My Story

“Growing up before I ever took a drink or a drug myself my life was already affected by addiction. All of the men in my family dad, uncles, cousins were all addicts in one form or another. I started to drink myself as young as five or six; my granddad would use me as an excuse to go to the pub, saying he was taking me fishing or to the park. When I was nine my mother died suddenly. She was the only one who disciplined us and then in the care of my father, we were able to do whatever we wanted. By the time I was eleven I was a daily drinker and user.

I began to experiment with drugs by collecting all of the joint ends and making myself a joint. There was lots of strong medication about the house which I began to experiment with. This resulted in me overdosing. One story I’ve been told is I slept once for three days after taking painkillers. It was sometime after this I went for treatment for the first time in Aislinn house. I remember arriving there and being only seven stone. Looking back now I must have been in a very bad way because they kept me there for nine weeks instead of the usual six. My time there went okay but I never had any intention of giving up anything as I was still having fun using.

After I was thrown out of home, I came into contact with MTAS Day Assessment and Treatment Service and Cara Lodge. The counselling and support I received there was great. I really enjoyed my time in Cara Lodge. I was very anxious going there to begin with. Being here was the first time I had ever realistically thought about giving up drink and drugs. When the fog began to clear and I was able to think and function properly without the aid of a substance, the guilt and shame set in and the thoughts of what I put my family and others around me through was a heavy burden to bear. During the time I spent here my family situation also improved. Having nowhere to go when I left a staff member temporarily fostered me and I spent a year living with him and his wife.

Cara Lodge has given me the chance to see that you can live a happy life without the aid of drugs and alcohol. I’ve been clean and sober for nearly five years and have a fabulous life. I returned to education gaining a degree in Youth and Community Work. I have also retuned to Cara Lodge as part of the team and I am very proud and happy to help others who may be in a similar position and show them that there is hope.”

My Story

“I first came to the YES centre in mid-2012. I attended for a few weeks and returned in mid 2014 to finish my FETAC course. I had no interest in school and left at fifteen straight after my junior certificate. When I heard about the YES centre through my probation officer I thought it was a good opportunity to try and get a leaving certificate equivalent.

I have been supported through every obstacle that has arisen since starting here. Recently I was temporarily homeless and the staff here supported me with getting an ID, finding temporary accommodation, and accompanied me to meetings to find accommodation. I have met new people and am on the journey to completing my FETAC course. I hope to move on to a health and fitness course after here.

I always had a keen interest in boxing but due to circumstances I wasn’t able to continue with it. Through the centre I have begun boxing again and have joined a local club.”

My Story

“I left school in December 2012 just before my leaving certificate. In 2013 I attended Cara Lodge Treatment Centre, through this I heard about the YES centre. I was really shy before coming here; straight away the staff and the boys made me feel at home. Everyone was really friendly and made an effort to talk to me.

In my interview I said that I had an interest in music before but no real interest anymore with singing or rapping myself. When I started I slowly got back into rapping and singing and attended music classes weekly.

Joe and Rory my music teacher’s work for a programme called ‘Music generation’. They got in contact with Bill Whelan the writer of the River Dance to come and watch me sing. Bill Whelan and his team came and watched me perform and requested I make a CD for them and they gave me great feedback.

Through the YES centre I have been given a previously unimaginable opportunity with my music and also with my FETAC studies.”


“I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks for what you have done for our son. He is like a different person these days and I am in no doubt that this is down to the support and encouragement that you have given him. He is really enjoying working with his colleagues and is thriving on the challenges of working in a busy kitchen. He has turned his life around and is like a new man.

You believed in him when he didn’t believe in himself and this has really shown him that he deserves a second chance. Like many young fellas out there he has made his fair share of mistakes but you showed him how to believe in himself and turn his life around, for this I will be forever grateful. For the first time in a long time we are looking forward to Christmas as a family.”