Annual Appeal 2022
My name is Amanda. My husband and I have been together for over 30 years, and we live in country Victoria. We have three beautiful adult children and we run our own small business. I want to share my family’s story and our journey with addiction.
Never, while watching my children grow up, did I think that one day we would need an alcohol and drug residential rehabilitation service. Nothing could have prepared us for the journey our lives would take as the teenage years approached.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when addiction crept into our lives. My daughter had always been open with me about the fact that she had experimented with party drugs. She was always functional, and she always held down a job. For a while at least, she was easily able to explain away some of her behaviours. But over time, some of the signs were worrying. She lost weight; she never had any money; she lost her driver’s licence, and eventually she lost her car and quit her job. It took 10 years of spiralling out of control before she would get to a point where she accepted that she needed help.
When my daughter finally accepted she had a problem, we organised for her to stay with a family friend in New South Wales. Our friend was able to support her detoxing at her house, away from her networks and with the day-to-day support of a local health clinic.
During this time, one of my sons also succumbed to addiction, having struggled with anxiety his whole life. I tried so hard to get support for them both, but there were so many closed doors, especially to me as their parent. I went to doctors. I went to the Police. It is so hard knowing where to get help for your family in the country.
Do you know what it feels like to call an ambulance for your unresponsive child who has overdosed, knowing that this could happen again at any time, and knowing that he has to wait another 6 weeks for a rehab’ bed? This is the same child who, in better times, sheared 200 sheep a day and was a member of the local CFA.
Eventually, my son heard about Circuit Breaker, the six-week residential program offered by Odyssey House which is located outside of Benalla in Victoria. He was so desperate, he called Odyssey House himself and ended up going through the program three times over a two-year period. Each time, he gained some valuable skills and achieved stability for a time, but he really needed a longer program to sustain the positive changes he was making.
No one is above this happening to them or to one of their family. Addiction doesn’t care what you own, how many friends you have, what car you drive, or how old you are. If it decides it’s going to take your life away, it most likely will.
That’s why I’m willing to write this letter in support of Odyssey House Victoria and the re-development and expansion of their Circuit Breaker program.
Without intervention, nothing would have saved my children. My daughter is in recovery having been drug free for 5 years. She now has a partner and two beautiful children. My son is still struggling but he knows that he can always return to Circuit Breaker and get the further support that he needs.