Norbert talks about his journey into his current housing situation, including support he has recieved with employment and education along the way. He speaks about his diagnosis with social anxiety and ptsd and how past experiences influence his current mental health. His story highlights how access to training and education not only result in qualifications for those involved, but life experiences that can help people with traumatic pasts build up their ability to trust people again. Norbert also discusses how access to support can be a positive but ultimately he would like to live an independant life. Some key changes Norbert lists as a result of gaining access to housing include improved independence, access to employment and training support, and progress towards writing his book. Norbert closes by remarking that recovery from alcohol is something he could have never imaged, detox was a painful process, but it's doable if you really want to change. Organisations exist that can support, but ultimately the choice is with the individual if they decide they want to change. 

and I'm gonna ask you the question. So, um, can you tell me what the most significant change your accommodation has made in your life? Well, um, since I start work since I start living in, uh, the accommodation I am now, uh, I been able to handle my my life. Almost like, um, I I become independent. Uh, after before I moved to the the flat, where I am now with macro

I was living in a shared house. Uh, for about two years, she was with Cairo's community trust. And we've been always under, uh, under an eye if you want

If you if you were, um my support worker was coming over during the drug test. Uh, I was, you know, depending on on them, like I have to do what they what they tell me to do which I I did appreciate because, you know, it was it was massive hurt as well. After the talk and rehab, that was the first stage, Um, move on the house and And it did help me, uh, fill up the papers, uh, for me to move on to to another to another place which was, uh, which was macro

And, uh, yeah, it was about two years ago. And I I moved to this to this place. Uh, since then, uh, I started to, you know, put my life together

Uh, What I want to what I want to do What's, uh what is out there for? For me? Like I start to go to college. I did, um, employment academies. I went to two different employment academies

Uh, I was able to continue, uh, working on my on my story. My, my my book. You know, I was just kind of taking my head, uh, of, of, of, of the problems

Like, I'm imagining things that kind of create my own world if you if you were. But it was kind of therapy for for me. So yeah, it was for me

Live independently was, uh, completely something different than I was used to over over the years When, um when I was living in a hostel first I was homeless in 2017, then about two years in, in in the hostels, Um, detox rehab. So all of that Well, I would say five or six years, uh, you know, going through that. So at the end

I can start over, like, literally. Now is the time when I'm when I'm starting over, I you have a safe place to come back home place. I can call my mind

Almost students. Uh, so do you think there's the independence that you have now? That's, like, quite a significant thing in terms of of, like, the improvements that you've experienced in your life when you when you don't have when you are not independent. I mean, I always have to look at other people who, um, for others to tell me what to do

And like I did I, I realised that, you know, the there were people who were also helping me. But, you know, I don't I was always saying that I don't want to depend on others for for forever. I

I believe there are those institutions, uh, to help you for a while, but you are the one who have to do the job where you can live like that forever. Which is also the about the benefit system. And I believe that, you know, is there to help you for a while

But you can't, you know, rely on it for for for a long time. So, um, because of my my, my my conditions, Um, I'm type one diabetic. Uh, I'm I still struggle with PTSD and therapies

Uh, I know that, um, To be working somewhere would be difficult, because I, I got my glucose level going down. Uh, all of a sudden, uh, I'm feeling aware. I'm struggling to be around people with the social anxiety

Um, So I was trying to find a way how I can work from from home. I was trying to figure out, um, you know, because I know that people actually does that, and it is possible. So that was my, um, other

Another idea what I can do from home. So I look into the forex market. Uh, the currencies, how to buy exchange currencies, how the market works

Uh, I'm still working on that, uh, some bigger success. Sometimes I'm not doing well, but it's just learning process III I like. I like to say this learning process, and I believe it's something you can actually you can make good money from

We are moving without going to to work to to actual work, to stay somewhere a few hours or, you know, try to find a way. Uh, you know, in order to do that, you need have the safe, safe environment. You know, I, I won't be doing it living in a hostel

Uh, because it's it's an unsafe place. And, you know, I've got stuff stealing from me. My TV goes missing, my wallet goes missing, and if you leave something viable in your room and just forget to lock it for a while, But someone walk in there and then just take it despite people, So that's yeah, for for me, that's the That's the difference to live in a in, in a place like that, a flood like this with the organisation and that, uh, such as na na

I know I've got support. I'll come as a support worker if I need anything or I don't know, something I can always call him and he he he's helping me out. In the meantime, uh, I'm able to continue my education or to do, uh, the English course GG CS E

