“I went into Coolmine Ashleigh House when I was 18. My life before Coolmine was like a rollercoaster. I never knew if the days were going to be up or down. I had a normal life growing up, in my eyes it was perfect. I lived with my Mam, step dad and two younger sisters. I turned to drugs at the age of 14. At first it was to fit in with the crowd but eventually I depended on drugs. In such a short space of time I had lost everything: my family, friends, jobs, hobbies and most importantly myself.
“November 2020 I remember looking at myself in the mirror and I broke down, the person I was looking at was not me. I got in touch with The Light House in Pearse Street, who gave me weekly check ins. They put me in touch with Coolmine Lord Edward street where I then went to weekly groups which had taken me from November to March. My progress was slow, but I knew I could do this if I really put my mind to it. Within 3 weeks of that I got a call to say my bed was ready in Ashleigh House and I had to be there in 2 days. I’ve never been so proud of myself for getting this far but reality kicked in and I realised this isn’t a game; this is life or death.
“On the 5th March 2021 I arrived in Ashleigh House. I didn’t know what I was going into. I remember ringing the bell and one of the staff came out and welcomed me and brought me in. I was so scared leaving my family at that door and going into a house full of women I didn’t know. My first day all of the women made me feel so welcome, they brought me goodies, movies, books and checked in on me every couple of hours as I was in isolation for the first week due to Covid. From the day I entered the house until the day I left I felt like I had 20 mammies minding me.
“The main thing I learned in Coolmine was how to love myself again and how to cope with my feelings without taking drugs. I learned to walk away from situations and also how to handle situations. I learned everyday things that I had lost during my addiction.
“Recovery has changed my whole life around. It has given me good relationships in my family. I am able to sit with my feelings and not take drugs to make the feelings go away. I am able to do normal everyday things that I couldn’t do in my addiction. It has given me so many great opportunities, new friends and a beautiful godson from Ashleigh House.
“From being in recovery I am now able to hold down a job, I can buy myself nice things without depending on my family, I have paid for a holiday for myself, I have gotten friends and family back that I lost during my addiction.
I wish people in addiction knew there was more to life than taking drugs, there is so much more in this world for everyone. I wish they knew the things they can achieve in life in recovery. I hope everyone in addiction gets to see sobriety.”