and I was a former heroin user. I was new to the area and felt lonely, felt I had no support, I was trying to get suitable housing for myself and my child and was at risk of being made homeless, and was not working. It was hard to cope with. My initial thoughts were that Bridge would be like every other service I had used - 'they won't know what they are talking about, they haven't been through it'. I was scared I would be judged, like other places, and they wouldn't understand how I felt and why. But I thought I would give it a go, I might make some friends.
On my first day I played table tennis with another member who I had just met. It felt good. I felt I was with people who were like me, people who wanted to recover from substance misuse, 'my kind' of people. I knew I wouldn't be judged. Maybe Bridge could help.
I started coming to Bridge regularly, initially just to play table tennis. I was now only drinking on the odd occasion and was no longer drinking to excess. I had always thought that my problem was heroin and not alcohol. I now realise I was trying to justify why I was drinking.
I still had a problem with housing. Through help from Bridge staff I was able to do home searches using their computers. Through their help and support I found a house in a nice area. It's been great for my child who has been able to make friends and play outside with other children. This was a huge weight off my shoulders.
I started getting involved in different activities. I volunteered at an animal sanctuary, the Bridge allotment, helped renovate a cemetery, and I have also volunteered in the Bridge café. Whenever there is a charity event I will take part, I have joined in with Comic Relief, Children in Need and Movember. I started using the gym - something I am sticking with (for the first time in my life I am sticking with something!)
The help I have from Bridge has made me want to help others, and my next goal is to become a mentor for Bridge. I feel the support and non-judgemental approach is what made me feel comfortable. The staff are easy to approach, we can share problems and I feel liked for me, not just because I am a member - another statistic. The welcome I get every time I come in is great. Everybody says 'good morning' and asks how I am; it makes me feel 'part of the team'. I have been a member at Bridge for one year and feel Bridge will always be here for me. It has helped me to build a support network.
Bridge Substance Misuse Programme Ltd is a Social Enterprise, company registered number 06221493. Registered office 63c Gold Street, Northampton, NN1 1RA.