Fred moved into a three-bedroom apartment at the end of February 2014.
Fred had lived at Harrington Hall for over a year, and for the last several months worked full time at a warehouse leaving the shelter by 5am to get to work on time.
Fred has had some substance abuse history, stopped using cocaine/crack in 2006 but has struggled with alcohol ever since. He has had years of sobriety at one time but more recently, relapses every few months or so which often jeopardizes his employment.
Fred relapsed on alcohol soon after he moved into housing. Fred moved into his apartment first and didn’t have roommates for about a month or so. He reported that he “missed the shelter” and struggled with those feelings because he thought they were silly. He said even though he didn’t speak to many people there he knew people were still around and it was comforting.
Fred detoxed himself and got back on track and was able to talk his employer into keeping him. Fred felt since this detox was so difficult, that would keep him away from relapsing again. Fred was not interested in counseling or seeing a doctor and felt he could keep himself sober based on how horrible he felt while detoxing.
Fred reported feeling better, he got roommates and they seemed to get along pretty well. After about six weeks, Fred relapsed again for about 1 week. This time, Fred wasn’t so lucky had his employer let him go.
His two roommates, very concerned about his well being, asked to speak to him about everything that was going on. The three men sat around their kitchen table for 3 hours discussing different issues that they are dealing with in the past and present. After that conversation, Fred stopped drinking the next morning. He again detoxed himself and with support from his roommates and his case manager decided this time he would go see a psychiatrist and take his advice on treatment because he feels something is not right mentally.
Fred took some time to examine the last 20 years or so. He said he has had 16 jobs, the first two being for 5 years and 7 years but the rest for less than a year each. He realized that he now has stable housing, support from House of Hope and his roommates had a job that he loved yet he still cannot stop himself from relapsing. He said “My way isn’t working anymore” and agreed to take some time and see a psychiatrist before he tries to get employment again.
Through the ACCESS to HOPE collaboration with MHA/ACCESS-RI, we were able to get Fred an appointment with their psychiatrist for this week. He is going tomorrow and he is going to start his treatment and hopefully his understanding to what is going on with him.
This may seem to be a step backward because Fred lost his full time job once entering housing, but that is not the case. Fred has finally realized that he needs mental health treatment and because of the support of his roommates and supportive services through House of Hope, he is going to be able to address the issues that have ended his employment for at least the last 20 years. Fred has no problem obtaining employment, it is the retaining his employment that needs to be examined and starting this week, the underlying issues will begin to be addressed.