The community of mums I’ve come to know and the life skills I’ve gained by being part of this program have helped me to imagine a bright future with my kids, in a home of our own.
I used to be so angry with life and grew up without a sense of belonging. Family violence and a history of drug abuse from a young age led to living on the streets and losing custody of my daughter. My son was taken from me at birth because I was sent to gaol on criminal charges. I never wanted him to grow up without a mum and dad, the way that I did, but lost all hope of raising him.
My life was such a mess I knew I had to make big changes. I resolved to stick with rehab and joined the Women and Children’s Program to learn better ways of going about life. I’m proud to say I’ve now stayed clean for the longest period since I was 12. I succeeded in getting my son back and I’m working on bringing my daughter home to live with us.
When I came to stay in one of the onsite supported villas, I connected with other mums in the program and started to feel like I belonged for the first time in my life. We really get each other and support one another’s progress.
The real turning point in my recovery was when a Peer Worker shared her lived experience of walking in my shoes. Feeling that someone genuinely understood what I was going through was life changing. I realised that if they could turn their life around, so could I.
I threw myself into the free courses the program offers in practical life skills, like learning to budget. In the past I rarely kept money in my pocket for longer than two days. Knowing how to manage it instead of running short between pay days has brought me such peace of mind.
A Circle of Security course helped me to understand how to care for my son well, and the staff here have taught me so much. I just love being a mum and as I’ve spent time around the other mums I’ve grown more confident in my parenting. Everything is so well set up for us to gather in the garden while the kids play or enjoy a BBQ together.
Being surrounded by genuine friends gives me a wonderful feeling of stability. It’s shown me the importance of having a support network of people I trust and can depend on. In the crime scene, everyone wants something from you.
I’ve learned that it’s ok to ask for help when I need it. The team here who support me have been willing to drop everything to lend me a hand with the kids or drive me to an appointment. They practiced with me so that I could get my driver’s licence and even cheered me up with Tim Tams when I was in COVID-19 isolation. When I took steps to get my son back, I had guidance to do what was necessary and support at my meetings with DOCS.
Month by month, I meet with my support worker and set new goals for myself. It feels great to check off each goal I achieve. What I want is simple, to belong to a healthy community and live a life of happiness, giving my kids all the love and security they deserve. I’ve set my sights on establishing a stable home for my family and plan to study toward my dream of becoming a boat driver once my son starts day care, so that my kids see that they can go after whatever they want in life.
Now that I’ve experienced what it means to belong, and seen what’s possible for me in my life, no part of me wants to ever go down a destructive road again. When I cross paths with people from my past, I have the strength to walk away. I’m at peace with who I am and I’m looking to a bright future with my son and daughter.
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