I visited Karen last week and, despite receiving a 16 week custodial sentence for her recent breach of ASBO, it was a very positive visit. She was pleased that she would be released without being on probation or have any licence conditions. We chatted about how she felt things could be different when she is released this time and she was very open and honest with me. She knows that she will drink when she is released so we came up with some actions she could take, without too much difficulty, to minimise risks to her health and minimise the risk of her reoffending. She agreed that she would try to stay away from vodka as she knows that she is out of control when she drinks that and it often ends up with her being arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour. She also agreed that she would try to drink in the house instead of on the street as it is a condition of her ASBO that she cannot have open alcohol on her when she is on the street.
I explained to her that her tolerance of alcohol would be low as she will have been abstinent for a few months. She understood this and she agreed to attend a GP appointment with me to discuss what medication she is on and the effect her alcohol use will have on this. In the past she hasn’t acknowledged that she shouldn’t drink while she is taking her medication so this is a real breakthrough for us. She also agreed that she needs some help with her mental health as she really just “wants to feel normal and happy” and she knows she will struggle to achieve this on her own. We discussed what her options are regarding mental health services and she was really keen for me to look into a particular residential service out of Leeds which specialises in mental health and addiction. This is such a positive step for Karen; for her to acknowledge that she needs help and to even show interest in a specific service is a huge breakthrough.
I’m visiting her again next week and I’ll take her some information on this service and I’ve also offered to go with her so she can have a look round to see if it is suitable for her. Part of my work with Karen has been to empower her by letting her know what her options are and arming her with as much knowledge as she can have to enable her to make informed decisions regarding her own care. I’m really pleased that Karen is so upbeat at the minute, I hope it continues, its great to see her making such good progress and making positive decisions for herself.