My drug use started when I was 11 or 12 with glue, petrol, drink and hash when I could get it. I first tried coke when I was 13 but mainly stuck to naps. I hung around with an older crowd and was always wanting to keep up with them and be part of what ever was going on. I suppose I’ve always been a crowd pleaser.
When I was 15 I couldn’t get napps one day so I went for heroin. It nearly killed me, I overdosed my very first time. It didn’t stop me going again though. I left school at 12 and I would have left earlier only I could rob stuff at school to buy stuff. After school I mainly got money through shoplifting. I went onto breaking into houses then though and started getting into trouble with the law. I became a father at 16 and went into prison at 17 for aggravated burglary and didn’t get out until I was 25. I missed out on my daughter for all that time.
Although I got off heroin in prison I went back on the phi when I got out even though my ex-partner tried to talk some sense to me. I started to sell heroin to pay for my phi. I was on crack for a year and finally hit rock bottom. I had a son and finally realized I was getting in too deep and had to stop or I’d miss out on his life as well.
I eventually approached the HSE Rehab and Integration service in the Axis in Ballymun for help. They put me in touch with Liberties Recycling and I’m now in my second year. So far it’s going well. I’ve reduced my methadone from 130mls to 80mls and aim to be drug free and off benzos before I leave. I need to be because I want to drive and if I make good progress here they’ll put me on the vans doing deliveries and collections from the charity shops and from our recycling banks. I’d love that.
Before Liberties I had worked in a few places but I was always let go or turned down when they did a security check because of my prison record.. But it’s great here, I’m working, I’ve made friends and I’ve a focus. Since I’ve started I’ve done my Fetac Maths. That’s the first school subject I’ve ever got an award for! I’m doing computers next and am really pushing for the forklift training.
I see a counselor here and the rehab team have done up a care plan for me and are helping me detox. They also spoke for me at a sentencing hearing when I had prison hanging over me and that’s given me this chance to do things right for my family. My kids are 18, 7 and 1 now and I want to be involved with them and help them like any father would. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m getting there.