Sarah’s Story

Sarah accessed our Community Services. This is her story.

Sarah had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child and turned to alcohol and other substances to suppress her memories and feelings. She has two teenage children who have been in the care of her mother for some years now. Sarah also has a history of being the victim, as well as a perpetrator, of domestic violence and has been charged with assault in the past. She has made various attempts at suicide and has a history of harming herself through cutting.

Sarah presented herself at the EDP drop-in where she had stayed in touch on and off since her first visit. Sarah had been known to drug and alcohol services in Dorset since 2001 and had a history of problematic drinking and opiate use, having also been involved in sex work. Although she was no longer using opiates or involved in sex work, she was in the chronic stages of alcoholism, homelessness and depression, and was smoking cannabis on a regular basis. At this point Sarah was drinking around five litres of strong cider daily (35 units), and had recently been experiencing seizures. She had been prescribed medication but was finding this hard to take due to her levels of intoxication. Sarah had been staying in a tent on a camp site during summer months with her boyfriend, but more recently was able to stay on a friend’s sofa for the odd night.

Sarah began to re-engage with her key worker from the statutory team at the EDP drop-in which helped us build some trust and start to help Sarah work on her motivation to engage in some meaningful treatment. The sessions focused on the pros and cons of her attempting treatment again. We explored some ways in which she could cope better with detox and the planned structured day programme, as well as ways she could express herself more assertively rather than aggressively as this was an area where she felt she needed some help. We were also able to help Sarah remember to take her meds and she began to get into a routine of taking them. We also referred her for help in addressing her housing needs and, along with her boyfriend, she was allocated a key worker.

Eight weeks later a direct access worker picked her up from her friend’s house and took her to Christchurch where she successfully completed detox. Sarah and her boyfriend have both gone on to complete a structured day programme and to date remain abstinent and are now securely housed.

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