Canberra Lovelies! If you are in town this Saturday please join me at the Kites for Karralika Family Fun day!
Karralika Programs Inc. has been operating in the ACT for 40 years, supporting adults and their families in Canberra and surrounding regions through a range of alcohol and drug programs. To celebrate this milestone, Karralika are having a free community fun day.
Everyone is invited to come along and fly a kite to raise hope. Kites will be available for a gold coin donation and there will be free activities including a rock climbing wall, jumping castle, face painting and much more. Live music will entertain families – bring your own picnic or enjoy food from vans on the day!
What I love about Karralika is the wide range and levels of support offered not only to individuals, but whole family units. For example, The Family Program supports adults with alcohol and other drug dependencies and accompanying children with rehabilitative care within a residential therapeutic community setting for up to 12 months.
The program offers treatment for the whole family, providing the opportunity for young children to reside with their parents while they are undertaking the Program. During the day, parent/s will participate in all facets of the Karralika Therapeutic Community while the children participate in an early childhood development program either through full-time daycare or school and after-school care and holiday programs. In the evenings and weekends the families spend time together to develop and strengthen positive parent/child/family relationships.
Each family unit in the Family Program plan and prepare their own meals and spend time together on routine daily activities such as homework, bathing and bedtime stories. Families are supported by a Social Worker and team of Family Case Workers and have access to counselling and other support services. Targeted interventions including play therapies, play group and parenting are included in the program.
So what more could you ask for?!? A fun day out with the family supporting this amazing work. Check out the Facebook event page for more information.
If you want to read an amazing personal testimonial of an individual that has experienced the life changing work of Karralika, then please read below for Charlie’s story in his own words. It might take you a few minutes to read but is totally worth it.
Ps. Don’t forget to say hey if you see me there on Saturday!
I was a worker my whole life. I travelled around Australia for my work and had a pretty strong sense of who I was.
Until tragedy struck…my adult son was killed in a horrible accident and I was left feeling hopeless and vulnerable. I lost my faith in God and I started drinking more than I usually did in an effort to numb the pain I was feeling of losing my best mate. I wanted to kill myself, but never found the strength to do this.
I continued to work in an effort to keep myself busy and I moved away from the scene of the tragedy as I could not continue to relive the experience. When I moved to a new town, i got caught up with some people that offered me a distraction from my pain. This distraction was the drug Ice and I blew all of my money on it and got caught up in a world that I never knew existed prior to this. It was a very dark world and I was in a position to see some of the realities of this, which will stay with me for a long time.
I went from using small quantities to rapidly increasing amounts and started injecting the drug to get more from it. Whilst using, I was shown that if I used initiative to source a big supplier, I could get my own drugs for free, which was handy considering the increased amounts that I needed in order to get the same affect. So I got caught up in the supply and began (what I can reflect back on now) to engage in dangerous and risky transactions in order to keep my new associates happy and keep the supply coming. Eventually I was caught in a Police Operation and I was sentenced to jail.
This is where I hit my ‘rock bottom’. Sitting in my jail cell, and clean for the first time in a long time, I suddenly realised the impacts of the choices that I had been making. I felt like death. The withdrawal was hard, but the reality that I now had to face was harder. I felt lost and unsure of what I was now facing. I told the guy in the cell with me about how I had ended up here and he told me about rehab and suggested that I look into it. This was difficult because I was on remand and there is little support for remanded prisoners. I received help and support from the Chaplain and Welfare services, who were able to offer me some information about Karralika Programs. I made contact and completed an Assessment. I was beginning to realise that I needed help and guidance to turn my life around.
I entered Karralika Therapeutic Community and slowly but surely I began to see what was on offer there. The program was set up to help people to look at their lives and where things had gone wrong, to do this with other people who were also fair dinkum about having a better life. Some weren’t fair dinkum and that usually showed itself, but the majority there were on a similar path to rebuilding a life. I built some supportive relationships and began to talk about what was going on for me. I had never done this before in my life and it was difficult at first, but then as time went on, it became easier to share myself and my story with others. I also benefitted from helping other people that wanted to change their lives, being part of helping people to appointments and dropping the kids off to school, that was rewarding.
I learnt to communicate better with people and to deal with my resentments. I learnt that if your mind is dirty with resentments towards others, you can’t focus on your own stuff and get recovery. I used the Distorted Thinking Manual to look at my styles of thinking and realise how I am in the world. I also sat in a De-Masking Group, where I was able to hear from my peers how my behaviours affected other people and how they seen me. I did complete my shield too, which is a life story type of thing; however there were some issues that were still too sensitive, so I only touched on these briefly.
I graduated from the Therapeutic Community and went on to the Transition Program where the support continued and I began to implement the changes that I had made to my life whilst in the TC. I finally began to talk about my son to my Case Manager and I could feel the grief rising to the surface. I had made so much progress and was on my way to a new life…although I still had sentencing hanging over my head. Everyone had told me that I should be fine at court because I had done the hard work. Even my solicitor said that he couldn’t see the Judge sending me back to prison. My pre-sentence report was great, detailing all of the changes that I had made to my life.
I went to court over three long days. My Case Manager attended every day with me and was there to support me throughout the whole process, which was comforting and helped me to get through the difficulty. The time I spent in the program was taken into account, however as it was a Police Operation of large proportions and there had been considerable police time and effort put into this, the Judge felt that further consequences needed to be set in order to address the serious nature of the charges. I was sentenced to a further eight months in prison and after a quick goodbye to my Case Manager I was taken into custody again.
Whilst in jail, I was supported by Karralika staff and peers. I was contacted by Karralika Programs staff and informed that if I would be able to re-enter the program upon my release and continue from where I had left off. This helped me to get through the days in prison and to give me some hope that I would have a safe, supportive environment to return to. I kept busy and stayed focused on my recovery while serving my time. I stayed connected to peers and staff who wrote to me to keep me going strong and visited me when they were able to.
As my sentence grew closer to expiring, I contacted KPI staff and informed them of my release date. They informed me that they had a bed waiting for me and that they were looking forward to my arrival. I came back to Canberra and had the support of familiar staff and my peers in the Transition house. I was welcomed back with open arms and I resettled into the program and took steps to begin part time work and look for independent accommodation.
I started working and it was really useful when all my work mates were talking about having beers after work, to know that I was going home to a supportive environment with people I had done my program with. I was able to get support and manage the behaviours of others that were affecting me. As had happened when I was resentenced, it was reassuring to know that I had a safe place to return to.
I found a nice place to rent and moved out to my own apartment. I was working full time now and was seeing so many rewards of the work that I had implemented to turn my life around. I left the program and was offered Outreach via phone and face to face appointments when I could attend. I continued to get support for the issues that came up for me and I continue to work on my recovery.
I am 39 months clean from alcohol and other drugs and I have never felt so blessed in my life. I have everything I could ask for and more and it is all due to the rewards of living a good life.
All of this could not have been achieved without the skills and knowledge that I learnt through Karralika Programs. I would recommend this program to anyone who needs to know a better way to live.