We’re continually inspired by the progress made and the creativity unlocked as trainees get involved with Handcrafted. We asked Dean if we could share his story on our blog, and this is it, in his own words.
“I had a longstanding alcohol problem that had been going on for a number of years. It cost me everything – my relationship with partners, contact with my children, job, driving licence, car, and my own business. Eventually this led to homelessness.
At that stage, I was quite content to watch the world go by and just drink myself to death. I was living in a hostel, I came across Handcrafted from a poster on the wall there. Initially, I just thought I’m going to do it for something to do as it’s so boring up there, with the isolation, so I came down for that.
I was hooked immediately – just the camaraderie in the workshop and the atmosphere and the lovely spirit of the people here. And the fact that you learn so much and everyone’s so friendly and helpful. Just the sense of accomplishment that you can actually start to achieve something again and it gave me a different outlook and something constructive to spend my time on. And the more time I would spend here the less I’d feel even inclined to drink. I’ve only had one or two minor blips since coming here – nothing compared to what I used to be like. It’s now a non-issue.
It’s surprising the transition over the span of one day. Sometimes I get up on a morning and feel depressed. If you were to give into that depression and stay at home, that would tend to lead to a downward spiral, but coming in here – always, within an hour or two, your spirit’s immediately lifted and you just feel so much better.
It transforms your day from the start and, on a broader perspective, it has the same effect on your lifestyle, just your general outlook and feeling of positivity. So I definitely feel like it’s a transformative and very helpful thing in my life. I dread to think what I’d be doing right now if I’d not discovered this place. So I’m going to call it a lifesaver – it was like a hand reaching down from heaven and pulling me out of quicksand.”
We interrupted Dean here to point out just how poetic this image was. He went on to explain that he’d previously been an avid song writer but “I’d pretty much given up on music but I’ve been inspired to pick up my guitar again for the first time in about 9 months.”
Dean has recently successfully moved on from the homeless hostel and into a Handcrafted house which he’s currently enjoying decorating and, with the help of our support worker Stu, adding some practical DIY to the woodwork skills he’s already gained. He’s also filling it with song!