Stories / Case Studies

Sharon's story

Story by Sharon Lourens

Westville Durban

My personal experience of TOUGHLOVE®

TOUGHLOVE® for me has been a life saver and a life changer! For some 6 years my youngest daughter has chosen paths in life that have taken us as a family on some very dark and frightening roads...

She grew up in a steady home with loving parents, good morals and values and then decided to challenge them all after leaving school.  She got into the "Gay" scene and began taking pills at clubs.  She has admitted to taking a variety for as long as 4 years and then moved onto sniffing cocaine 2 years ago.  She has a qualification so has been able to work but the money she earned was obviously not enough to sustain her habit.

In the meanwhile she has dropped out of things, let people down, more recently told lies, stolen and gotten herself into a huge financial mess besides becoming addicted to cocaine.  She denied the drug taking right up to the last and then when everything fell apart and she was kicked out of her living quarters and with nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help she at last called us and asked to be sent to a drug rehab!  So right now she is in rehab, an excellent one and she is doing incredibly well.  She is working through the issues she has not been able to deal with and which ultimately led to her drug taking.  She is now not sure if she is gay and finding it exciting to for the first time really have
time to work these things all out with the help of sound counselors.  We are so grateful and at last some sense of peace has entered our fairly shattered family!

How has this affected us? Hugely!  She has one older sister who is married and who has been under huge stress about her sister’s lifestyle for years. Like us, she too has felt inadequate and unable to change or impact her younger sister’s lifestyle

About 2 years ago I remembered a friend having drug related difficulties with her sons tell me about TOUGHLOVE®.  I contacted her and she gave me the local Durban number.  I rang Cheryl and made my way to Blair Athol School the very next Thursday evening.  It was awesome!  I was soooooo amazed to hear all the other stories - many so like my own and I felt such understanding and compassion and concern.  I felt hugely relieved too, to be able to honestly and openly cry and share my deep heartache with people who I felt really understood what I was
going through as a mother and who could relate to my pain and inability to cope.

I was given encouragement, hope and a release (in that people listened!).

I left feeling so much better and knew I had found the right place for me to get healing and help.  It has helped me in every relationship I'm involved in, even in my marriage and that has had huge benefits and restored and built something strong and good.  Learning skills of building boundaries and coping has been a total life saver for me!  I was not able to do this and felt like I was dying in the process.  I was emotionally not in a good place and my whole life had become totally consumed by my daughter.  She on the other hand was doing her thing and not caring about the effects and cost of her lifestyle to the rest of us.

I felt hurt, rejected and nothing I did was working...So the skills and sessions restored me to a stronger position in who I was firstly as a parent and adult and immediately I could see that things changed - they changed for me firstly...I was now coping and not letting things get "on top of " me and my daughter was aware that there had been a change in the way I dealt with her.  At first she was, I think, surprised that I was no longer responding the way I Giving in and enabling her, but rather that now I had set boundaries and would not let her break them.  If she did I kept to the rules and without emotion made her feel the consequences.  She moved out of home, went to live in Joburg where the drug taking went from bad to worse and then some 5 months later hit rock bottom and phoned us for help and asked us to please send her to rehab.

We have a long way to go and are prepared as much as that is possible, to walk this road with her and I am so grateful for my weekly support group here in Westville.  For Cheryl and the team who are always there to listen, share and encourage.  I am a better person for this and my knowledge has hugely impacted my husband and daughter too.

Thank you for the incredible life changing work TOUGHLOVE® does, not only for the parents but for the insight and wisdom and keys that definitely help to change families and in the end ....the addicted child.