I have a drink and drug problem. I started at 12 years old with LSD and magic mushrooms; E tabs at 14, coke at 17. At 16 years old, I drank every night.
I came from a dysfunctional home as both parents were alcoholics. I loved sport; it took me away from the madness that went on at home but very soon, I gave it all up for drink and drugs.
I was thrown out of school and ended up at a training centre in the city with all the troubled guys and started to get into petty crime to feed my habit. I started getting picked up by the Gardai and arrested for the night. For the next 10 years, I was in and out of jail and my addiction just got worse and worse.
I would come out of jail for a few weeks and months and then go back in, picking up odd jobs and not lasting too long as I became very weak and sick. I was in trouble for stealing and fraud – anything I could do to feed my habit.
I went to treatment for years; nuns, priests and doctors were ringing on behalf of me but I was never ready.
Even after coming out of prison, after two years inside, I knew the addiction was the problem. I’d come out the prison gate, swearing to myself that ‘I am not going to use’ but after a few hours, I’d be drinking. I couldn’t deal with reality; the shame and remorse of who I was and how I had turned out.
After three days of drinking and drugging, I would often lose weight in a very short space of time. In less than one week after my release, I was ready to go back to jail again. I asked for help in prison; never got it – but I did go to AA meetings inside.
I was released in 2002 and I went to Tabor Lodge and did the primary care treatment programme. I really wanted recovery from the first day I set foot inside the door. At the end, I was in a very dark place and I knew there had to be something better than this hell on earth.
I got on very well in Tabor Lodge, I gave the programme my best shot. I met wonderful people who felt just like me and I loved being around positive people. I used to nearly cry when people would say ‘Good Morning’ to me, I just couldn’t talk.
I finished my 28 days with the help of God, my peers and the staff. I cried when I got my key ring, just like a baby. I knew, from that day on, that this way of life was special.
I left Tabor and went to the Sisters in Blarney as I couldn’t go home; with my father and brothers drinking and fighting, I knew I wouldn’t last one hour. Since I came into recovery, one brother died by suicide, my father passed away and another brother is in a nursing home, in his early 40s, from addiction. So, I am blessed.
I left the Sisters, who where more than good to me. I was waiting to go to Fellowship House as I had heard about while in Tabor Lodge and I knew it was for me; I had made up my mind, I really wanted to go there.
I arrived on a Sunday evening, settled in right away and felt safe right away. I had a fear of meeting new people but getting back to the house on Spur Hill and its beautiful grounds, I was really at peace with myself.
The staff were so interested in me there and they just could not do enough for me. I loved the groups every day, I learned so much about myself, I just loved being in Fellowship House every minute of every day. I never even went home on my weekends off as I didn’t want to disturb the way I felt.
Even after leaving Fellowship House, every time I came up that drive on Spur Hill, I knew I was coming home. I really felt that I belonged to something very special there.
After a month of leaving, we set up an aftercare meeting, which today is called a ‘Gratitude Meeting’ and is very well attended today.
I have travelled to places I dreamt about in prison. I got married, have three beautiful children and live in the country.
“I owe my life to Fellowship House for what it has done for me and my family”.
Tabor Group is a leading provider of residential addiction treatment services in Ireland. We provide support and care to hundreds of clients suffering from addictions to alcohol, substances, gambling and eating disorders. For more information on Tabor Group’s services click here.