“We will call him Steven G. (after his favourite footballer!). He is 29 years old. Here is his story in his own words:
“I was lost before I came in to H.O.P.E. I thought life just revolved around drugs. I didn’t know there was a way out. I was taking cocaine and tablets on a regular basis. I also used alcohol, ketamine, methadone, snow-blow, whatever I could get. I started drinking alcohol when I was 16, and starting getting into drugs heavy when I was 20. I lost my job on a building site, and got kicked out of home a few times. I didn’t realise what I was putting my family through, their worry and embarrassment. The closest I came to dying was when I got a meat cleaver in the head when I was drunk and got brain damaged. I spent 6 months in hospital. I had to learn to walk and talk again. When I got out of hospital the first thing I did was go get drugs.
My father then got into the pub business and that was the worst thing that could have happened to me. I thought everyone was my friend, because I could get free drink and drugs. I had a baby, and left the girl over drugs. Then my family left the pub, and I found myself with no money, no job, and no friends. Things got worse and worse. I really hit a bottom when I started robbing my family. I lost all my self-respect. This dragged on for 2 more horrible years, I did not see my baby, talk to anyone, or look after or clean myself. I ended up locked in my bedroom in darkness on my own, talking to myself. I then tried to hang myself. My brother came into the room and cut me down.
A few days later, for the first time, I went to my family and said I needed help. It was St. Stephen’s Day, and H.O.P.E. was closed. My mother rang Joe Dowling, and he met me at the office on December 27th. That was my first day clean, and I haven’t used anything since. So the workers in H.O.P.E. put a care plan around me right away, and we built up a relationship.
- I came into H.O.P.E. every day
- I started going to NA meetings as suggested
- O.P.E. referred me to the Oasis Counselling Centre, where I went every Tuesday for one to one counselling
- The Advocacy worker Alison helped me find a fitness instructor course with the Football Association
- Recommended me for the Annie Kelly Bursary, which I received for the course
- I got really into the football and health and fitness, and I was then picked to represent Ireland in the Homeless World Cup. I went to Mexico in July for that, and the staff of H.O.P.E. helped with raising funds and writing letters on my behalf
So today I am 13 months clean. I still come into H.O.P.E. Regular and go to NA and my counselling. I sometimes help out in H.O.P.E. by talking to and taking a client to a meeting. I will finish my course in May, and I look forward to working in health and fitness. I re-established contact with my son’s mother, and now see my son every day. Life is good.
H.O.P.E. is a really good project. The staff have great relationships with people and will help you with anything. My advice to anyone who has a problem, is don’t be afraid to ask for help – open your mouth – it can all get better.”