“Living in the flats in the 70s and 80s in town was great for me. I had many friends and still have, real decent people, I took part in all the games, talent shows and competitions that were going on. Drugs were around but I wasn’t interested and I knew very little about heroin, even though there was evidence of drugs being used on the stairs I never asked questions. My Ma was always there and my Da worked, when I look back I had a good childhood all the necessities were provided for. My Ma only had to look over the balcony to see if me and my other siblings were alright and if we needed her we just shouted, we were well minded. Life was good and I had dreams, I remember thinking I can’t wait to be 18 and travel the world.
I took an ecstasy tablet one night, this little tablet was a drug that led me to heroin, acid and crack. After hiding it for 2 years my family found out and tried to get me help. The methadone clinic was the answer. What should have only been a 3-month detox, turned out to be 25 years of running to clinics, doctors and chemists. I learned to shoplift and I sold drugs to keep my habit. At the age of 29 I nearly lost one limb through an abscess and stopped injecting heroin. I was still on methadone and made a promise I’ll get a job and sort myself out and I did get a job but I kept losing my jobs because I had to go the clinic for my methadone first. Eventually I became immune to the methadone and it no longer had any effect on me other than destroy my health and appearance. I turned to drink to help me cope with myself. I lived in regret and could not see a way out, I felt this was how it was I am drug addict and an alcoholic and I believed there was no way out.
When I first dropped into HOPE I never believed I could be helped, but I was broken and my way was not working. I didn’t want to die and most of all I wanted to be a mother who was there for her child before it was too late. Something as simple as a chat with staff who understood where I was at helped my mind set on my struggle to get clean and my self-worth. I took up their suggestions and a plan was put in place. With great effort and persistence from the staff in HOPE I got a bed in a treatment centre down the country. HOPE kept their word, “we’ll be here for you when you come home.” They were, they still are there for me and anyone who needs their help. After treatment HOPE guided me towards the ACRG (After Care Recovery Group), who helped me deal with life without drugs and find out who I really am, before helping me back into education.
I returned to education aged 45 and I am currently in college. I spend my evenings studying alongside my daughter who is in secondary school. I try to teach her to question everything and to think for herself. Drugs and drink robbed many years from my child and me, but not today. My recovery is everything and I am forever grateful to HOPE and the ACRG for reassuring me it is possible to get clean and be a productive member of my community. Being clean was a dream of mine but I did not get clean alone nor will I stay clean alone. I still need my supports for encouragement and advice and I use them. It has been 2 years and 7 months since I touched a drink or a drug, Thank God.”