A Light for Kevin on a Long and Dark Road

 

merchants quay ireland

Kevin struggled with addiction for years, during those years fighting his demons, mourning the passing of friends and spending time in prison one constant remained: Merchants Quay.

Kevin could easily blame his years of heroin abuse on a childhood that most of us would have trouble imagining. Instead he sums up his addiction by saying, “It was my own doing. I brought it on myself.”

By his own admission Kevin didn’t start into “heavy drugs” until he was in his 20’s. “Everybody told me the ups of heroin, but they never tell you what it’s like when you can’t have it. The sickness, the vomiting. I was caught – I got rolled up in it. All I knew was to feed my habit.”

He calls the decade and a half of heroin abuse his “dark road.” During that time, Kevin was shot and stabbed and sent to prison. He grieved for lost friends, remembering one “they found in a flat complex on the stairs with nowhere to go, he just fell asleep there and died.”

Kevin even tried to end his own life. “I couldn’t see a way out, do you know what I mean? I didn’t want the life I had.” But as he struggled through 13 long years, one constant remained: Merchants Quay.

Patient presence

“I knew MQI was here,” he recalls, “but at first I wouldn’t come in. Now I’m sorry I waited so long.”

Kevin would come to avail of virtually every service you make possible – including needle exchange, meals, counselling and training – services all available at the Riverbank Open Access Centre.

“To come here at half seven in the morning, the lads sleeping out on the streets can’t wait for that time. I know because I used to be on the streets myself, with a sleeping bag wrapped around me.”

Today Kevin is in a solid relationship and has a close bond with his girlfriend’s son. “I love him like he was my own lad. I never had that before. He’s in college, with nine A’s in his exams. The thought of letting him down, I wouldn’t turn to drugs again.” In fact, Kevin’s goal is to take the last step of his journey and come off his methadone replacement treatment.

Where will his drug-free life begin?

At MQI, thanks to you.