Real Life Stories A

A’s Story

I spent 6 months in Shardale rehabilitation centre which I will always say saved my life. Before Shardale my life was just existing, there was no morning or night, it was just another day killing myself.

When I got to Shardale life was very different, no drink or drugs or tablets. At the beginning I believed I’d gone into a mental institute. After my shakes went away I began to get into the programme and the rules and there were so many rules to remember. Up and dressed by 8.15, jobs done by 9, room check 9.30am. Groups from 9.30am till 11.20. Walk 11.20 to 12.10. Group work at 2pm. Community at 3.45. Tea at 5.30. Group at 7pm. Bed at 11.30. And not to forget the board, everyone’s nightmare the board cause every movement you made had to be marked down on the board and if it wasn’t you would get consequences. The same if you swore or was in the wrong room at the wrong time. And the boy/girl room was a big one, you were not allowed to sit in a room with a man and talk. If it was noticed that you were talking to a man too much then you would be put on a communication ban with him which meant you could not speak or look at each other for 6 weeks. If you did it would be extended to 12 weeks as well as visits stopped.

As much as I did not agree with some of these rules they did give me structure and I worked hard at all of the groups. I put everything I could into every piece of writing work, I also benefited from my key-working sessions as well as my counselling. I think it was a massive achievement when I completed my 6 months.

When I finished my treatment I decided to stay in the same area and I applied to Mulberry Supported Housing. I have now been in mulberry for 5 months. I have to be completely honest and say that I have struggled quite a lot with having my freedom back and living outside the Shardale bubble. I have found it very hard trying to get used to living with no real rules and the structure of rehab. But as time has gone on I have realised that I can survive in the real world and the staff from Mulberry have made this possible for me.  

My idea of supported housing was living somewhere that was quite run down and strangers coming in and out and to live by loads of rules. This was actually a completely wrong idea as the house I moved into was lovely and nice and clean, warm and fully furnished with all the essentials.

I was given support from the first day I was in the Mulberry Project, I was given a key-worker (Maria) and I was given phone numbers of people I could contact 24 hours a day. Which I have used on several occasions and have always been given reassurance and support. Nothing is ever too much trouble for any of the staff. We attend 3 meeting a week and there are always good discussions about different ways to stay clean. We are also encouraged to support each other. There is no pressure put on anyone to move out or work or do voluntary work. This is done when the person is ready to do so. Help is offered with filling in forms and in getting a Dr and dentist.


I have to say that without Mulberry I could not imagine how my life would be. I would have had to go back to Liverpool and I know that 100% I would have started drinking again. And I know that without a doubt that would have killed me and left my daughters without a mother.

I have no doubt in my mind that I would have been dead without Mulberry. So I would like to say I owe my life to the project and the staff.