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Bronagh’s Story

“Before Coolmine my life was at a level of unmanageable chaos and trauma. My childhood traumas had led me to a place of chronic substance misuse and poor health. I was just over 6 stone and had damaged every single relationship. I had prioritised drugs before my son, which Is hard for me to say even now 15 years on. My body was so scarred from abscesses due to me thinking it didn’t matter: I would be dead soon anyway.

“After numerous failed suicide-attempts I finally found myself a Faith-based addiction meeting in a Church which led me to Coolmine Lord Edward street. I engaged with the pre-entry group where a staff member told me I had clean urine. This was a first after many years of trying to do it on my own. Two weeks from the initial engagement I was offered a bed in Ashleigh house.

“The most prominent memory for me was lying in bed and for the first time in my life feeling safe. I was introduced to staff and peers. Supported in safety every step of the way by the staff here. Something really special happened in Ashleigh house. I was challenged and pushed. One peer saw me struggling to find motivation. “Just do it” this peer said. And it’s a principle I still live by.

“Coolmine taught me very basic skills: paying bills, cleaning, communication but most importantly taking responsibility for my actions. I began to identify my feelings and deal with them as they came up in a positive beneficial way. I learned the value of meaningful relationships and identifying my core strengths and values. I am very grateful God allowed me this chance and that he gave me the strength to keep on keeping on.

“Recovery has given me a meaningful life, transparent and full of trials, challenges and blessings. I’ve been 15 years drug-free since January. Recovery gave me back my family. I have been given a second chance. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, years of trauma’s impact isn’t undone in a day.

“I have worked now for 14 years with vulnerable people dealing with substance misuses. I have travelled and worked in orphanages in Belarus just loving and caring and giving back. I have educated myself and am currently studying in DCU. I have overseen and been involved in many charity projects, coordinated and trained volunteers for 4 years for homeless outreach. My family and friend relationships have been restored to a point I could never have imagined. I’m currently working with an amazing organisation who are so invested in people, right now specifically working with some women who have come through Ashleigh house.

“I have gained my sanity and my identity. I have gained a life unimaginable. I’m a fully productive member of society and making a difference in the lives of people less fortunate. I have gained a Faith and trust in God that is the core of my life, Goals and Vision.

“Some of the most amazing hearts can be found when you remove all the predisposing factors for addicts. Maybe you have a friend or a family member in recovery, if you really want to support them on their journey: Educate yourself, ask questions but most of all listen to the voice of the recovering addict. These people have so much to give. If you give an addict the space to recover, step back and watch them flourish like a seed planted in a fertile soul.”

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