Catchy title, huh? Managed to find an internet cafe (yes they still exist), so thought I’d spew my cerebral phlegm at the world one more time while I have the chance.
As many of my friends know I did a stint in Cuan Mhuire’s maltreatment centre last summer, staying on a while longer to do what I thought was valued work only to have them change their tune and I had to walk. Luckily I managed to wrangle a place in their Dublin based halfway house, Teach Mhuire, for a few months. A good place, if not for the constant adding on of group therapy sessions at night when one actually has shit to do, I cracked, and had a relapse. Fun. I refused their offer to return to the nuns for another 3 month stint, and tried other avenues to pull myself back up. They didn’t really work. I decided to throw in the towel and a friend drove me to Galway’s Cuan Mhuire to check me in where I was unceremoniously told to ‘fuck off’, as 1: I had spurned their original offer, 2: I had ‘already done the program, and doing it again wasn’t going to help’. Which is fucked up as I’ve seen SO MANY LADS repeat it, but 3: I suspect their main reason for saying no is that they know that I know that they’re insane. I told ’em as much when I was down there. I have seen such craziness, mainly based around some blessed virgin chick who’s holier than us all. They also have an effigy of some poor naked guy nailed to a piece of sturdy carpentry. Not sure what that’s supposed to do for people. And other weird religious ceremonies.
Anyway, that avenue is now well and truly closed, and I’ve had to go down the route of the hostel system. So, after a 2 day detox stint in Beaumont hospital, and with the help of another friend, I’ve set to work. It has been an interesting and hellish week.
First stop for any homeless services in Dublin is the DCC office at Parkgate street. As long as you’re genuine and civil, they will go above and beyond to help, and they have been nothing less than wonderful to me. The acquisition of hostels is difficult though, as you would usually be in a different hostel each night, which you have to acquire by freephone, and hope something is available. That can be the difficult bit. Trying to spend the day phoning with nowhere to charge a phone.
Obviously, the quality of a lot of hostels differ. Nights 1 and 2 I ended up in an ok place on Charlemont St, luckily with sound enough lads (5 bed room), though you will hear all sorts of drug-fueled / rough-lived ruckusses (rucki?) throughout the night, but it comes with free coffee. Night 3 was a place on Thomas St called Brú, an open plan affair where your best option is not to try sleeping but sit at the coffee bar talking to the staff. There are no rooms per se, only partitions, and when you eventually go to the bed you were assigned, you will find some other fucker asleep in it. The smoking area was emptier and more conducive to a night’s sleep.
Night 4 was heart breaking. A place called St Catherine’s Sports Centre and Foyer. 11 ‘beds’ in the room, I think I was the only one not drinking cans and using hashpipes. The party went on quite late and eventually at 4 am I had to go sit in reception, til 8.30 am, when it was time to leave. The most heartbreaking thing about this particular flophouse was that ten years ago it was a vibrant centre of the community where I actually worked as an art teacher, teaching risk groups like teens in peril, and recovering drug addicts. Now it was like a dark spooky ghost city.
I returned to the DCC offices to talk to someone, and lo and behold, my luck has changed. Because, I suspect, they actually like me, they got me what’s known as a ‘rolling’ bed, meaning I no longer have to ring looking for a hostel each night. I get to the stay in the same one, and can leave my stuff there. The only difficult part is once you’re in for the night, you can’t go anywhere for a smoke til you leave next morning. That bit’s hard but sure fuck it, it was the Cuan Mhuire way too. I’ll get used to it. I’ve to be out by 9am each day, and can return from 8 – 10pm in the evening, so you basically have to try and fill your day, out and about. Maybe I’ll actually get to learn to fucking busk now?
There are plenty of daytime services around Dublin that offer free food, free company and free counselling. I’ve met some great people, some scumbags, and some great scumbags.
I also like to regularly break down crying. It breaks the day up a bit.
I WILL pull myself out of this one day. I at least seem to be liked by most of who I meet, both staff and other homeless folk. I will write more when I can get more internet access. Apologies for the rush job on this piece, my resources are limited.