Well Done Michelle
Congratulations to the Family Support Network on the success of their 'Annual Service of Commemoration and Hope' on 1st February in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. One of our participants read her own poem, '7 Visits Home' - a work of insight, bravery and hope - at the event, and we wanted to mark this occasion by publishing the poem here. Michelle, we knew you before you were famous!
7 Visits Home
The first time I went home stoned
My mother ran me a bath
I just got sick on the toilet mat
She didn’t know what was wrong with me
But I was 15 and on drugs you see.
The second time I went home
She asked why I was doing this to her and cried
So I cried too, “I’m doing great now, ma” I lied
But sure what’s the point, they’re all dead wide
Just see what I can get and then run a mile
So I ask for a lend and phoned my dealer with a cheeky grin
Hah, no matter what I do they’ll always give in!
Not knowing when I leave my mother’s in tears
Cos now I’ve brought back all her fears
Every day and night she cries
Waiting for that call to say I’ve died.
The third time I went home my sister wouldn’t let me in
But cried looking at me I’d gone so thin.
My brother called the Guards. I know for him that was hard
But I couldn’t blame them, they’d had enough
Me coming and going, robbing their stuff.
So now that’s it, they’ve given up.
The fourth time I went home, feeling all alone
Passing the houses all nice and cosy
Families all together having their dinner
I sit in the cold having a nosey
The streets are empty, no one out, not a sinner
They all start to leave with a hug and a kiss
I sit with tears, cos that’s what I really miss
How’s my family doing, I start to wonder
Do they think about me when it’s lightning and thunder?
Sleeping in a doorway waiting for a fix
But then why should they when all I ever did was leave my mother in bits.
So many years worried where I was
And I didn’t give a shit, I was me own boss.
14 long years living here, there, everywhere.
How did it take so long to see what I lost.
The fifth time I went home I was clean
But my fella rang
And the doubt in her eyes I didn’t want to be seen
And I was doing well, two months clean
But here I go again, back on the streets without a bean
Thinking of my family who for me would always care
Even after all the hurt and pain I caused
And all I could do was live in shame
Any reason to stay on drugs ‘play the blame game’.
The sixth time she visited me in hospital
My fella had left me black and blue
So she took me home – what else could she do?
I caused nothing but pain and misery
But was too stoned to see.
A whole family was falling apart
And all because I was breaking their hearts
What can they do? How can they help?
When right now all you care about is yourself.
You never stop for a second to think how they felt.
The seventh time I went home she hugged me tightly
Cos many times I’d sworn I was clean
But to me it was only a dream.
Now I know dreams do come true and when I’ve finished reading this, you will too!
Cos I’m doing great now – yes, I’m one of the few.
You see, starting SAOL changed my life in ways I never knew
I’ve learned how to forgive and be forgiven
And how the drug changed every part of the life I was living
Family, friends, housing and health
All these I’d forgotten about but now I know my health is my wealth
And living life to the fullest with my family all around me
This is the happiest in my life I’ve ever felt.