Bryan McMorrine, Managing Director of Right at Home Central London, explains how his specialist team can help clients overcome binge drinking and recreational drug use through their specialised Addiction Recovery Service.
What is it Right at Home Central London?
Based in Fitzrovia, Right at Home Central London provides in-home care and addiction recovery support to clients across Central London. Our services are available from 2 to 24 hours per day. Homecare is not just for elderly as people of any age can suffer an illness or injury. We are also the first accredited LGBT+ homecare business having been awarded the Pride in Care Quality Standard from leading LGBT+ charity Opening Doors London.
Can you tell us more about your Addiction Recovery Service?
We are the first regulated homecare company in London to offer such a service and hired a dedicated team of highly experienced professionals. It offers affordable support based on the traditional sober companion model, that has primarily only been available for very wealthy clients to date. It helps people who are readjusting to life after an in-patient rehab stay as aftercare is key to prevent future relapse. We also support clients to overcome binge drinking and weekend recreational drug use. The earlier help is sought, the more chance there is for these people to avoid a rehab stay in the future.
A key demographic for us is the LGBT+ community. We provide confidential and non-judgemental support. Asking for help is the hardest part so people need to understand there is nothing that will shock or surprise us – we’ve heard it all before. In many cases substance usage increases gradually with time, so people are in denial that they have an issue and need help.
Have you seen an increase in demand for support from people who were drinking more during Covid lockdown?
Yes, we have seen a significant increase in demand but it’s hard to say if this has been completely due to Covid. Many alcohol charities and services are reporting an increase in demand and alcohol sales are up in supermarkets by 30% from the same time last year.
For most of our clients, lockdown has offered much needed time for rest and reflection. Working from home offered them the chance to get the help that’s been needed for a long time, but they did not address, as they had such little work/life balance or socialising with clients was a significant part of their job. They came out of lockdown feeling much stronger and healthier than ever thanks to the work they put in to improving themselves.
What about the Covid impact on recreational drug use?
Cocaine does continue to be a serious issue in London. We have tried to stay as positive as possible throughout the pandemic but do need to make people aware that cocaine in London is becoming more dangerous. Its purity strength has increased significantly to around 30-40%, making it more addictive.
A recent report estimated that 23kg of cocaine is snorted daily in London. This is often cut with fentanyl which is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.
What starts off as a weekend recreational habit can quickly grow and the sooner people get support, the easier it is to stop. The recent 10pm curfew offers an excellent opportunity to readdress unhealthy habits. With people having seen a 20% cut in salary due to furlough, addressing such issues can also be great for the bank balance if people need further motivation.
Can you explain the type of support you provide to help people with alcohol or drug problems?
We start by trying to ascertain why people are using substances. Addiction is an illness and there is often no specific cause for why people are using, other than to fulfil their habit. However, in some cases clients are using recreationally to self-medicate due to underlying issues that need to be addressed. We then set short, medium and long-term goals and work with each client in a unique way to achieve these objectives.
Our work focuses on recognising and avoiding triggers, coping skills and relapse prevention. We combine these with mindfulness and meditation, then help the client assess their social network to identify healthy and risky co-dependent relationships.
In summary, we could be described as life coaches who help break down tasks or obligations that feel overwhelming into smaller more manageable goals whilst giving clients the tools to stay clean and sober without our support for the long-term. When a client no longer needs us, we’ve done our job properly.
Can you please give us an example of a positive story during Covid?
Every client’s key triggers for drinking alcohol or using drugs can vary. The most common we see include family issues and loneliness. One client we supported during lockdown was on furlough and had been engaging in heavy binge drinking for a long time, losing days where he had no recollection of his actions. He was self-medicating to block out the thought of returning to a job he despised.
After a few sessions of completing our usual goal setting and relapse prevention techniques, we focused on gaining an understanding into what he liked or disliked about his work then helped him to rework his CV, apply for jobs and also ran mock interviews. He is now over 50 days sober and only sees us once a month as feels stronger than ever to manage a healthy life himself. It is so rewarding to see someone in their thirties get the help now before the drinking became so unmanageable it would heavily impact the rest of his life.
To contact Right at Home Central London and to hear more about their services please go to rightathomeuk.co.uk/central-london.