Families facing addiction find light at the end of the tunnel

Michael had been struggling with drinking and gambling issues for a few years before it came to a crisis point about two years ago when he lost his job and his relationship with his wife, Rachael, began to fall apart. Rachael could see it all unravelling before her eyes, he was hitting rock bottom and things were spiralling out of control.

Rachael became desperate to find help to save their marriage and restore their happy family that included her husband Michael, their eight year old son Tom and six year old daughter Mia. After many unsuccessful experiences with various psychology and counselling programs she found the Family Recovery program and decided to give it a go.

Family Recovery offers just that, support for all members of a family impacted by addiction, including children from the age of five. Rachael was the first to make contact with the program and began receiving one on one counselling sessions for herself straight away to help her cope and deal with her situation.

“It helped me understand what was going on. When you are in that scenario you are trying to look at things from a rational point of view, but it is totally irrational. So you have to really flip your mindset and they gave me the tools to do that”, explains Rachael.

After gaining valuable support from Family Recovery counsellors Amber and Jane, Rachael was able to implement some personally difficult changes at home and eventually Michael made the decision to attend sessions with Gambling Help, a partner of Family Recovery. Michael admits this was one of the most difficult things he has ever done.

“There was a lot of resistance at first. I had built up such a barrier. You lie, you steal, you do everything just to keep yourself going with your addiction. So when I went into counselling I had to make a conscious decision between either lying to the counsellor or pouring my heart out. I decided to do the right thing for my wife and family, and tell the truth.”

Family Recovery offers one on one counselling sessions, family therapy, and group therapy that bring together a number of families who are going through addiction. The combination of these therapies provide individuals with a sense of comfort that they are not alone as well as individualised support for their specific situation.

However Rachael found the most valuable solace through the phone support counsellors provide.

“I would ring when there was an actual crisis happening. I could chat to them on the phone and get some help or advice around what was happening in the moment. I needed support at home because I couldn’t leave my children.”

Rachael’s son Tom who was six at the time also attended sessions through the program. Family Recovery provide tailored support for young children of addicts to help them deal with their worries, and while they may not be able to understand the complexity of their situation they can understand that everyone goes through hard times and that it is not their fault.

Looking back, Michael realises if he hadn’t made changes, if the family hadn’t started sessions with Family Recovery, his life would be very different. His marriage might have ended, he may have been forced to spend time apart from his children and he surely would have hit rock bottom. He is so thankful for the support he received to get him and his family through such hard times in their lives.

“We are okay now. We’re your typical happy suburban family. The arguments we have now are around who is going to clean the kitty litter compared to, where has that $200 gone? You know?

“Family Recovery completely changed my life. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s been tough, and it’s a cliché but, now I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. When you are in your darkest moment, when you are considering suicide, there are people who care and are there to help.”

Thanks to the generous support of kind hearted people like you, programs like Family Recovery are able to assist many more families like Michael and Rachael’s.

If you are struggling and need help, please contact CCareline on 13 18 19.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.


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