Meet the Community – Zac
Zac has been a resident of Coolmine Lodge for just over five months. He has been appointed the role of CCO – head of house – there. This role brings with it a lot of responsibility including the coordination of client activity, elements of house management and dealing with any client issues or requests that may arise. Coolmine is currently working with Zac to find appropriate housing for him. He is not going to return to his previous environment which would challenge his recovery.
“Before I came to Coolmine I was expecting it to be like a workhouse, like something out of Oliver Twist! But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“One of the first things I had to get my head around was the fact that clients were in charge. I met people and assumed they were staff members but they were clients, like me. That took some getting used to. Coming from prison you’re so used to thinking of the people in charge being separate to you. But here, it’s all of us from the community who manage a lot of things.
“Part of the process in here is your Concerns meeting. After a month in Coolmine you’re sat down and the rest of the community read out what concerns them about you. What they think might stand in the way of your recovery happening. It’s obviously a lot easier to give Concerns than to take them but they’re an important part.
“Apart from helping with my addiction recovery, Coolmine has given me a peaceful mind. I used to suppress my anxiety with drugs. Before, I would wake up with a racing head full of thoughts about how I was going to get drugs that day and everything had to involve crime. Now, I’m free from that madness. It’s calm now in my head.
“Talking is vital. You have to talk in here. Talking to each other is how you find out that we’re all mirror images of each other. We’re all coming from different backgrounds and have different issues. But we’re all addicts. And that’s how we are able to help and support each other. Because we know what the other person is going through. We’ve been there.
“It’s taken a while but I know now that I can only do my best. If I don’t place importance on myself, I can’t place it on anyone else. I always say now ‘Don’t know it till you try it and keep up the good fight!’ That’s all you can do.”