The launch of the Friends of Cuan Mhuire Laois took place recently at the Sue Ryder Centre in Kilminchy Village Portlaoise.
Since its formation in 1966 by Sister Consilio Cuan Mhuire has treated over 75,000 people.
Its main objective is the rehabilitation of persons suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
The new service is available for people who are experiencing addiction or are in recovery from addiction.
At any one time Cuan Mhuire has 600 people in treatment through its five centres throughout the country.
Portlaoise man Kieran Ryan, who is an addictions counsellor at Cuan Mhuire in Athy, organised the launch which over 40 people attended.
Mr Ryan bravely told the story of his own addiction to heroin and how it affected him and his family live on the Late Late Show back in February 2011.
“I left Portlaoise back in 2009 to begin my 20 week programme in Cuan Mhuire. It has been the longest 20 weeks of my life because I am still here.
“Sister Consilio wished to expand our services to Laois and to provide a safe and confidential environment for people who need help with addiction and indeed their family members.
“I was asked to help and as I'm from the town am very happy to do so.
“I personally have experience with addiction in my own life some years back.
“I know well what it's like being addicted to heroin and the devastating affects it had on peoples’ lives, the lives of their families and indeed their communities.
“I believe that this new service will be instrumental in delivering a place where people can come for help without being judged or condemned because of the way their lives turned out.
“Everybody deserves to be accepted and listened to.
“The Friends of Cuan Mhuire Laois is available to offer a helping hand in a kind and compassionate environment to those who need it.
“This service is not the same as Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous but Cuan Mhuire is indebted to these support groups and wishes to continue to work alongside them in a holistic way.”
Sister Consilio spoke said the new mission here in Portlaoise will be the same as at Cuan Mhuire.
“We wish to create a place for people where they can find a sense of family and peace. People who complete the 20 week recovery programme are full of joy and delighted to be returning home.
“When they get there it can be much different than they remember.
“Most didn’t know what home life was really like due to their addiction. Their families like themselves can be full of fear.
“When they waken on the first morning at home they are not full of joy and delight and very often find themselves feeling and being alone. Most don’t know where to turn to or what to do. Many won’t walk down the streets in their own towns out of fear. Fear is a big part of recovery,” she said.
Weekly meetings of the Friends of Cuan Mhuire Portlaoise take place at 7.30pm every Friday evening at the Sue Ryder Centre in Kilminchy.
Light refreshments are provided at the meetings and everyone is welcome to attend. More information from Kieran 085 7754876, Liam 087 8298808, Andrew 085 110 6872 or Cuan Mhuire 059 8631493.