Image of Naomi that says Naomi in her own words

I have five kids, and when myself and their father finished several years ago, I was struggling with the five of them on my own. We lost the house and I started drinking to cope.

My kids ended up living down with my da, but he’s an alcoholic too, and eventually became homeless as well. My ex got full custody of the kids, and I don’t see them at all anymore, which is really difficult. I think I spent four months solidly crying over the loss of my kids.

I think I spent four months solidly crying over the loss of my kids.

 

At the moment, I have to drink in the morning, I need it straight away.  I’m on six bottles of wine a day, and more if I get vodka. I cleaned the hostel room this morning and there were about twenty bottles.

I’m not from Dublin city centre, so I didn’t really know about Merchants Quay before I became homeless. But once I was on the streets, I was in town all the time, and able to go into them more. I’m in a hostel at the moment, which Merchants Quay helped me get into. I love the kitchen area and chatting to the staff there, they’re really nice.

The fact that I’m addicted to alcohol makes it difficult for me to find a place sometimes that will allow drink in. I’ve slept on the streets an awful lot, in doorways, everywhere. It’s hard, especially when you’re on your own and as a woman, it’s frightening. Nobody wants to sleep on the street, but sometimes it’s the only option. I obviously want to stop drinking, but you can’t just stop overnight, and it’s difficult to do when your circumstances haven’t changed.

I’ve slept on the streets an awful lot, in doorways, everywhere. It’s hard, especially when you’re on your own and as a woman, it’s frightening.

 

The hostel is mostly fellas; there’s only three girls in it. It’s not too bad, but I would feel safer if I was with more women. Me and the other two girls have our rooms away from the fellas, at least.

I was talking to a fella that came into the hostel last night and he said to me “Oh, there’s girls here as well?” and I said yeah, and he said, “Are there couples?” and I said “no”. He replied, “That’s disgraceful, because if there’s girls here, the men will want to get with them, even if they’re with somebody.” He didn’t feel it was safe at all for women to be there.

I definitely feel judged as a homeless woman, and as a woman who drinks. I feel like everybody judges every homeless person, even if they’re homeless themselves. There’s a lot of prejudice even within the homeless community. There’s jealousy, and there’s a need to feel like you’re not as bad, or as easy to look down on as the next person.

If there was a women’s drop-in service, I would definitely use it. It’d be good to have a place to go in and talk things through and feel safe. I don’t really access the services too much, as it is.

If there was a women’s drop-in service, I would definitely use it. It’d be good to have a place to go in and talk things through and feel safe.

 

Sometimes I spend time with my da, because he’s in my situation, homeless and addicted to alcohol. I’m kind of a bit stuck on my own at the moment, so I’ll have a chat with anyone. I’ve filled out the forms to get into treatment, I just really want to stop drinking, you know? You lose so much time to addiction, but I’ve got a lot to live for, and I would really love help.

Thank you Naomi for sharing your story with us.

Sadly, Naomi is one of many women struggling with homelessness and addiction in Ireland. The shame and stigma around their situation means they don’t reach out for help until their life becomes unmanageable. Research shows that for women to have the best chance of healing from the trauma of homelessness and addiction, they need the safety and security of a female-only space.

Today, if you’re kind enough to give, you can help build that safe haven for vulnerable women like Naomi. Please Donate Now if you can.

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