Rachel’s Story

“My name is Rachel, I am 56 years old and due to the help of Chrysalis, I am one year clean from my drug addiction. While I am Irish, I previously lived in England during my addiction. Over there, I was very much isolated and only had the company of my ex-partner and my daughter. The toxicity of the house pushed me to want to be clean. I finally had the chance to move back to Ireland, and through the aid of Chrysalis I began my journey of recovery.

First arriving to Ireland, I lived in homeless accommodation. It was through my nephew, who has been 18 years clean, that introduced me to Chrysalis and their counsellors. I knew I always had the ability to become clean, I am a very strong-minded person. However, I needed guidance to be more than clean, I wanted to recover from my addiction.

I began linking in with my counsellor and Chrysalis, as well as my day programme during the heavy lockdown in 2021. My recovery did not start off ideally, as I am a more active person, especially in terms of my recovery. All my one-to-one counselling sessions and meetings had to take place over Zoom. I did not mind this as much, but the accommodation I had in the hostels was not suited for this. At the
time, I shared a room with 4 other younger girls, who were heavily active in their substance use. Physically, the interruptions of the loudness from the roommates were really disruptive for my meetings, and I even struggled to sleep at night. Mentally, surrounding myself with these girls did not aid me in any way with my recovery, they only had me at a standstill. It was only through the dedication and hard work of my counsellor who was able to find a solution to this problem, moving me to my own room in a hostel in Maple House. This change gave me such benefit, as I had my own space for my meetings, and I was able to focus on myself and be progressive in my treatment. This was one of the first lessons I needed to learn in order to succeed in recovering: to cut our people/places/things that are negative for me, especially in relation to substance use.

I had to quickly apply this lesson with my partner at the time and my daughter. They were both active in substance misuse and for my recovery, I had to be selfish and focus on me. With my daughter, I brought her with me to Ireland around Christmas 2020. However, I learned quickly I needed to place boundaries for myself in order to keep myself safe and on track with treatment. Looking at how I have progressed now, my daughter has said to me that she has ‘never seen me so happy.’ I was able to reassure her that to change is never too late. I know that the motivation she is finding now to get clean is from seeing how far I have grown, and I am so full at the thought of being her inspiration to recover. She is now 4 weeks on methadone, which is a key step in the right direction. My wish is to guide her, with the right services in place as well, towards recovery just like Chrysalis done for me.

Chrysalis has given me a second chance in life, of a higher quality too. The advocacy I have gained in order to reach opportunities I did not have is amazing. I have enrolled in a course for people with dyslexia, as a steppingstone into the course I want; being to learn about addictions and social care. I know I have the will, but I needed the helping hand of Chrysalis to push me forward with treatment. I am also so blessed to see myself rent my own apartment, showing how far I have come from arriving in Ireland only a year ago and having to share a room in a hostel. The respect and motivation Chrysalis gave me has pushed me to be clean and active in my recovery. I also enjoyed and still attend the weekly meetings, to reflect on my own struggles and to actively listen to someone else. I have come to the stage of my recovery where I want to give back and pass on the knowledge that I received on my first arrival. A key learning from Chrysalis is structure, and how having a routine can make me more stable and willing to push through each and every day. We know as addicts taking one day at a time, and in only a year I would not have believed I would be standing in the position I am at now.

I have recommended Chrysalis to my daughter, and I have full trust and faith that she will come out of treatment better than ever. Like me, I know she will not feel alone, she will feel acceptance, recover patience, be heard, and respected as the individual she is. I can only advise her to go to the meetings and to really dive into becoming clean, and to progress her life how she wants to live it. Chrysalis has been the only form of treatment I have received from my drug addiction, and I would not have changed a thing, because it has pushed me to be the best version of myself as I stand as today.”