My name is Catherine and I want to share with you my 12 week journey with the Parent’s Program at Holyoake.

I had been to other services for guidance but it was here that I found that change and hope for the future was possible. From the very first contact with a wonderful counsellor, I knew that I was in the right place. I recognised the importance of caring and managing myself first if I wanted to be the best support for my son with his struggle with addiction.

Our first topic was about boundaries which I later realised is the foundation for this program and became the key for us in our relationship with my son.

I found every topic familiar and could relate to them easily. It was confronting, raw and emotional at times. The other parents in the group shared their experiences, fears and struggles… but also their increasing hope for the future. Above all, I didn’t feel alone anymore.

When we got to the topic of grief, I felt a huge relief. I now had a name for all of my emotions. The flood gates opened and I could own it and process it. I could give myself the time I needed to grieve the loss of the relationship with my son.

Slowly moving forward, I learnt more about myself and the importance of things like boundaries, choices, self-responsibility and my own values. The difference between caring and care taking. I realised that I was so caught up in my son’s life that I was neglecting myself and my relationship with others who are important to me.

The Parent’s Program was a place where l felt safe and never judged. A place where I found my strength again. It was a place where no matter what our story, circumstance or reason for being there, our experience as parents bonded us in a special way.

I no longer try to control or fix things that are really not my business. I am stronger, calmer and happier. I am seeing a new relationship develop with my son.

The individual and group sessions have given me the strength to move forward with hope and to care for myself so I can be a role model for my family.  The tools I have learnt help me to make informed decisions, to stay calm and trust myself. It has opened the door again to a relationship with my son, an adult relationship. One of respect and trust.

The past is just that. I am so grateful to everyone at Holyoake and to the other parents in the group.

Click here for more information about our counselling programs.