‘I would have done anything for a drink. Anything.’

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

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If you want an example of how devastating the horror of addiction can be, and how extraordinary can be the stories of those who emerge from addiction, Evelyn O’Rourke’s report for Today with Sean O’Rourke painted most powerful picture.

Evelyn visited the Cuan Mhuire treatment centre in Athy, County Kildare, the original home of the Cuan Mhuire charity, founded 50 years ago this year, in 1966. Its founder, a young nun called Sister Consilio, has overseen an incredible growth in the charity over the last five decades, which now boasts locations all over the country offering 500 treatment beds

Amongst those Evelyn met was a young woman called Linda, whose university education came to an abrupt halt as a result of her addiction to alcohol.

“At 17 I started drinking. I went like a duck to water to it. I went to my first treatment when I was 20.”

Linda was studying science in college but alcohol took over her life. She sought treatment on several occasions, but by her own admission, for the wrong reasons, perhaps because she was instructed to do so by court or trying to get a driving ban overturned, rather than approaching rehabilitation purely for herself.

The low point came two years ago, when she had been living on the streets for eight months.

“I remember Christmas Eve of 2014, my brothers passing me out on the street and just walking over me. They just had enough. They haven’t spoken to me for two years before that. That was the turning point for me. That I needed to do this for myself.”

It was a line that absolutely stunned reporter, Evelyn O’Rourke, who asked whether Linda though her brothers recognised her. They did, she she said, and she recognised them as well.

“I would have lied, I would have stolen often, I would have crashed my brother’s car. I’d have robbed from my mother, when she was sick in hospital. I’d have done anything for a drink, to be honest . Anything.”

That episode at the end of 2014 was clear turning point for Linda, and she entered Cuan Mhuire in January, 2015. .

Later in the programme, Sean spoke to Sister Consilio herself, to looked back on those 50 years. He also received a huge text response, some of which came from former residents at Cuan Mhuire, thanking her for her work.

To hear the interview in full from Today with Sean O’Rourke, click here.

© The Listener 2016

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