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Saol Project

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Saol Project

Mission Statement
Saol is a community project focused on improving the lives of women affected by addiction and poverty

Vision Statement
Saol is working towards transforming the way in which Ireland responds to addiction and poverty.

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Peer to Peer

This page is dedicated to the words and wisdom of our participants - written specifically to pass on ideas, thoughts and concerns to fellow travellers on the road to recovery - in the hope that their experience will inspire, warn and guide others. The writing below consists of stories and pieces of advice - many begin with a word of deterrence to any young person considering drug use and particularly, frequenting the Head Shops.

To all the young People out there

I would like to let you know that you are our future and people like me are depending on you to bring things to the next level.We have already lost too many young, old and talented people to drugs.Each and every one of us have something that we don’t like about ourselves – but who is perfect?Instead of always looking for the bad, let’s look for the good.It’s there, we just have to dig deep – some more than others!

But just let me say something – taking drugs is not the way – whether it’s heroin, slimming tablets, sleeping pills or anything that might catch your eye.Let’s fill that void with something positive and use this as stepping stones and then turn it in to a path.

If I just got through to one person then I’ve just achieved something I never thought I could do.

Just stop and think.

I started on heroin when I was...

I am 40 and I started on heroin when I was 20.I was working everyday and I was doing very well but I came home one day and my partner had heroin in a works and asked me if I wanted it.I said no.But then I took it.I was flying all night.It took me 4 weeks to take it again.Two weeks after, the girl I was working with moved away so every time I went home I felt down and then I would go out and buy a few lines and then got strung out on heroin.

I was always afraid of cocaine but I was glad I was on the (methadone) clinic before I tried it.It’s only been 2 years since I tried it and I hope it’s going to stop now.

Don’t get me wrong, but I am glad I have no kids.I would have loved to have one or two children, but it would kill me if they ever knew I was on drugs.I think that’s why I’m lucky I haven’t got a child.

I was on drugs when I was very young – as young as 12-13. I started smoking hash and drinking at the age of 13-15 and when I was 21 and had an 8 week old baby, I started on heroin. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my life. When I fell pregnant with my second son I had started on a methadone clinic and I was put on 40mls of methadone. I am 35 now and am still attending the drug clinic.

I wish all the young kids out there would stop and think of the consequences, even death at a very young age. The risks of diseases like Hep C and HIV and even AIDS. I pray that the young kids today have more cop on and sense than me when I was at that age and not acting to impress their mates like me.

For all the teenagers – your life is worth more than a lousy buzz.

You can have a great buzz without using any type of drug.And don’t buy anything from the head shops – the stuff is killing kids.

There are football clubs and other clubs and options for each age group – so please, use your brains and not your veins.

Try staying away from the head shops

Just stay doing what you were doing before the head shops happened.Just stay doing your football and stay going to school.

Be careful of the side effects of snow blow.It could make you very sick.You don’t know what you’re taking and it can be dangerous.You can do other things with your friends to have fun – cinema, football, PS3 or XBOX.

To all you young teenagers out there – DON’T take anything from the head shop.They are very addictive and will leave you with mental health issues.So with the blow – just say NO. Yo!

You could end up being very paranoid and angry.You will be very depressed and won’t know why.You will just sit around and cry.

Stick to your youth clubs - stick with friends that don’t put pressure on you to do the things you don’t want to do!

We see it all over the news.It affects our kids and we can buy it over the counter in every head shop.It’s called CET, wild snow powder.Just last week a teen of 17 years old was left in hospital fighting for her life after taking this new ‘legal’ drug.

Considered a legal drug, anyone can buy it which means that under age kids can easily buy it, some without even being asked for I.D.It causes dependency and actually is worse than taking cocaine; it ruins the health of your teeth; changes your mood; also changes your appearance.It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

But how can we stop it from happening?

All we can do is talk about this with our kids – show them the consequences of taking it and keep an eye on them.It’s bad enough worrying about all the drugs available on the streets and now we have to worry about head shops supplying this so called herbal drug.

I have to say that even as an addict I never tried it and I'm glad that I didn’t – especially after seeing all the kids dropping with fits all over the country.So take from somebody that thought she had taken everything!Stay away from it – you’re better off!

Drug Use – pitfalls and benefits

If I had known 15 years ago what I know now about drugs (mainly heroin) I would have not even tried it.At that time I had lost my father to cancer and had come home after living abroad.I was emotionally unstable and was offered heroin.I didn’t try it straight away but within a couple of days I said ‘yes’ as I thought a couple of lines would not get me addicted.

That feeling of numbness and the fact that all my bad feelings and upset melted away for the time it lasted was what brought me back for more.

Looking back, I was so naïve. After about 6 weeks I left the people who introduced me to heroin.I felt awful and went to the doctor who told me I was going through withdrawals.He told me I had to go to Trinity Court for help.Unfortunately, I moved to a flat where drug dealers lived upstairs.I became friends with them (they were a family) and I had a sense of belonging that I didn’t have with my own family.This was really the start of 10 years of absolute hell.

Before long I had to use more and more of the drug just to feel normal – never mind getting stoned.While I was friends with these people I had access to heroin 24/7.When my friend got clean – well, that was when the nightmare really began.I had to score on the street.I couldn’t believe the size of the bags – they were a lot smaller that what I was used to getting and sometimes the gear was crap.That was when I had to spend a lot of money just to keep my habit.

