Jamie completed treatment at Phoenix Futures Hampshire Residential Service in 2013 after using heroin for 20 years. He explains why suitable housing options available to people in the early stages of their recovery are so important:
“After completing treatment three years ago, I did have somewhere to live, but going there would’ve landed me straight back in a very, very toxic environment. If you’re having a bad day you don’t want to be living next door to someone using when you’re in the early stages of recovery, even having someone dealing down the road would be a better barrier than on your doorstep.
“I remember there was a huge amount of pressure on key workers to find the right housing for people, and there weren’t that many options out there. Everyone was fighting for scraps.
“I found myself a bed in a “dry” house, but the residents got wrecked as soon as the staff left at 5pm and sobered up by the morning. I was in a very vulnerable position being there, as environment can be a major contributing factor for many people who relapse.
“It’s important to be around people who understand you and recovery, that peer support is such a powerful thing. My partner didn’t understand everything I’d gone through in rehab and if I’d have moved back into the house with her, that would’ve led to a lot of anger, guilt and abuse. I’m glad Phoenix has developed more housing options for people to be able to support each other and stay safe.”