One thing we’re trying to do differently at Parent Guides is to highlight the importance of telling stories and sharing experiences. Shocking statistics and fear often underpin a vast majority of educational material relating to drugs. Unfortunately much of what were hear are horror stories.
Isn’t it about time we heard something positive?
Sally’s* 16-year-old daughter has successfully pulled herself out of drug addiction to pursue her childhood dream. She told us her story..
“My advice to other parents dealing with a drug addicted child is to never give up on loving them, supporting them and hoping that they can turn it around. It did with Gemma*.”
“She started smoking cigarettes when she was 14, then she started pinching my cigarettes and selling them to pay for marijuana. She later sold my jewellery and stole money. She was soon smoking bongs every day; always sleepy or moody or getting the munchies. She cut open her mattress and kept her stash in there. I tried to confront her but ended up with walls and doors being punched. She was so aggressive and had so much anger.
“She ran away and things got much worse. She was always off her face; high on prescription drugs, dope and ice. It was a really horrible time. DHS was involved but they couldn’t do much. At the worst of it she turned to prostitution to pay for ice and was using and selling. She was just pure aggression, out-of-control.
“She was living in a residential house organised by DHS. Anything I could try I was there. It was a very scary time, but I just kept trying to bring her around. I was having police knocking at the door all the time, I was bracing myself for the day they’d tell me I had to identify her body.
“One day DHS told her that when she turned 17 she’d be on her own, she’d have to work and be independent, to pay for everything. I think that really scared her.
“Then someone she knew died. She found the body. That was bad.
“After that she decided she wanted to live with her dad; she was still using at that point. But then she just changed. She turned everything around. She didn’t go to rehab; she just changed. I’m still completely stumped about it.
“She finished her VCE at TAFE and now she’s heading off to the US to study meteorology at college. Her whole life she’s wanted to be a storm chaser, and now she’s going to live her childhood dream. I’m so, so proud of her.
“I would say to other parents the moment you even suspect your child may have a problem, get professional help, don’t even think twice. Don’t do what I do and think you can handle it by yourself, or feel too proud to ask for help. I kept denying the problem it to myself but in the end I had to swallow my pride and get help. You can’t do it on your own.
“We got a lot of help and support from welfare groups and agencies like Anglicare, the Salvos and Child First,” Sally said.”
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*names have been changed