Robert turned to drink after the death of his mother. Alcohol "destroyed" his life over a period of three years - before Framework helped him get things back on track.
Robert began drinking heavily after the death of his mother in February 2008. Four years earlier he had given up his job in the pub trade to become a full time carer to her, helping her live with multiple sclerosis, kidney failure and a weak heart. He was also kept busy by his two brothers, who both have learning disabilities.
“The main thing Framework gave me was my self-respect, because I’d totally lost it”.
Remembering her death he said: “The following day, I turned to drink. There was no other way. I couldn’t grieve. I had too many family members who were really suffering and didn’t know what to do with themselves.”
In April his girlfriend’s grandmother died, and then his own grandmother died in June. “It literally destroyed me for the best part of three years”, he recalls: “depression, anxiety; my confidence went. I couldn’t face up to speaking to anybody. Just the slightest little thing, any setback, and I’d be out drinking.”
Robert had a council flat and, because of his problems with debt, depression and alcohol, the council referred him to Framework. Two support workers from the Chesterfield Floating Support Team came to assess him, one of whom continued visiting him regularly to help him sort out his affairs: “debts, rent, council tax, housing benefit, the community care grant… everything”. Having that order restored in his life gave him the confidence to overcome his problem with alcohol. “I still sometimes have depressive days”, he confesses: “I had one yesterday, and I fought a lot of demons not to drink; because it would have been so easy – to have gone and done it, but I didn’t; I sat there and thought, ‘no I’m not’.” Nevertheless, as he puts it, “things are definitely looking up”.
His relationship with his girlfriend did not survive that very difficult period, but his now nearly 4-year-old daughter comes to stay every weekend. “She’s quite bossy,” he says, “worse than being married!”
Robert added: “The main thing Framework gave me was my self-respect, because I’d totally lost it”.