Service Users Stories

“The guidance and strength passed over from Chrysalis have shaped me into the person I stand as now”
“My recovery will always be an ongoing process, and while I know people will say ‘it’s down to you’ I would not be where I am now without the amazing support from Chrysalis”

Todd’s Story

“My name is Todd and I have been a service user of Chrysalis since 2019. For years people have pushed me to join a service to help with my drug addiction, but the more I was pushed the more anger I felt about the whole situation. Growing up I witnessed my father fall into the struggle of alcoholism. Reflecting one day on my upbringing, I realised I needed to change the cycle and not have my own children experience what I had to with my own father. This motivation brought me to many different services, but I found support like no other in Chrysalis Community Drug Project.

The services I received in Chrysalis involved me with one-to-one counselling and the peer led aftercare groups on a weekly basis. Just like everyone else who deals with addiction, my journey to recovery was not linear. At the two-month mark of my journey to becoming clean and recovery, I left Chrysalis. I did not expect someone to check up on me, because in most services they usually don’t follow up. I was surprised and blessed with the counselor I was assigned with, because even after leaving Chrysalis I had continuous support from them. Without that one person looking out for me and checking in daily, I don’t know where I would be now.

Chrysalis has helped me gain so much for myself, their support and guidance gave me my life back. The changes brought into my life from the aid of the organisation have allowed me to do things I couldn’t enjoy before recovery. Christmas 2021 was the first Christmas I felt present with my family. The quality time I had with my own children is the goal I first set when walking through the doors of Chrysalis. The service has also helped me with other personal goals, like building up my confidence. Before attending the group meetings, and even for the first while in the sessions, I could not talk in any sort of crowd. My self-confidence was extremely low and my ability to talk was heavily affected by that. Over time, I was pushed by my counsellor to open to the group. The support I received from them has been tremendous for my overall confidence. Even today, I can talk to the small groups openly and have a better understanding of choosing my words when I speak.

I have learned so many ways to better myself and my life that I only want to encourage others who are like me. My brother and I experienced the same childhood, seeing our father struggle with alcoholism. I can’t keep pushing my brother towards recovery, because like me it doesn’t help. While it is hard not seeing my brother, I can only lead by example and put my recovery first as I have learned through Chrysalis.

While I no longer need the one-to-one counselling session, I still reach my personal goals through the peer led aftercare groups. What I love most about these groups is how much respect is given and received, and how confidentiality is the number one priority. It is because of that that I felt at ease to open up about my story and to relive what was going on for me at the time. I religiously attend the meetings on a Thursday evening and always look forward to them. I now view the groups as my source of counselling, to let off what is on my chest and to be an active listener for others like me.

From starting my recovery in May 2019 and continuing the service of Chrysalis, I am only growing as a person. Being 38 months clean, I have beaten the cycle of addiction and see myself as the father I always wanted to be for my children. I have my own job, my own hobbies like fishing, and I am smashing my personal goals, such as managing a football team. I can say whole-heartedly that my life has changed for the better and my confidence is building up and up with me. My recovery will always be an on-going process, and while I know people will say ‘it’s down to you’, I would not be where I am without the amazing support from Chrysalis.”

Eimear’s Story

“My name is Eimear and I have been attending Chrysalis over the past 13 and ½ years. When I was first introduced to Chrysalis, I was still actively using drugs, but I was still welcomed in to begin my recovery. After dealing with addiction for 35 years, I was told of Chrysalis and wanted to make a change.

I felt lost and confused and when walking through the doors for the first time, I was very relucent to begin treatment. I was first introduced to my counsellor, who I cannot thank enough for the work he put in with me. I arrived feeling heavy anger and as if I couldn’t trust anyone. The first 12 months into my recovery were the toughest ones by far. I was still in my addiction and held a lot of emotions. It was difficult transitioning from isolating myself to opening to the counselor as well as strangers in the peer support groups. Seeing it in myself and others around me, Chrysalis helped me come out of my shell. They brought me back into reality, and initially I was very nervous because I never knew how to deal with responsibility before. But the guidance and strength passed over from Chrysalis have shaped me into the person I stand as now. I don’t know where I would be without them.

I was able to easily find a routine, as I made it a priority early in to attend the Tuesday and Thursday peer support groups. Before COVID-19, these group meetings were more than just talks with people experiencing similar struggles. These meetings began with such a welcoming presence and held strongly to having that community spirit. Attending these meetings gave me guidance and support I have never received before. They pushed my motivation, along with my counsellor, to go forward with my treatment and to progress into my recovery from my addiction. Another aspect that stuck out to me was the element of respect. Respect for me is only given when I feel it’s given to me, so that has always been a key element for me throughout my journey. Even at the beginning of my treatment, I was still active and yet I held the same respect as a person who was clean. The non-judgementalism of Chrysalis allows for such an open and honest space. This is seen right through all the staff and service users. However, it wasn’t until I became clean myself that I could see life from a whole new perspective. I slowly came out of my shell and could see how others began too as well. The rule of ‘what’s aid here stays here’ is of the upmost regard and importance for all service users and staff, which is how the respect level is so successful.

Through Chrysalis I was given a new lifeline, the work put in from this organisation has allowed me to become not only clean from drug use, but progress massive leaps into my recovery. So much so that I am on the road to giving back the knowledge I have learned. A great emphasis in this service is feeding on the knowledge of the people who come behind you. We have all felt the dread of the assessments and the first meetings and sessions, so we can all empathize with newcomers. I have never heard of someone though come into Chrysalis and not feel welcomed, in a safe and peaceful environment, to let go and relief of what is on their minds. I would even recommend Chrysalis to my worst enemy.

Everyone’s process of recovery is different, but we are not treated differently because of it. We have all learned to take one day at a time and are taught healthy coping mechanisms. The stable and calm environment of Chrysalis opens the room to have honest and real conversations between people, whether that’s in the one-to-one counselling sessions or in the peer support meetings. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to turn my life around, which is made possible from the help and guidance I received from Chrysalis. This has motivated me to give back to the community, and I only ever want to spread the word of the work done by Chrysalis for the vulnerable people in the community. I have the upmost respect for those a part of Chrysalis and have found my voice and the ability to be comfortable in my own skin. Recovery is always an on-going process, but I hold it to such importance and always know that the evergreen support of Chrysalis is standing no matter how long I have been in recovery.”

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.”