By David Raleigh
Having lost consciousness for seven hours after taking a massive hit of heroin, Ger Lynch eventually woke up on a cold bathroom floor.
He had reached rock bottom but was lucky to have survived the overdose of smack.
The trauma of losing his baby son in a cot death coupled with the death of his sister four months later, and the pain of his parents separating when he was just seven years old, all left him reeling.
While drugs allowed him to “escape from the pressures and worries of life”, it led him spiralling through 11 years of addiction, crime, and homelessness.
The father of seven from O’Malley Park in Limerick never believed he would come back from the brink.
He was living on the margins, breaking into people’s homes, robbing cars and selling their parts to feed his habit.
Lynch is now “three years clean”, and as well as studying for a course in the University of Limerick he is training drug addicts how to prevent and respond to an overdose.
He believes if he can turn his life around, anyone can.
"I believed I was just a vessel for drugs,” he added.
Five years ago, having run out of drugs and money, Lynch faced his demons and knocked on the door of McGarry House accommodation unit for homeless drug addicts, run by Novas.
This decision, along with the continued support of his fiancé Serina, saved his life, he told a gathering at the launch of the Novas annual report for 2017.
“Having witnessed a friends’ overdose, and following an overdose myself, I knew this wasn’t the way I wanted to continue my life.”
“Seeing your friend overdose, literally watching them fighting for life and being unable to respond, waiting for emergency services to arrive, is the most helpless situation anyone can be placed in.”
“I didn’t like that feeling and I didn’t want to be the cause of that feeling for anybody else.”
Lynch, who is no longer a client of Novas, and no longer homeless, is "proud" he is now a good role model for his children.
“I used drugs to run away from all my problems not realising I was creating those same problems for my own kids. The helplessness I once felt has been replaced with confidence in my own ability to respond," he added.