Wollongong woman Jade* doesn’t believe that ‘tough love’ is the answer to helping a loved one struggling with addiction.
She can’t count the times well-meaning friends or family members told her she needed to cut her drug-dependent son off in order to force him to stop taking.
Instead she sought out information, the help of support services and the comfort of others going through similar experiences.
So, when her 20-year-old son was ready to quit, she was there to help him heal.
‘’It’s not about tough love, it’s about education and learning how to work with and support your loved one so that when they are ready to seek help, you are there by their side,’’ she said.
Jade encouraged other local residents dealing with a loved one in the grip of drug or alcohol addiction to sign up for Family Drug Support’s Stepping Forwards course on the weekend.
The course will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday June 2 at the Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Centre in Rawson Street, Wollongong.
Course leader Julie Clark said the aim was to increase people’s confidence and competence in managing drug issues.
The course also helped break the ‘’cycle of shame and blame’’ families often got caught up in.
‘’I have seen the enormous difference this course makes to people’s lives,’’ she said. ‘’They are stronger, better supported and have taken on skills to better manage their relationship with the user. This will in turn help the user towards better outcomes.’’
For Jade, the course helped her gain a new perspective on her son’s issues – and how to deal with them.
‘’My son was probably 16 when he started using drugs casually – there’s been a few struggles in our lives and I think for him it was a way to escape reality,’’ she said.
‘’It wasn’t until he was 18 that I found Family Drug Support and started learning about how not to enable him, how to really set boundaries and talk to him about changing.
‘’We went through some tough times – with hospital admissions, suicide attempts and mental health issues – and having a safe, non-judgmental space to get information and support was invaluable.’’
Jade said her son was now undergoing rehabilitation, although recovery would be a long road.
To book in for the course contact 0400 113 422; or for 24/7 support ring 1300 368 186.
- Not her real name