Just over twelve weeks ago we came to Holyoake because we were at our wits end.

We had been living in a war zone for the past few years with our adult son which involved substance use and gambling issues. Our home looked like we did – tired and damaged with holes in every door.

We had tried everything… doctors, psychologists, police and at our worst point, a Violence Restraining Order (VRO). We could not see any light or hope for our family. We desperately love our son and all we want for him is to have a successful future. It is this undying love that brought us to the Parent’s Program at Holyoake – we didn’t want to give up on him.

Little did I know that at Holyoake, the spotlight would shine on me! At first, I found it difficult to hear things like “look after yourself” and “set boundaries”. I felt this was selfish and self-centred. My reasoning was that our son would see how much we loved him and that we allowed him to stay in our home despite the way he treated us.

But the more I learnt, the more I realised that by taking back my life, I was taking the focus and responsibility off my son for my happiness. I realised that my identity was tangled in this relationship – my happiness had become dependent on his wellbeing.

My new approach started to give my son back his confidence and self-esteem because I was no longer trying to control his every move to ensure he made right decisions.

As I progressed through the program, I started to feel the weight lift off my shoulders. I was able to step back, assess the relationship and set basic boundaries. It gave me the freedom to love him unconditionally, to enjoy his company and to appreciate his unique qualities without worrying about teaching him life lessons.

At Holyoake I found great comfort in realising that we are not alone in this journey. By sharing our stories with other parents in the group, we were lightening our individual burdens and learning from each other.

The service provided at Holyoake is second to none. The counsellors really know their stuff and our circumstances. We had sought help from the public and private sector earlier at great cost – to no avail. So the fact that Holyoake’s programs are free blows my mind. I wish we had reached out years earlier.

We would like to thank the Holyoake team from the bottom of our hearts. The progress we have seen in our family has been nothing short of miraculous.

Click here for more information about our counselling programs.