Niall was a resident of Peter McVerry Trust’s residential community detox service, based in north County Dublin. The facility differs from other detox services as it includes a farm on its six-acre site, which residents work on as part of their therapy.
“I had experience in other detox centres before and they were all sort of like hospital settings, but this programme was a different experience. It’s just a really relaxed vibe as soon as you get there. There was always something to be doing. The programme is designed so you’re kept busy throughout the day and you’re not left with too much time for yourself,” says Niall.
“It has a real community feel to it. Even going in there, you’d go in, sit down and talk to your key worker. You could be talking about anything, whatever is going on for you that day, and then you’d be given a few questions to write that night just to get a better understanding of what’s going on for you at that time.”
Niall was detoxing from Methadone and entered the six-week programme in 2017. He enjoyed the physical aspect of the therapy, which included working with the animals and in the polytunnels.
“It was great to be out in the fresh air, being out with the animals and feeding them and actually just doing something for something else. I would have found working with the plants in the polytunnels a bit more relaxing because it wasn’t as strenuous and it was just a bit more relaxed.”
Following his detox, Niall moved on to one of Peter McVerry Trust’s drug-free housing service. He has since secured his own private rental accommodation, but Niall says the experience of living in drug-free housing was key to his recovery.
“Living in the drug-free housing was great. Just to have that support there in the house. Or when you come home after having a bad day, there was always someone there. When you’re at your lowest, there’s someone there. You’re there to have the laugh as well. That is something that I really missed through my years of addiction – having a proper laugh and not taking things too seriously and being able to laugh and joke. That’s one thing I’ve done over the last few months I’ve had quite a lot of giggles,” he says.
“I’m very proud of myself and what I’ve achieved so far, and what I want to achieve in the future and actually believing that I can do it.”