Withdrawal In Our Clients

Much busier than last week, 43 hungry people through the door and 24 in the first 4 minutes. 

The kitchen volunteers were rushed off their feet tonight. The main meal went, every last scrap.  Jan had made a Bolognese sauce with 5KG of mince that had been donated by West Berkshire Brewery this was served on top of Jacket Potatoes. We had also been donated lots of mushrooms from Waitrose. Jan decided to use them and make a Cream of Mushroom Soup.  The “surprise” tonight was Sprout au Gratin. Lorna one of our volunteers was unsure and felt it was cruel that Sprouts were the surprise on the menu. 

We had a good selection of salads and Apple and Mixed Berry Crumble with Custard for dessert.

We had a busy hour before the beginning of the session. Vodafone came in to give us some money and we will get their match funding for that, which is fantastic. At 5pm we had the Soup Kitchen event of the year… The amazing gesture of kindness and personal sacrifice from Tom to allow Kate to shave off his goatee! For those of you who did not see it is on the link below. 


Tom has raised a wonderful sum of money. This will allow us to carry on providing much needed outreach and support. Helping people feel valued and cared for and to encourage them to make the right decisions and move forward with their lives. 

Kate our dedicated hairdresser came in especially to do the deed. It was a lovely atmosphere and we think a bit emotional for his wife, as she had never seen him without it. Thank you Tom. 

This week we moved someone who has been rough sleeping on and off for many years into a flat of their own. This has been possible because of the kindness and compassion of a Landlord happy to take in and support someone who has nothing. We need more landlords willing to do this for people who find themselves in terrible situations and have nothing. Within a few days you can see the difference in someone. Feeling safe and secure, being able to wash when you want, eat when you want and shut the door on the world is something we all take for granted and many of our rough sleepers have forgotten. We will continue to support this person as they gain emotional and physical strength to work to face a new live and different future. 

Many of the clients that we come across have a terrible fear of withdrawing from alcohol or drug addiction. Often time after time they will try to manage their addiction and try to withdraw themselves without professional help. Drug and rehabilitation centres give continued emotional and physical support to help with the difficult and sometimes dangerous process. 

Every drug is different. Some drugs produce significant physical withdrawal such as alcohol, opiates and tranquillisers. Some drugs produce less physical withdrawal symptoms but affect a persons emotions and mental health such as cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy.  Everyone’s withdrawal symptoms and pattern will be different. Some people will experience more physical than emotional withdrawal and visa versa.

The first list below tends to be the emotional withdrawal symptoms produced by all drugs. A person can experience these symptoms whether they have physical withdrawal symptoms or not. The second list is the physical withdrawal symptoms that usually occur with alcohol, opiates, and tranquillisers.

Mental and Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety:Anxiety, panic attacks, restlessness, irritability 
  • Depression:Social isolation, lack of enjoyment, fatigue, poor appetite
  • Sleep: Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Cognitive: Poor concentration, poor memory

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Head: Headaches, dizziness
  • Chest: Chest tightness, difficulty breathing
  • Heart: Racing heart, skipped beats, palpitations
  • GI: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach aches
  • Muscles: Muscle tension, twitches, tremors, shakes, muscle aches
  • Skin: Sweating, tingling

Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol and Tranquillisers produce the most dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms. Someone who stops using alcohol or tranquillisers can lead to seizures, strokes, or heart attacks in high risk patients. A medically supervised detox can minimise  your withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of dangerous complications. Some of the dangerous symptoms of alcohol and tranquilliser withdrawal are: listed below and in worse cases can be fatal. 

  • Grand mal seizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes 
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens commonly known as DTs. 

Withdrawal from opiates like heroin and oxycontin is extremely uncomfortable, but not dangerous unless they are mixed with other drugs. Heroin withdrawal on its own does not produce seizures, heart attacks, strokes, or DT’s. This does not mean it is not painful, distressing and difficult to go through which usually leads to failure without extensive and professional help. 

The first stage of withdrawal is the acute stage, which usually lasts for a few weeks. There is treatment and hope for people who want it. The journey of sobriety is a long difficult journey and a life long choice. 

Now we are open on a Wednesday 2-4pm for The Community Nurses and from December 18th the Community Dentists too. This will make this outreach service more accessible and easier to remember. We hope the numbers of people who access these services will increase. Amanda from the HOLT (Community Nurses) team can now take bloods on a Wednesday between these two hours. This will help with clients that need blood tests if they are ill or need regular check ups for Drug and Alcohol reduction treatment too. Many people find it hard to go to the hospital and sit and wait for hours sometimes and find it difficult to get there too. This new service will hopefully help alleviate these issues and encourage more people to engage.  

We have a new project on The Good Exchange and are fortunate enough to be offered Match Funding £1 for £1 up to £5,000 which means any donations at the moment will be doubled which is a wonderful.

The link below will take you straight to our project which explains the work we do and where funding that is donated is used. 


Kind members of the Community are coming forward to ask to volunteer over the Christmas period. Unfortunately our rota is full at the moment. We are not open Christmas Day and Boxing Day. All rough sleepers and homeless clients are being catered for on Christmas morning and receiving breakfast by existing Soup Kitchen volunteers the same as previous years with help from The Vineyard at Stockcross who will be donating bacon butties.  All volunteers must be Enhanced DBS checked for vulnerable adults, interviewed and thoroughly vetted. 

Therefore we cannot take people of one or two shifts.   People we work with take time to get to know and trust our volunteers. They take time to build relationships with volunteers as a result we cannot take on lots of new people for a short period.