So really what I thought was benefiting me (the gear killing the pain) really was a false paradise – my problems and feelings were still there 15 years later.Those years I wasted I can’t get back – but I can change the future.So don’t be tempted – drugs solve nothing in the long run.

My Two Children

My children went through a lot when I was on drugs. They did not know I was on drugs.I started when their dad left, he broke our hearts.My eldest son had an idea I was on something but I eventually sat them down and told the two of them I was on the clinic.My son said to me, “I knew you were on something, but how did you do it – looking after the two of us?” Now the two of them have two great jobs and they hate drugs. I would like to tell other mothers that are on drugs to be open and honest with your children.

Memories of a Crack Addict

Approximately three years ago I quit crack cocaine – three years without taking the stuff! And then relapse…

As with many other years, Christmas was getting closer and closer without knowing where we would go for the day - and since we weren’t talking with our families any longer, we knew that we would probably be on our own.

We weren’t happy over it.We were alone on a day that people are meant to be with family members – partying – but that just wasn’t our case – not for me and not for him. Christmas day comes and it was really depressing for both of us but mostly for him since I kept receiving calls from my brothers and sisters.He didn’t receive even one text from his family and I guess that did hurt even if he didn’t want to show it…I felt so bad for him and also so angry about it.

We weren’t thinking about it until one day I saw someone that I hadn’t seen for a long time.This person told me to call him as soon as I got home – but once home, we both agreed not to call him – actually we put it to the back of our heads.Instead, we went to Tescos for the grocery shopping.But by the time we were finished we’d received a call saying that he was on the way to our flat.Since he was just around the corner with a mate of ours we did end up meeting him and accepting a surprise gift which happened to be crack cocaine.And honestly, by the look of it, I think it would be €100 worth of crack.

By the time we had finished smoking it I was on the phone asking to buy a €100 rock and obviously that fella gave it to me without a second thought.

That’s why he gave me the ‘treat’ in the first place because he knew that I would come back for more and more.It was meant to be only for Christmas time – it was meant to be our Christmas buzz but unfortunately it lasted longer than both of us planned.

At the beginning we were able to control it doing it just at the weekends until my thoughts started getting out of control – doing it nearly every night – calling the dealer at all sorts of times.It was mad.I remember one night I called him at 4:03:00am – it was very cold, so we jumped on the push bike with me sitting on the bar.We flew to him, scoring €150 worth of crack and after smoking that we went for more – we didn’t care as long as we got what we wanted.

As our habit grew I started to get scared, especially for him because his chest was in bits – mine too but not as much as him!As I am stronger than him – I’ve stronger will power than he has – when I say I’ve enough I mean it.So, naturally, rows between us started getting nearly like a ritual.We were always at it because I wanted him to open up his eyes and start looking at how that stuff was affecting our private lives … which was slowly falling apart.

Our relationship wasn’t the only thing falling apart – for me there was a lot more.I was losing more weight; my mind was spinning around – I was literally becoming a head-case over the lack of sleep.After all, I was smoking such a powerful drug.

I wanted us to get back to the same way we were – happy.I wanted him to stay or at least try to stay stronger, get stable again, but it didn’t happen that quickly!As any other woman that fights with their man, I used to cry in silence, hoping that this would stop when he’d get off the stuff.I would beg him to stop – sobbing inside.Then he would be back again and I would take the pipe with him and for that few hours after everything would be back to normal - until the next morning when I would start tormenting myself for it.

I would think about all the damage the stuff does; I’d start thinking about our liver and heart and I knew that if we kept it up it would be the end of our relationship.One day all this thinking about it made me reach the right conclusion…I was seriously ready to change and beat this nightmare, but this wasn’t his case.He would try to give it up for the first week, then he wanted to have his ‘last one’ and I did as always, believed him.So this time I let him do it without fighting because in my mind I’d my plan to sit him down first thing in the morning and sort this problem once and for all.

The night flew by and the next day was there but I had to leave to go to work, so I decided to wait until I came back home after work and then talk about this problem.Once I was back home I’d lots of things to say – that I was sick of that kind of life, sick of the fight over crack and I told him that if he wanted to continue to do it, that if he kept doing it, I’d no other choice but to tell him to leave – even if it would break my heart I could not afford to lose everything I’d achieved so far.

After that conversation we both stopped it at the same time.Now it’s been 2 weeks since the last time we touched it and everything is slowly coming back the way it was.I know it’s too early to say anything but deep inside I know that we can make things work and beat this.

From my own experience my body didn’t feel any cravings.As I’ve already said that it’s the mind, in the beginning, that can be all over the place.This is manageable enough but it’s when we used to go to sleep that the mind started to kick off with mad and nearly insane dreams related to the drugs in question.Many mornings you’d wake up in the horrors, all obsessed over a stupid dream.And I wasn’t the only one that had this issue because it was happening to him as well.

Fortunately things are getting back to normal for both of us and looking back at this experience, next time I will make sure not to make the same mistake again – no matter what is going on in my life.

Obviously there are still a lot of issues to be dealt with but I am sure that with my motivation, stability is coming back again.And with the support of the SAOL Project, the clinic and my counsellor (who I see twice a week) I can do this, because at this point in my life, this is all I want – security and peace!

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