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A. – 2 Years

I am a single mother with 4 children under 7 years of age. I was staying at my sister’s house when she received a termination notice from the Real Estate. I had been using alcohol and drugs excessively to find relief from the stress and anxiety of being a single mother without a home.

We had left Queensland where I and the children shared a rented home with the children’s father.
As two parents using drugs and alcohol there was a lot of arguments and violence until eventually for the children’s sake I fled back to NSW where my family was hoping they could help me. On leaving the house with the children, we became immediately homeless until I arrived at my sisters house.

The children’s father trashed the house and stopped paying the rent in Queensland and because I was on the lease, we were listed on TICA making it impossible for me to gain a rental for me and the children. Alcohol and drugs could not bring me any more relief and I became frightened and depressed in my helpless state. The doctors prescribed me anti-depressants, they didn’t help.

I was going to church but found little comfort believing no one understood my condition. A lady talked to me one day and asked me about my alcohol and drug problem and I poured my heart out to her. Finally someone understood. She referred me to ACADD and I went for an assessment.

The Staff at ACADD not only understood my situation but related to how hopeless I felt and during the assessment it was established that the Canton Beach Homestead for Recovery Families may be the answer. My relief came when it was established that I could also bring my children.

At the Homestead I learnt about alcoholism and addiction and my broken spirit. I was loved back. I learnt about withdrawal and how much alcohol and drugs had affected me and the children. I was so traumatised from the experience of living with violence. My healing began. It took months as I healed from the withdrawals from alcohol and drugs. As I found my spirit and soul I became open to learning about true relationships and mothering. I learnt about nurturing and understanding my children and the children learnt with me. The other parents and children at the centre gave me hope and encouragement. Together we encouraged each other. The children’s schooling improved and they healed with me.

Today I am over one year clean and sober, I know how to lift my spirit and maintain a healthy life style. I live in a beautiful affordable cabin and my life is stable. I know what to look for and what to do should my levels of anxiety and stress overcome me and I have a thought of a drink or a drug.

I have a strong connection to the parents I have met at ACADD and I know I can always go back to Canton Beach for support. My life has a new routine and 12 step meetings are always available.

Thank you God, thank you A.C.A.D.D. and all the staff for my life and my children.

M. – 10 Years

I am a single 28 year old man. I have been drinking my life away. I left my partner and two daughters because my partner was using drugs daily. The Department of Community Services had taken my daughters from her and placed them in care with my mother.

Through my drinking there was no way I could maintain a job, yet I had to look for work to receive my Centrelink Newstart payment. I was attending my job network provider to fulfil my responsibility to look for work and was always late, or I would miss the appointment altogether. Eventually I was asked whether there were any problems. I told the job network staff member how much I missed I missed my partner and children and then blurted out that I was drinking too much.

He asked me whether I thought I had a problem and that he knew someone who could help. I said yes that I was sick and tired of my broken life and alcohol wasn’t doing anything anyway. I also told him that I was on antidepressants and that they weren’t doing much either. He made a phone call to A.C.A.D.D. and set up an assessment.

On assessment at A.C.A.D.D. they told me about their Canton Beach Centre for Recovery Families. I told them that I had contact to my two daughters in the care of my mother and that I helped mum look after them. I was overwhelmed to hear that I could have the children and the recovery centre with me on the days I was looking after them and on week ends. My hope was restored my life could change.

At the Canton Beach Homestead I shared with other parents in similar situations. I learnt about withdrawal from alcohol and how alcohol had affected me. I was referred to Detox before I went to the Centre. I had high levels of anxiety, stress and depression. At the Centre the staff helped me heal and get well. I learnt about my broken spirit and my brain. To change my life I learnt I had to change my thinking. I learnt to love myself and learnt how to become a better father.

My partner was also given the opportunity to recover from her addiction but she was not ready.

After six months I built a wonderful bridge of forgiveness with my mother. My daughters adore me.
ACADD staff supported me in getting my own place to rent and my daughters were restored to me full time. That was some 10 years ago. I still have the support of ACADD and the parents I shared recovery with at the Canton Beach Centre for recovery Families.

T and S. – 3 Years

I was a single mother with a six year old son. My mother heard about ACADD from a work colleague of hers. Being concerned about my drug use after I experienced yet again another incident of being terminated from our home, my mother suggested A.C.A.D.D. to me. I was scared and annoyed that my mother was not prepared to take me and my son in with her. I agreed to do an assessment with the ACADD staff.

On assessment it was explained to me that I could bring my son with me and that alcoholism and addiction was a family disease that required treatment. I also had to be prepared to change. Not knowing what else to do I decided to have a go. I was given a room with my son at the Canton Beach Homestead. I was given a program folder, text books and the rules and conditions of entry.

Being rebellious and still hanging out for drugs I was not in the least co-operative and was cranky and irritable. My son was enrolled at the local primary school and I was left with long days ahead. I knew nothing about alcoholism and addiction. I new nothing about my spirit and soul or how alcohol and mainly drugs had changed my personality. I certainly did not want to admit that there was anything wrong with me. As I attended the groups at the Homestead and began to listen to the other residents at the Homestead I began to realise what had happened to me. Slowly and gradually I came to accept that there was so much I did not know. That I did not have to be so tough and outspoken to cover up my fear and anxiety. There was a lot of work to do. I began to engross myself into the program. I began to recognise how all I wanted to do was use drugs to make me feel better , to stop my fears, my anxiety, my hate, my bitterness – how I could go on. The greatest impact on me and my life was to find out how my “hanging out” effected how I treated my son with impatience and intolerance. I loved him so much but my impatience and intolerance did not show him love. I had had a cruel up bringing and I hated the world. Learning that this was a spiritual condition and that I could change was the greatest message of all. I began to work my program with my son. We began to build a new relationship. He was able to tell me how he hated it when I used drugs and why. We built up a new trust. My mum would come to visit us and we began to get honest with each other. She was able to tell me how hurt and confused she was about my drug use.
At a time where my mother had made a decision to put me out of her life she learnt how to forgive me as she learnt about alcoholism and addiction. My father, who had separated from my mother and was teaching overseas was also disturbed and confused about my drug use and my mood swings and intolerable behaviour, became grateful and understanding about my recovery. Wounds were healed all the way around. My son started to have contact with my mother and they built a grandmother grandson relationship. His school work improved out of sight.

Just as life was beginning to take on a brand new meaning I fell in love with a male resident at the Canton Beach Homestead. I new and he new that we were not to fraternise. How could we stop these new found feelings. Staff began to notice and we were warned and disciplined. At the centre I met his mother as they recovered together and were re-establishing their relationship. Our families met each other. I was finally learning how to socialise, without fear apprehension, anxiety and or predicting the outcome. I was beginning to trust.

Today I am nearly three years clean and sober. The resident I fell in love with is my husband he is also nearly three years sober. We have a home in another state. My son is in full acceptance my new husband. My mother and his mother are great friends. My father came from overseas for the wedding. My new found husband has a job and I am studying. Life is great. We will always remain grateful to ACADD and the Canton Beach Homestead for the opportunity to build a recovery life and family. Our spiritual maintenance is 12 step programs in the State we are in. The Al-anon 12 steps keeps our family and relationships free from unnecessary arguments and disagreements. Alcohol and drugs are no longer a part of our lives. Thank you ACADD and the Canton Beach Homestead Staff for giving our families a gateway entry to a new life.

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