Recovery; a journey to remember


Recovery can be a difficult task for many graduates and is one of the most demanding, elementary and essential parts of sobriety on the journey to rehabilitation. The initial reintroduction of those individuals to regular life can bring about certain addictive urges that can affect their life in various levels of potency.

In the words of our current Community Employment participant:

"Addiction is a dependence on a substance or behaviour. For me, addiction is when my mind becomes completely focused on using and find the ways and means of getting it. It didn't matter what the substance was or if it was behaviour like gambling. The obsession and compulsion were like coping mechanisms. It didn't matter how I felt, what my circumstance was or what the consequences were; all I cared about was the next drink, drug or whatever to "get me out of my head". Going around like that with my head in the sand robbed me of so much. Things I liked doing, important people I had in my life, opportunities, my peace of mind. Coming into recovery, I got to rediscover hobbies and past times that I hadn't done in years, rebuild relationships I taught I had destroyed and found a plan and a purpose for my life." Cormac

This initial period of sobriety is characterised by a transition period where the graduates find it difficult to break the old routine they lived by. An essential aspect of this period is transitional housing, which allows the graduate to form these habits away from their usual surroundings as they face temptations daily. For example, the graduates report that only they contact the individuals who used to sell them the substance, or those they have used the substance with. This results in a level of burden and temptation that is hard to cope with daily. That is why more extended programs that offer transitional housing facilities result in fewer relapse cases. 

Individuals in transitional housing can start their life post-rehab in a new environment. Transitional facilities provide a positive mind-set in an environment where they do not identify with addiction but as a "blank canvas" to reinforce their "new" habits and lifestyle. This creates momentum, which is an essential aspect of recovery.

Another aspect of Transitional Housing in addiction is the sense of community. As part of the 12 step program, one must repair the relationships with the people their addiction has harmed, this can be a long process that sometimes requires months of counselling to improve them. This housing model provides the student with an environment of acceptance and understanding as they are not judged or discriminated against their past shortcomings and "selfish behaviours". In turn, they are amongst individuals that are understanding and have the same goal.

While on the program, our students often visit their home/ hometown/ neighbourhood or an environment that contributed to their addiction. That environment is often filled with conflict that can interfere or even disrupt their journey to sobriety. In that case, a certain level of accommodation away from their previous environment is required.

“You can’t get well in the place you got sick”

Another aspect to recovery to recovery, as reported by our successful graduates, is their return to employment. The process of work and being a contributing member of the community brings about a level of satisfaction and achievement that aids recovery and becomes an important outlet to invest time and effort into things that grow and develop. It also provides a level of pride that is important as the graduates continue with their lives.

Tiglin runs several Community Employment programs that provide their graduates with this outlet, this has given opportunities to many graduates throughout the years.

A recent example of this is our recent Community Employment participant Kieran, who has secured private accommodation a few weeks ago and has moved on to full-time employment.

"Being part of the Community Employment allowed me to continue to learn to grow from completing the Tiglin program. The Employment scheme itself gave me a positive work attitude but also an attitude change in myself. Community Employment came with great opportunities to work alongside people going through the same sort of stuff I did. But, in the end, you can't change the past. Still, you can learn from it, and that's what I did. I helped so many others get to where I am now; the CE program comes with loads of benefits, including training, support, life skills and lessons. Accountability is one of the critical factors in the CE program as to how can you help others if you can't help yourself- Self-care is knowing the difference. Part of my job role was to work in a coffee shop as part of a Barista training- that training has allowed me to gain a full-time employment role in a cafe in the city centre". Kieran

 Alongside Kieran, numerous examples prove that life beyond addiction is possible. After all, there are so many Tiglin graduates to look up and to follow in their footsteps. One of Tiglin's Managers at Tiglin Jessica, who has, after a life of addiction, managed to turn the corner and now is helping the homeless by way of her work at the Tiglin- No Bucks outreach service with Tiglin in Dublin City Centre. Jessica went from being an inmate in Mount Joy prison to being a respectable community member with a great job and a great family and now helping those who need it the most to achieve the same. She uses her life experiences and knowledge she has gathered throughout her journey and has created a partnership with a network of organisations throughout Dublin to achieve this.

’’This is who I am; this is who I've always been. Drugs changed me, and they gave me this exterior piece that I had to pretend to be something that I wasn't’’. Jessica Wade via The Ryan Tubirdy Show

September is an exceptional month for us here at Tiglin. It's a time of the year to reflect. We think it is important to remember the journey, and we find it very appropriate to use the month of September to utilise the knowledge from our own journeys and pass it on to those taking their first steps.

"Recovery Month is so important because it helps make a recovery visible to people and show the still suffering addict there is a way out. There's still a stigma around addiction, and some people suffer in silence, afraid to speak out about it. The disease of addiction thrives in isolation, and when we open the platform for people to come out and talk about it and seek help, we can help to remove the shame associated with it.

I feel it is important for us to remember where we came from, especially with addiction. Addiction is never cured; it's just in remission. If you stop doing the right things and keeping yourself in check, the disease of addiction can resurface." Cormac

TIGLIN COLUMN, September 11th, 2021