“Before Coolmine my life was hectic. I was a shell of a person who was hurt, I didn’t know myself and I was really lost. I felt I had failed as a mother and had no future goals. All I could see or feel was this darkness over me.
“I came to Coolmine from prison on temporary release, I was tested weekly in prison before I came in. I knew I wanted to change but I didn’t fully understand recovery or what my life could be like. I just wanted to get better, or at least try. It was my first time in a treatment centre.
“I was nervous going into Coolmine, I didn’t know what to expect. The staff and the girls made me feel welcome and soon I was like a part of the furniture! You get close to people in there and I still have lifelong friends from there.
“I learned a lot but mostly my emotional management. I used to be very angry because I was hurting. I realized not to judge people, because anyone can fall into that dark place that I found myself. I learned I wasn’t a bad person or a bad mother. I believed I just needed help and I grabbed it with both hands.
“Since then, it’s been a lot of different emotions. I have my children home full time and the best partner who understands me. I got a new beautiful home and I am the first Traveller to be hired by the Irish Red Cross in history.
“I go back to the same prison I was in to do talks and workshops and in other places where people may be battling addiction or want to know more about recovery.
“I’ve gained a lot since not being in addiction. I’ve gained my confidence and self-esteem. I now know I’m worthy and capable of anything. And like I said to have my kids home and give them their mammy back was my biggest goal and it happened.
“I won’t lie it’s not easy being in recovery; you get tested and you have to want it for you. You have a different outlook on life. I never thought I’d be working a good job and running a home while still being a full-time mother. As long as you know what and who you’re doing it for and you want to get out of that bottomless pit; you can do anything you put your mind to. I believe recovery doesn’t give you your life back, it gives you a fresh start at one.”