Uh, in the meantime, I, um I'm hoping to to finish my book this year and get it published and see where where that will take me. Um and I'm still working on on, uh, forex market. I'm still learning to to do that

And I believe that this whole thing in the in the future would pay. Pays out that, You know, that could be something I can I can do for for, for for a living. I will support support me

Uh, financially. Uh, then I can come up, come up from the benefit system. I would quit simply I

I did. You know, some people getting lazy or live on benefit. So? So we would say, Look, uh, I'm getting £1000 a month because of my illness, and and, uh, i'll go flat, which I don't have to pay for right now

So there's, like, why? Why I should be working, looking for, for for a job. People getting up five o'clock in the morning, going, going to work. And why I have to do this if I you know, I don't have to pay for my FII

I don't like this kind of thinking. Um, I want to be independent. Uh, I, I want to do my my own money

Um, I'm on this. I'm in the system right now, just just to get through. And then once I feel I'm I'm I'm stable

Uh, I've got everything under control. My my mental health is better. I've got my certificate to see how the with the education what? What next I want to do, uh, my book is probably I'm doing some money, uh, by trading currencies, and then I would I would say, All right, I'm good

I mean, I don't have to I don't want to take benefits anymore, and that's the ultimate goal. But in the independence is a is a big thing for you, and I mean to have full independence. I'm I'm saving money with, uh I don't know if you're familiar with because money box, it's a government here

I'm putting money there, I believe £20 I don't know. 900 is not a lot, but with the time and and then it is building a good, uh, history of financial history. So if I want to buy a property in the future that also this is this money I don't touch, you know, put in there to make it work for for itself by getting some bonuses and stuff, but Also, I will know that there in the future, if I if I need it

Uh and is that something that macros helped you with? This one? I just came across a self taught information. And you mentioned that you were studying for your English G CS E. And And what's what's that been like? How's how's that helped you? Uh I mean, it is once a week, just for three hours

I'm going to the class before I was in pre G CS E. Uh, I mean, I. I, uh I do struggle with social anxiety, so I don't really feel uncomfortable to be around people for for a long time

And I, um I was going to, uh, to employment academies, and that helps me to do, you know, just for force myself to be somewhere with people for for for longer. And and I realised that not everyone is as bad as you know, as a people. I used to meet back at the hostel on the street and came across really, but people who, you know, I was getting beaten up, was robbed

So over the years, I kind of put up those boundaries boundaries around me, uh, that I don't want anyone to get through. Um, I'm on my own by myself. I don't have anyone around, and I feel comfortable like that

You can't really live your life this way. You need to interact. So I started with with that and with the house of vulnerable, Uh, once I graduate, uh, I'll go support worker for another year

And this lady, I was studying for, that I would like to start studying and to go to college, and she was helping me to apply for the course. So as well as like, actually getting the qualification in it, like sort of getting acclimatised and getting used to being around people and social settings is a big thing for you as well. It's a long process

I mean, for someone who's who's like me, I'm a PTSD. I would never feel comfortable when someone would drop me out from my room and force me to to be somewhere like, um, I could just Sometimes I can just completely shut down. When, when I'm in the class where I'm I'm going to panic attacks at a time when I have to leave, uh, the classroom for example, Um, it was it was really difficult at times

And so my my glucose level is going down sometimes without, you know, the wrong reason. And yeah, so all all that it makes, you know, for me makes it difficult to to do something like that, like to go to be around people, But he has to be doing it like slowly. It's a long process, you know, for his day

And the next week, you know, slowly start to start to, uh, get feel more comfortable and then, you know, in my case, I just continue. I want to do well because I knew when I go, I'll be back to my room, lock myself in. I'm gonna stay there

I can't have this to happen again. I need to continue pushing myself and do more things. So, you know, this is what I I I'm sticking to this now since G CS C on to the first and then with the lotion college to see what? And is that something that macros helped you with as well, in terms of, like linking you in with opportunities? Or is it something that the house of partner I was talking to them

I. I knew I wouldn't get to college, Uh, before So, yeah, I got a support worker for for for a year. And because this organisation, they have a job

They telling you, uh, you learning how to how to behave at the interviews, For example, Uh, how to write your CV what to expect from employ a typical, uh, employment academy. And my my my goal was a bit different because I knew that, you know, with my conditions, I, I won't be able to to to get to work right away. So I was there for different reasons

Was there to interact with with people and in the meantime, learn something. So once I graduate, I was telling that I want I want to I want to study first and yeah, it's even better for for for my super worker here. So he will have so so many things to do with me, right? You know, regarding him looking for a college? Yeah, it just it just shows you, though, like this

