Getting a second chance at life

4095
Mike Duggan at the launch of the Novas Initiative Annual Report in Limerick. Photo: Cian Reinhardt
Mike Duggan at the launch of the Novas Initiative Annual Report in Limerick. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

MIKE DUGGAN hit rock bottom when he found himself sleeping rough on a riverbank after moving out of his apartment.

The former block-layer became homeless after his landlord told him the lease on his apartment was not being renewed, and the property would be put up for sale.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

The 32-year-old admitted he had recreationally snorted cocaine on nights out, but his habit spiralled out of control when he found himself without a home.

“I was sleeping on people’s couches, and my drinking and drug use escalated. People got sick of me and I burnt my bridges with everybody,” he said.

He tried hostels but found them to be a haven for other drug users: “To be honest, the problem I had would have escalated if I stayed there longer.”

With no job, family, and no home, he contemplated suicide, many times.

“I was crying my eyes, I didn’t want to die, but I thought it was the only option.”

Last year, as he lit a fire to keep himself warm on the banks of the river, he decided to seek help.

“Collecting firewood gave me a drive to survive. It was the spark I needed. I had hit rock bottom and I decided I wanted to get myself out of this.”

Novas helped secure accommodation and a place on a drug treatment programme. With their support, he found full-time employment and has renewed his relationship with his children. “I have been given a second chance at life and I’ve taken it with both hands,” he said.