“I first took drugs when I was about 14, at first it was to fit in with my friends. Before I took drugs I felt sad lonely scared and empty. My parents were alcoholics, we lived in the flats. I was the oldest child and from a young age I suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse and then sexual abuse from my father. I went through many traumas, one example is them leaving my 3 month old baby brother in my care while they were out when I was 11, he died of cot death and my dad blamed me. The drugs made me feel good and numbed the feelings. Over the years I have lost so much because of my drug use such as time with daughter, I never got to do the things I wanted to do with her. I lost jobs, relationships, and nearly lost my life. I lost the ability to grieve for my sister who died from her addiction. I missed out on relationships with brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and I lost all myself worth and confidence.
Some of the drugs I used over the years were alcohol, LSD, ecstasy, tablets, cocaine, and snow blow. These brought me to terrible mental states on many occasion, and I had numerous suicide attempts. I was in a psychiatric ward a few times. Over the years I had thoughts of stopping drugs, but my low self-esteem led me to believe that treatment was for the rich, not for people like me. I had no family support or encouragement. The one positive thing in my life that I still have is a partner of 20 years and an 18 year old daughter. For some reason they stayed with me. This on one hand helped me have a bit of stability in my life, but on the other hand I put them through a lot.
I first came into contact with Irene from HOPE in 2003, and I knew Joe all my life. When I would meet them they would encourage me to come in and get help, and I made a few attempts but would never follow up on anything. In June 2012 I came back in and did a 17 day detox. HOPE organised for me to get brought to 12 step meetings, relaxation sessions at the Sanctuary and with HOPE’s holistic therapist. They put a care plan in place for me, but I wasn’t feeling confident and didn’t follow it. I went back using for the next 8 months, which were like hell. I was doing a lot of snow blow, and mentally was in very bad shape.
I got a telephone call from HOPE in February 2013 when I was really on the bottom. They talked me into coming back down, and even came and collected me. That was a new beginning. I had one slip but was supported and encouraged and kept coming back. When I went into HOPE I felt like they cared, and I could trust them. They saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. This time I stuck to the care plan. I went to meetings, holistic therapies, came into HOPE on a regular basis for one to ones and care planning. HOPE also organised for some sessions with myself and my partner, which helped me. They did a referral for me to High Park residential treatment centre, and I went there for 5 weeks. Being there and just working on myself was a great help, and strengthened me. HOPE then did a referral for me to the Soilse day programme which I was on for six months. In Soilse I learned a lot about myself, to isolate less, open up, and share. I also took many FETAC accredited courses, and realised that I could do things with my life. Since finishing Soilse at Christmas, I have stayed working with a counsellor and going to my 12 step meetings and linking in with HOPE. Today HOPE got me a job! I start Tuesday catering, it’s the first time I have worked in many years and I am very excited. I am also working with HOPE around going back to college in September.
I would recommend HOPE to anyone, they helped me get a life I never thought was possible. Today I am 11 months drug and alcohol free, and I am able to have a relationship with my daughter and partner and they have their peace of mind back. I feel so much more confident, and that life is full of possibilities.”