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  • Denise Cloughley

A Family Story

These thoughts were written by a mother who's child was suffering from addiction. They provide a very different insight into what we so often hear. All I can say is "love can conquer all".


Coming into this world alone your soul chooses its family and in the form of a person you are born into, you embark on a journey in this designated lifetime. As a mother of a newborn your instinct is to take care of, to love, protect and nurture this infant, guiding them through their early childhood,instilling morals,values and skills in the hope that they will make good choices in their lives.


In our story when we discovered our son had a problem with Substance Abuse it was clear to us he had made his choice of that pathway into a dark underworld of drugs,violence, crime and living a life not resonating to the one we had raised him to live. It was however a journey he needed to embark on to learn his lessons only to come out the other side a better person.

The decision we needed to make was do we as his parents support him through these years of hell or let him go it alone? Unconditional love as his parents made that decision for us and we would support him through this time however long it took .

A drug counsellor told us after a session with him, at a point we sought help, not our son, he was perfectly happy living in his dark world , that the only advice he could give us was to have patience and when he was ready he would seek the help he needed.


From then on we got on board and went on his journey to hell with him.


Most would say we were enabling him to live this lifestyle and we were to a point, as frustrating as it was to stand by and watch him destroy his life and ours the choice to do otherwise was taken away from us .

We loved him and could not walk away from him when he needed us the most.

Substance Abuse Disorder is a disease and we looked upon our son as being seriously unwell, and mentally incapable of making good decisions. The impact it had on our family over this time took its toll, with us trying to maintain a normal life ,and keep the family intact however over time the glue came unstuck and the consequences of the life he was living started to impact hugely on all our lives.


No one can prepare you for the changes in personality he had from daily using , the violent outbursts, the physical fights he would have with his father and his brother all while under the influence of a substance. The fear of living with this day after day leaves you feeling like you are losing grip on reality and being unwillingly sucked into his world.

These feelings of utter despair, overwhelming sadness and helplessness make you close off from friends and extended family who cannot fully empathise with you as they are not walking in your shoes, therefore your own journey becomes as lonely as his.

I reminded his father and brother several times when they had got to the point where they had had enough of living in his nightmare of a world, that we were dealing with someone who was mentally unwell and whose mind had been taken over by the evilness of methamphetamine.


So we continued to stand by him through this, we were judged by some, and possibly pitied by some, our other son asked us again and again as his parents “why could we not do anything to fix the situation?”All I could say was that we needed to be patient and when he was ready he would return to us one day healed.

Out of a journey like this comes a light at the end of the tunnel.

It was during a time when he was living away from the family for a few months in an undesirable and unsafe accommodation that he finally gave up and asked us for help to rehabilitate.


The absolute relief we felt was immense, it meant our journey on this path was coming to an end for all of us after what seemed like an eternity . With our continued support he researched and discovered his own pathway to recovery and allowed us to join him on this journey too.


This one was about rediscovering life again, not just for him but for us as a family.


Investing in help from Denise (Seeking Solace) was the answer to our prayers. Denise navigated him to rehabilitation in NZ and Thailand and continues to support his recovery through aftercare back here.


Only now we are finally able to move forward with all our learned lessons on board, and slowly put the pieces of our family back together.