A Partner's Story
Living with Addiction
A Mother Survives, As Does Her Little Boy
My story, as traumatising as it sounds is a mere snippet of all that was experienced and endured during this time of living with someone who suffers with addiction.
During the early 2000’s domestic violence was seen as ‘domestic dispute’ and although this has improved with anger management group work available for offenders, there is still a long way to go toward reducing harmful addiction in our society and helping families and victims.
My personal experience, determination to heal my own family was the start of a career in addiction & holistic family counselling.
I have had the privilege of working with individuals, couples and families who experience challenges with addiction and generational risks.
It was 2001, I was crouched down hiding behind a car.
I could hear him calling out, “going to kill you”.
Crouched down and almost kissing the concrete, so I could see his feet and know where he was and wondering if he was carrying his rifle. I moved from car to car as he walked up and down the street, praying he wouldn’t see me. I had come here to get my little boy out of there. I knew this man well, but he had become someone I didn’t recognise, someone who had taken our 4-year-old son, in the midst of his escalating, drug-induced rage.
The police said “If you want your son back you need to file for custody. We have no right to remove the child from his father.”
There was nothing they could or would do, “domestic dispute” they said.
“Ahh!” I said, “but he has guns!” Please” I begged them to help me.
They said “Go to court and then you can have your son back. This is not a police matter.”
I had to leave my little boy and go home with my parents. Every inch of my body ached, as I sat on the curb bent over weeping with overwhelming emotion.
It was four long nights, lots of phone calls to authorities, before my little boy was back home and the summons was delivered, with 30 minutes to pack our bags before my son and I went into hiding for three weeks. My parents were left behind to manage their anger and fear and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, or to help.
Three family court appearances later, visitation was granted with no consequences or treatment for my husband.
The next six years were tough, and I felt like I was fighting for our safety and my sanity.
Feeling trapped, living in fear, and receiving threats and watching my son suffer, feeling so helpless and unable to change his experience.
Every second week seemed to come so quickly, and the dread would start days before I took my son to his dad’s.
I would never know what to expect.
His overnight bag snatched out of my hands, I was often ignored or worse I’d be sworn at or screamed at and chased to my car on one occasion. Life was simply unpredictable and scary. I felt so much guilt and hopelessness and so worried about my son’s well-being.
I knew going to court again would be so horrible and would possibly make things worse. I was too scared to get a restraining order, because again it could make things worse. I felt like a sitting duck waiting for the next drama to unfold.
Meanwhile I engaged in some therapeutic support which led me to study with the Holistic Living Training Institute.
This was the start of a change in my story.
One night, I was doing some homework when my own situation came up as it often did. I was journaling about my mother in-law and how she protected her son to my detriment. As I was writing, writing, writing how much I hated them and how angry I was for whatever the latest thing they had done, the writing began to change. I wrote – We are the same, we are the same her and I. She loves her son and I love my son. We are both trying to protect our children…
RIGHT then something changed for me.
I was opening myself up to be in this situation with compassion. I could finally feel things in a very different way, with LOVE not FEAR. Through this process I found strength to be the heroine in my own story and make enormous change.
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