It's not just when when you get involved in training and courses and things like that, it's not just like the qualification that people get out of it like this. The social side of things and the getting used to being around people if you've struggled with that in the past can be a massive thing as well. So it's really interesting to hear how it's like to see to see other side, like, because I was I was kind of, uh, locked in this bubble where you know, I

I believe that everyone everyone want to use me, everyone want to. It's just bad people out there and I mean, let's be honest. It's it's London

And when you when you live in, like, shady, shady places uh, you you know, you can meet in the sort of of people which, which I did, comes from prostitutes to drug contacts to, you know, all all of that. And over the years, I believe that, you know, most of people are are like that. And for me to see, um, other side, uh, there are actually good people out there who who want to help other status or organisation

It was something completely different. Um I mean, I, I have to do it for myself also in order to to function in my life to build up. Trust is a massive thing with, like, a just in society as general, Not even like on an individual level, just like thinking of the world as a whole

It's just your whole perception of reality is just shifting. I suppose, until now, I This is the reason why I'm wearing my mask. Because I like to hide my face

Not because I've got something to hide. I'm a criminal or something. It just make me feel comfortable out there

And you know, the people around me, I can I can see that someone look at me. It's just, you know, because they may be afraid of something because it doesn't look. Yeah, it looks, I guess

I don't know. I don't think it looks shady. I think it just I think because of covid, everyone's kind of used to the the mask thing

So I Yeah, I don't think you look shady. Yeah. If it makes you feel comfortable, then you've got you do it in it

It makes sense. Is there anything else that you'd like to share before we finish the interview? Uh, I, I don't know what else I could say. I mean those those institutions is a such a macro of Cairo's community to us

Uh and they they are out there. And, you know, I believe the people who want to help themselves, they need to reach out. And, uh, I met so many addicts, uh, to going to my my my my life

Uh, I know that not everyone is is able to to do it, And it is It is difficult. Uh, you changing your life drastically. Um, I couldn't imagine my life without alcohol already

It was on daily daily basis to To to the, uh to the point where where I couldn't when I couldn't function without it. I I have to have a drink first thing in the morning to to to to stop shakes and and stuff. And then when you're going through through detox and I it is painful, especially from from heroin, you know, you got the wet drops and and all that and I people can do it

I mean, it is it is doable. If you really want to change your life, that enough is enough. Need to say to yourself at some point and there are those organisations out there to give you a hand at the end of it when you go through detox rehab and you want to keep pushing to change your life, to get it to to make it better and everyone can do it

Um, I will be clean for years in in the next year, and I'm I'm not even buying tiramisu right now because it is the AL buy. My mouth was without Al I. I don want to push my L, you know, at any point

And yeah, I know that people can It can be so for for for many years and then relapse. How how? How do they call it? Anything can happen in your life so familiar with that, and you feel like you want to have a drink. I want if you if you're alcoholic, let's say and you're going through the process, starting with a a 12 steps

You don't have to necessarily do the 12 steps because it's a long process. I managed to get to the second one only. There's a lot of writing a lot of starting with your life story, and once you you do that, you you learn what not to do what can trigger your your your relapse

And if you can take all of it to your to your mind, you will become strong enough to to realise, you know, to to know what to avoid, how to behave. Let's say, uh no matter what happen if you go to realise, you won't mean that. In my opinion, I I'm never planning to go back to drinking again today

Um, that's what What? What I can say. I'm I'm I'm sober. I'm I'm getting my life back

You know, I'm almost starting my life now, at the age of 3515 years gone, Uh, you know, I will never get it back. That was the time when I believe I could do something with my life already. Now I'm starting

I'm starting to do it. I'm still glad that, you know I can do it at this age because I've met people who are over 50 they're trying to They want to do it. Same thing, you know, stop over

I mean, at this age. And it could be Yeah, I suppose, if any, if any anybody that wants to change, there's not like there's not a cut off point. So in terms of age, it's just No, it's nothing

It's stopping you. It's only you, really. I mean, you can, uh, someone else kind of tell you Like if you really struggle with alcohol or drugs or but, you know, I think other people can see if you want

You know, I was I was saying that, you know, other people, others got problem with me drinking, so drinking business. So it's not a problem, you know, but yeah. If you if someone else is telling you, you should change something, you should stop drinking

You, you will never study. This is the first thing you have to say to yourself. You need to realise self realisation

I mean, if if that's the case. Well, if thank you so much for sharing your story. And yeah, if do you have anything else to say before I stop the recording now? Well, thank you very much

I'll stop the recording..

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