“I took drugs when I was 13 or maybe younger. Drugs helped me fit in with my friends and have confidence, I felt alone and scared and didn’t feel a part of my family. I always wanted to live in someone else’s house. My father was an alcoholic and we lived in the flats. I was the second youngest of my family, the only girl. From a young age I suffered physical, mental, and emotional abuse. I went through a lot with my father, I didn’t know how to deal with the feelings. I felt like nobody cared or would listen to me. I kept a lot in and blocked a lot out with drugs and running all the time. Drugs made me feel good and numbed the feelings. I have lost so much because of my drug use such as time with my son, jobs, relationships, homes, and nearly lost my life. I lost the ability to grieve for my son’s father who died from addiction. I missed out on relationships with my brothers, my mother, niece and nephew and I lost all my self-worth, self-respect, and confidence. Some of the drugs I have used over the years were alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, weed, snow blow and tablets. These brought me to terrible mental states on many occasions and some suicide attempts. I just wanted the pain to go away so I could live! Over the past few years I had thoughts of stopping drugs, but I didn’t know how to stay stopped. My low self-esteem and pride led me to believe that treatment was for people on heroin and phy (methadone), not for people like me. I didn’t want people to think I was a “Junkie” as people call addicts. My mother tried for many years to help me, with my son, with money for apartments which I abused.
Every home I had was about having parties and not giving caring about anyone just once I had somewhere to use my drugs with so-called friends, somewhere to sleep all day without someone disturbing me. By the end of my using I lost everyone around me. I ended up living in a woman’s refuge for a little while, I was losing my mind. I was paranoid, I didn’t want to come out the door. I thought people were jumping out of cars to get me and they would only be parking. So I isolated, I couldn’t deal with my life anymore, I never thought I could change, I couldn’t see a way out. I was losing the will to live.
I first went into the H.O.P.E. project for help in 2012, my mother suggested it because they had helped my brother. I stayed clean for a while, then I relapsed and avoided the project for a while. I hit a bottom and returned to H.O.P.E. in 2013. This time I was ready to put in the work. H.O.P.E. said that the door never closes, and they once again did out a care plan and offered support, and I have gone from strength to strength.
H.O.P.E. encouraged me to go to 12 step meetings, and did a referral for me for the Gateway project. They helped me apply for several colleges, and I was accepted into a barbering college, which I am now in. H.O.P.E. helped me get funding through the Annie Kelly Bursary. The next issue was housing, and they helped me access rent allowance, the RAS scheme, and then one day I received the keys to my new flat for me and my son, and I was delighted. I also through H.O.P.E. attended Soilse, and the Strengthening Families programme. I went on a group trip with staff from H.O.P.E. and members of the community to Lourdes. When H.O.P.E. organised the community concert, they got me to push past my fear and get up and sing in front of hundreds. I have now been clean for 16 months. I stop in on a regular basis for tea and a chat, and see John Hickey counselling.
H.O.P.E. gave me the opportunity to volunteer and give back to my community. I have participated now for the last few years in their mini marathon, bag packing days, and as Santy’s elf! I also come in and have chats with addicts looking for recovery to give them some HOPE.”