‘I was just awake in a nightmare where I lost everything’
Pawel told his addiction story and the support he received

‘I was just awake in a nightmare where I lost everything’

THREE people who accessed addiction services in Tallaght and are in recovery, recently spoke out about their experiences in a series of videos highlighting the importance of wraparound services and support as key tools in helping them to overcome their addictions.

Karen described how she first started taking drugs at 14, and by the age of 18 she had progressed to smoking heroin. She was also heavily involved in the rave scene, and took acid, speed and ecstasy.

“Heroin was always there,” she said. “It wasn’t problematic, at the time. It was only when I got older it became a problem, chasing that good feeling and that sense of belonging.

“So I didn’t have to deal with my reality, and that was the main thing, for me, when I was taking drugs.”

She described being in the cycle of addiction as “horrible” and said that getting into a day programme that removed her from the environment she was in was instrumental in helping her to recover from her drug addiction.

Karen is now a college student, but she credits the support she received from addiction services as being a vital part of helping her to reach this point in her life.

Karen described how she first started taking cocaine

“It’s like you’re wrapped around with the services, and other people on the same journey as you,” she explained.

“You need to be connected in with all of that, so you know you’re not on your own, so you have a place to go to that’s safe, where you can talk about issues that are happening, because it’s not easy coming out of addiction.”

For Pawel, his alcohol addiction progressed from drinking every evening, to then every evening and morning, and it escalated after his wife passed away.

He lost his memory for several weeks after his wife passed away, as a result of his heavy drinking, and his daughter was taken to live with a foster family, which motivated him to confront his addiction.

“I was just awake in a nightmare, where I lost everything,” said Pawel. “And then I decided to change this.

“From the moment I decided to start working with this addiction centre, it was the first time then that I saw the chance to stop drinking.”

His involvement with the addiction centre in Killinarden enabled him to develop tools to cope with his addiction, and he said it allowed him to “build a wall between addiction and me”.

“I feel protected now, because I know I have a place and I can get help…I see a big chance for a good life and a good future for myself.”

Fiona tells her story on how she overcame addiction

Fiona Murphy, an addiction support worker, is one of the people who has helped Pawel with his recovery, and Fiona herself has also overcome addiction.

Her drug use began when she was heavily involved in the rave scene.

“There isn’t any drug that I haven’t tried,” said Fiona. “I’ve tried all the drugs. Crack, heroin, tablets, you name it – anything to take me away from myself. I hit many rock bottoms along the way.”

Fiona gave birth to her son when she was in the throes of her addiction, and said that at that point she was incapable of looking after herself, let alone her child.

She later went into a treatment centre and got into recovery, and on leaving the centre she began to rebuild her life and gained qualifications in community addiction studies, drugs counselling and intervention strategies, and counselling and psychotherapy.

“I know for me, anyway, I know I wouldn’t be here today, I would’ve taken my own life, without the support of the services in Tallaght,” Fiona said.

“There is a life beyond drugs. I thought my life was over when I gave up the drink and drugs, I thought that was it. But my life has really only started, it has only taken off.”

The videos are available on the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force website, tallaghtdatf.ie, as are details of local addiction services.

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