13 Nov 2020
We hear about one man's journey with SmartMove, in his own words...
Hi. I’m Christopher and this is my story.
After 2 and a half years of recovery and a successful career as an aftercare worker, I rocked back up in Halifax, jobless, homeless, in despair and desperate, in need of help.
I was once again accessing the Basement Project which felt like one great fall from grace as from the outside looking in, I was doing well in life and recovery, a job, a flat and social life etc.
However, this was not the case and after reconstructive surgery on my leg, I started going to the gym to help rehabilitate my leg muscles.
The result of this was that I started to self-medicate with over the counter medication, which in my experience is never a good idea for an addict as once I start, I cannot stop.
For a time, I was doing ok with it but it wasn’t long before the plates came crashing down and I said goodbye to the life I had built for myself.
In January 2020, I applied for help with SmartMove so I could have a stable environment and get my recovery and life back on track.
By the end of January, I had had an assessment and started working with Jude Holden. At the time I was thinking very cynically about life in general and did not think for a moment I would get a property anytime soon.
However, in February I got a call from Jude to say that I had a viewing already, which I attended and was fortunate to be offered the property and moved in at the end of February 2020.
During my time since moving into the property I have had help with getting furniture, accessing a dentist, benefit help, budgeting, and the most important thing for me, my mental health.
My mental health has been a big sticking point for me, having a distorted view that I couldn’t possibly be suffering with any underlying mental health condition.
So, acknowledging it was a major step for me, let alone asking my housing worker for help with it, "after all they are only here to help with housing", was my train of thought, and so far from the truth!
When I did pluck up the courage to ask Jude, I found her to be kind, caring, compassionate, empathetic and non-judgemental in how she approached this, she helped me deal with this issue and my time throughout being a client with SmartMove.
I was referred to VITA Minds where I did a course of CBT and I am now under the mental health team and get ongoing support.
I am slowly getting better as each day passes and remain abstinent from all substances.
When the pandemic hit, the Basement Recovery Project shut and so did Narcotics Anonymous meetings, so this was a real problem for an addict in recovery as it's my bread and butter, so to speak.
Yet Jude stepped in and got me funding for a laptop so I could access mutual aid meetings and that is what I have typed this story on.
I offered to do my story as a token of appreciation to SmartMove and in specific to Jude who has been exceptional throughout my time working with her.
My story is only the tip of the iceberg of how SmartMove go above and beyond just housing, to see their client group have a stable environment to live a healthy and happy life too.
Jude you are amazing and all the staff at SmartMove - thank you so much for your help and continued help in my new life in Halifax, I will be forever grateful.
(Stock image. Name changed to protect identity).