The future looks bright for Trish and her daughter
8 September 2021
Trish, a mother of one in her 50s, is looking forward to a new phase of her life after some traumatic years which saw her become homeless. She has now found a home that she loves, has been reunited with her daughter, and is planning a return to study.
After spending a number of months in emergency accommodation in Osterley Lodge and one year in COPE Galway Community Housing, following a stint in rehab, Trish looks back at this challenging time with a sense of determination that she will never be in that situation again.
Trish found herself homeless after a long-term battle with alcohol resulted in an admission to rehab. A single parent, Trish’s struggle with alcohol began in her teens, following a traumatic event. “I’ve always been a drinker, but it had begun to get worse in the last two years of drinking. At the time, a couple of years back, my daughter was living with me and I was drinking heavily. I had social workers knocking on the door and I couldn’t cope. My parents arrived at the same time as the Guards to take my daughter, because I wouldn’t answer the phone or the door to the social worker. That’s when I went into rehab.”
Following a successful stint in rehab, Trish found that when she had completed her treatment, she had nowhere to go. The house she had been renting was being sold, and she had not paid rent in several months. “My social worker picked me up from rehab and dropped me at Athenry train station and that was it – I had nowhere to go from there. It was just horrific.”
Having spent several months at COPE Galway’s Osterley Lodge, Trish moved into a B&B and following that, was placed in a house in Knocknacarra under the COPE Galway Community Housing Programme.
“When I was shown the room, I just started crying; I was so relieved,” she says.
Following a year living in this property, Trish searched for weeks on the property-listing website Daft.ie, and managed to secure a much sought-after property. “I was sending dozens of emails on Daft. I had said in my email that I just wanted a new start for me and my daughter and because of that, my current landlord gave me this place. There had been over 200 people looking at it, but he gave it to me. I was so grateful.”
Life has been continually improving for Trish in the three years since she left rehab. She has overcome her addiction, and has found a home for both her and her daughter. With some help from her COPE Galway key worker, she has been working to make life for her and her daughter as secure as possible.
“I would have kept drinking and I would be dead at this stage, were it not for rehab and COPE Galway. It would have been that simple. I would have drank myself to death. I never slept one night on the streets thanks to COPE Galway. They gave me a structure, and I developed a routine. They also gave me access to an addiction counsellor. It really helped in rehab that I was able to ask for help. When I was in Osterley Lodge, and in the B&Bs, I was able to ask for help too. Not that I ever wanted much; what I wanted at the time was to prove to everyone I could do it on my own, but I knew I couldn’t. I needed the support. My key worker in COPE Galway Community Housing, her support and encouragement has just been unbelievable.
“I know if I drink again, I’ll never see my daughter, and I just couldn’t again put her, my parents and my brother through what I put them through. When I went into rehab and was with COPE Galway, I took all the steps that were suggested.
“I really wanted to start a new life, and I kept myself busy – that’s how I managed. And really, I could not have done it at all without my daughter’s love. Things are an awful lot better now. I’ll do whatever I can.”
While the support was invaluable at a time when she had no one else to turn to, Trish also believes that
the change wouldn’t have been possible without her desire to make improvements to her own life and that of her daughter’s, and the willingness and strength to take the steps to achieve that.
It’s been one year since Trish used COPE Galway services and the future is looking bright. She is beginning an accountancy course in September, and she has been spending an increasing amount of time in her home with her daughter.
“My hope for the future now is that I get a job; I want a career for myself. And for my daughter, I wish that she does alright for herself, that she knows that she can trust me, and that she’s happy.”