Andrew's story - A journey to independence and sobriety
Andrew has always been resilient. Throughout his life, he has navigated through many challenges, including a period marked by heavy drinking where a bottle of wine would be gone within ten minutes. But today, with support from his team at SeeAbility, Andrew stands resilient, celebrating a remarkable ten months of abstinence from alcohol.
Andrew's journey wasn't just about giving up alcohol. It was a journey to rediscover himself and his independence. Losing his sight due to meningitis and a brain tumour at only three years old, Andrew faced numerous challenges. His previous living situation was less than ideal – despite being in his mid-30s, he was placed in a home for elderly people, and left on his own. When it became clear that this support was having serious consequences for Andrew’s mental health, he made the decision to leave, and moved to a new home in Aylesbury. Here, with SeeAbility’s support, he has discovered a sense of purpose and belonging.
The SeeAbility team quickly recognised that to really thrive, Andrew needed support with his dangerous drinking habit. His decision to stop drinking wasn't a sudden revelation, but a series of small but significant interventions by the support team.
Andrew began his journey to recovery receiving support from One Recovery Bucks, but this was only a 6-week support group for alcoholic dependant people.
As they got to know him, the SeeAbility team recognised that drinking episodes were often triggered by sadness. They learned to understand the signs that Andrew was having a difficult day, and met this with gentle emotional support, helping him navigate those emotions and avoid the temptation to revert to his old habits.
Gradually, they supported him to build new skills and develop new interests that could distract him from the desire to drink. He has found solace in cooking and other distractions instead of seeking refuge in alcohol.
Through this, they fostered his independence, helping Andrew to rebuild his life on his terms.
A life transformed
The transformation is vivid. Andrew now cherishes his newfound independence, mastering life skills like cooking and cleaning, and venturing out alone without assistance. His moments of vulnerability are met with empathy and a strategic plan crafted with the supportive team at SeeAbility.
He has evolved from a person grappling with anger to someone more resilient and self-sufficient. Andrew's life is filled with his passions – pottery, college, visiting family, and other social events. He is a brilliant musician and a dancer, his talents nurtured and encouraged by his support workers and everyone he lives with.
Charlie, Andrew’s keyworker, is proud of the progress he has made:
"Andrew is an amazing young man, who surprises me daily with his sheer determination. His fearless independence and commitment from stepping away from alcohol blows me away. He is one super strong individual and as Andrew's keyworker, it makes me smile every day watching his progress"
The end of his drinking habit has had other tangible impacts on his life. Andrew loves to travel and since stopping his spending on alcohol, he has managed to save up and go on several holidays, fulfilling a lifelong dream of visiting Scotland.
Ali reflected on the profound change and newfound confidence he observed in Andrew:
“He's entirely changed. Before that, he was independent, but now, he’s a lot more than that. He’s doing everything himself. He just needs a tiny bit of support."
Andrew has expressed his gratitude for the support he received. He acknowledged the team's guidance in steering him away from alcohol and found pride in his newfound freedom from its grasp:
"I feel proud of myself and thankful to my support workers.”
At SeeAbility we know that life-changing transformation is possible with the right environment, support, and personal determination. Within every challenge lies the potential for a brighter future.