“My life was unmanageable for several years before I came into Coolmine Lodge on 21st September 1989.
“I had participated in several programmes in Ana Liffey, Jervis Street and Trinity Court, but all unsuccessfully. The talk on the streets back in the eighties was that the only place to become completely drug free, including methadone, was a long, two-year residential programme in Coolmine Lodge. I was 21 years old on my admission to the Lodge.
“My entry into residential service took approximately two weeks with the support of Mr. Bill Breun and Mr. Paul Hatton, who worked in Coolmine House at this time. On entry to Coolmine I was overwhelmed with the dynamics of all the residents in Coolmine Lodge as I had been friends with some of the participants before they went to Coolmine.
“My father was great support to me when I was entering Coolmine Lodge but it was a very difficult for my parents. He was employed by the Probation service as a supervisor over lads doing community work instead of a prison sentences for crimes committed. So, he had some insight to the negative impact drugs were having in communities in Dublin in the eighties.
“On my entry into Coolmine residential on September 1989, my father and my mother got the support of the Parents and Friends group held in Coolmine House every Thursday – this group was run by parents but overseen by Mr Jim Cumberton, who had a great understanding and knowledge of addiction and the types of drugs being taken in the eighties. Jim was Coolmine’s Chairman at this time. My mother Marie and my father Shay stayed involved with these groups for five years, and thirty years on; still talk abound them fondly. My father just recently celebrated his 87-years-young birthday.
“I finally graduated in December 1992 in St. Werburgh’s Church, a beautiful old building. I went to work in Coolmine in 1993 for the next two years as a full-time project worker. I met a lovely woman in 1991, Jackie, and we just celebrated 27 years of marriage recently. She has been an inspiration to my recovery and life in general. We have three wonderful daughters who are all working in great jobs and making a difference in people’s lives. My eldest daughter, Emma, got married last year to David, which is another milestone in my life of recovery. It’s great to see all my family enjoying life.
“Thanks to the help, support and training Coolmine afforded me all those years ago I had the confidence and skillset to also become an employer and set up a business for the last twenty years. I’ve recently become employed back in the service with Coolmine for the last several years – and it’s great to see them celebrate 50 years this year and for me to be involved with this.”