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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Solihull Integrated Addictions Service supports Steve

Published: 22/03/2019


Solihull Integrated Addictions Service (SIAS) is a successful partnership that has been operated by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Aquarius, Welcome ,Urban Heard and Changes UK for over 10 years. Last summer they were successful in winning a four year contract worth nearly £2m a year which starts in April 2019.

They are responsible for delivering services to residents of all ages in Solihull to support problematic substance use and alcohol consumption, gambling issues and specialist family and young persons’ care. Support worker, Steve (Ste) Hinton has come a long way since an addiction to alcohol ruled his life. He says: “SIAS rebuilt me and made me who I am now.”

Ste started drinking at a young age and explains, “I loved the feeling alcohol gave me. I didn’t care about anything. I was out of control and regularly in trouble with the police. Alcohol caused the breakdown of two relationships and I lost touch with my children. I had nowhere to go. I sofa surfed with friends and family, but ended up stealing from them. I burned all my bridges and ended up homeless around the Solihull area for about ten years.”

Ste says strong cider meant he adapted to life on the streets and cared less and less about himself. After two years, desperate for somewhere to stay, he accepted the offer of a makeshift room in the middle of a row of shops and office without windows, toilet facilities or electricity.
 “I was there for five years. Boredom affected my mental and physical health and I began to self-harm. Visits from paramedics resulted in brief hospital stays but I continued to drink to make the madness in my head to go away.”

He eventually accepted help from Changes UK. After completing 28 days in rehab, Ste was advised to take things slowly. He ignored this advice and found a job and began a new relationship. Within twenty months he relapsed: “The pain was too powerful. I knew SIAS was there but didn’t want to go back. It was a long time before I built up the courage to get help. Then one morning I stood at the fence until someone came out and hugged me. That decision changed my life. I felt safe, built my strength and confidence and offered to help SIAS in any way I could. I wanted to make a difference and they let me put my ideas into practice. I set up a regular Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, helped to recruit support workers and attended meetings with partner organisations across the region. I was, and I am still keen to develop services for those with an addiction.  Addicts have a real understanding of what an addiction is.”

Ste now works at New Leaf, which provides treatment for individuals seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. He continues to support SIAS, and has become an influential figure, working with Public Health England as well as a number of local organisations.

His life has changed completely: “I wake up in the morning and smile. I’m close to my family again. I’ve got a puppy who chews up my flat and I work in an area I’m passionate about. I feel happy and contented. I would like to thank my family and all of the people who have been on this journey with me.”

To find out more about SIAS, or if you or a member of your family need support with an addiction please visit: www.sias-solihull.org.uk, email enquiries@sias-solihull.org.uk or call 0121 301 4141.