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'My mother was also an addict and as a child I was on the streets of Cork with her'

Coolmine Therapeutic community helped 1,000 people with addiction problems last year – Ann Marie Taylor was one of those people.

My mother was also an addict and as a child I was used to being with her on the streets of Cork.

ANN MARIE TAYLOR describes how she was addicted to drink and drugs since the age of 13, in a recent interview with TheJournal.ie.

Speaking about her upbringing, she said: “It wasn’t a happy home and there was a lot of violence. When I left home I also found myself in violent relationships.

She is one of 1,000 people with addiction problems that were helped by Coolmine Therapeutic community last year.

“Two years ago I ended up in the hospital in Cork after suffering a severe beating when I was pregnant,” she continued.

“When I was there I was offered a place in Coolmine.

I arrived at Ashleigh House still covered in cuts and bruises from the beating and I didn’t know if my child was going to survive.

“The therapy forced me to take on the issues that were causing the problems in my life. I couldn’t use the excuse of being pregnant or violence in my past. I had to tackle the problems.”

Taylor described how her son Jayden was born in Ashleigh House and how the staff came with her to court when he was being taken into care and that the judge agreed she could keep him.

She is now clean 18 months and living with her youngest son Jayden and her eldest child who is 14.

Today I am still working on getting my life together and my family back.

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She meets up with the people she lived with in Ashleigh House and says she knows the door is always open to her to come back for help or advice.

Option of drug environment or sleeping rough

Coolmine Therapeutic Community  is a service that helps people to overcome addiction, and it assisted over 1,000 people last year.

Coolmines Ashley House Childcare Facility is the only mother-and-child care facility in Ireland – it cares for babies and children, while mothers receive treatment.

It helped 63 women and supported 40 mothers last year –  19 mothers and their children were admitted to full-time residential treatment.

Ann Marie said, “The creche made it possible for me to be with my baby while sorting out my addiction.”

The centre is now finding that when mothers complete training, they don’t have adequate housing –  63% of mothers found themselves homeless when they had completed their treatment last year.

Chief Executive of Coolmine, Pauline McKeown said:

A key issue for those who finish treatment is that they return to a drug taking environment as the alternative is sleeping rough.

“There’s a lack of adequate, safe housing for women after treatment.”

Generational cycle

McKeown said that, “Many of our clients are the second if not third generation of their families with addiction problems.

We need to break the generational cycle of addiction in Ireland.

The centre carried out a survey which found that 4 out of 5 of its clients grew up in homes where their parents were addicts. McKeown said:

“They felt isolation, loneliness, fear and had a deep mistrust for social workers.”

Matt Cooper from Today FM launched Coolmines annual report for 2013, speaking at the event, he said, “We want a society where people take care of each other.

People often ask me who was the most impressive person I ever interviewed and I tell them it’s people whose names nobody knows.

“People who have made the choice to overcome addiction and work on themselves to get on with their life. They are the unsung heros of Ireland. ”

Read: ‘I never thought that after 20 years addicted to drugs and alcohol I’d be graduating and drug free’>

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