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Joe’s Story

“I started in Coolmine years before I actually went into the Lodge as my family had wanted me to get help. I met with Robbie a couple of time but once I stopped getting asked about how the meeting went I blocked Robbie’s number and unfortunately ended up back doing what I was doing previously! This time I wanted it for myself, so I made strides to get in myself into Coolmine without my family knowing as I had told them 101 different times I would stop. I began pre-entries in Coolmine House with Tony and that’s where my journey started.

“When I arrived in Coolmine it was a very warm welcome. The first person I met was my keyworker Frank and he made me feel a little less nervous about being there. Everyone else then made it very easy for me, from my “Big Brother” Ronan to people I now call friends – they all played a part in making my stay there as easy as possible. The staff played a huge part in making me feel okay being there as I had this worry that it would be different for me as I’m a Traveller. But this wasn’t the case and I was treated like everyone else in there, just a bunch of men looking to change for the better, no labels!

“In Coolmine with the pull up system and the way it is laid out I was able to learn to control my emotions. In the beginning I was reacting to everyone, full of anger, I was blaming everyone; my family and my father especially for everything that was going wrong in my life. For the first time in my life I began taking responsibility for my decisions and began looking at myself. I’ve changed a great bit since I went in there I feel I’ve become a lot calmer, I am not as selfish, I am trying to better in everyday life. Some days I fall short but once I’m trying to be a better and not using I’m happy with that.

“These past two years of my life have been the best two years of my life. Peace of mind wise, I am no longer hiding in my own home in the room afraid to see my family, in case the noticed I was on something. I am mending bridges with the members of my family. Although not always perfect, and we still argue, it is way better than it was before. I am accountable today, I am no longer trying to impress people who really don’t care about how I am doing, I am happy in myself! I have gained an awful lot in recovery some of which I didn’t think I’d get. Sometimes the responsibility can be overwhelming but it’s great being trusted by people now. Being trusted by my family and my mother not having to worry about something happening to me. She tells me she can actually have a good night’s sleep now and the relationship I’m getting with my father are two of the best things I’ve gotten in recovery!

“What I wish people knew about recovery is, to the people in addiction it’s not just you who’s unwell. This is a family illness and it impacts everyone close to you. The person in addiction is usually the last to see the carnage we are causing! To the families it’s obviously extremely difficult to be seeing a family member like this but try remember it’s not the person, it’s the addiction that’s the issue!

“To other Travellers especially, don’t be worried about how other Travellers will see you. You’d be surprised how many would actually praise you for going to get help, so take the jump. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. My life now is absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t give my worst day in recovery for my best in addiction!”

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