Graphic: Anne Te Kawa
"When my husband and I split up, I started drinking and that’s where the trouble started.
I began to see Anne every three weeks to begin with. At first, I was very sceptical. I was polite but my walls were up."
When I first met Anne, she reminded me of a lovely mum. She was caring, really listening. She just loves people; she would tell me about her own family and understood real-life issues. She had really good knowledge. She would suggest good books or pluck out the good bits for me.
I asked to start seeing Anne more regularly because I was spiralling out of control. I had three teenagers, no financial help and a lot of things on my plate.
It was a terrible time there for a long period, dealing with life’s stress. Poor Anne has had a lot to deal with, working with me! When I would walk in there I would feel like I was having a heart attack from stress and anxiety and she taught me breathing techniques. It didn’t matter how long it took for me to breathe properly- she would put in the time. She just made me feel worthy, and like a real person with a caring person listening to me.
Inspired by my experience, I now run an outreach centre on Sundays, and have 21 kids out there from pre-teens to teens. That was Anne’s idea too. It’s very exciting. I still see Anne and I love her. I recommend my friends go and see her too.
I was feeling so unwell before. It rots you from the inside. But I am kicking goals now. It blows my mind- I’m back exercising. It’s wonderful and it’s had a ripple effect on my whole family. So many doors have opened for me. I’m starting a course in a couple of weeks, which is Community Services through TAFE.
Anne just made me feel like I was worthy, encouraging me to keep going and praising me through all these changes. Her saying, ‘Well done, Sam’, from her heart meant so much. I’m so blessed to have Anne. Having the RFDS there to offer drug and alcohol and mental health support is so important. In life, when you’re in that dark place, you just need help. I’m so glad I got in contact with the service."