Getting a second chance at life

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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.

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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.