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My son's journey

MAIA: He’s very loving. Coming from school he’d give me a hug. The others did, but he was always the first one in and would give me a hug.

When he started going to high school, I think that’s when I really noticed. He was getting bullied in high school. I can remember really clearly … I can remember sitting there with him on the couch, telling him that’s what I was there for, to help. If he was getting bullied at school, I will go into school and I will talk to the principal, or whoever the teacher was. He said, “No Mum, I don’t want you to.” I said, “Well that’s what I want to do.” He said, “No Mum, I don’t want you to do that.”

INTERVIEWER: Must be proud where he is now then?

MAIA: Yeah. I’m so proud of him now. Because I tell you what, it was a hell of a journey with him. I can remember, when he was on that road of alcohol, I can remember getting calls from the police station. “Well, I found him lying in the middle of town, on a bench, on the seat. I’ve got him in at the station. Would you like to come and pick him up?” I said, “No, leave him there till the morning.” I used to get so wild. All those incidents I said, “No, he can stay there till the morning and I’ll come and get him then.”

Then he’d come home and we’d have a talk, chat and laugh, and then he would go with his mates. Once again he had that circle of friends that did exactly the same as he did.

I had that real hard task of trying to pull myself away, whereas he probably did but couldn’t. He was in it too hard and too thick. He was in the thick of it and couldn’t make that decision or make that choice.

One really bad incident with him was when I had a phone call from a friend of his: “Could you come over? It's really urgent that you come.” I went over there and he was black and blue. He’d been in the hospital. No one had told me. No one had rung. He’d been in the hospital emergency ward. Someone had beaten him up. They had bottles of hot stuff and that sort of thing. Someone had beaten him up really badly. I said to the two mates there, “Why didn’t you ring me to come and get him, or to come up to the hospital?” “He didn’t want to bother you.”

It's those sorts of things. He was beaten up. I got him home again. A lot of this to-ing and fro-ing of making them better and patching them up. Taking him to the doctor and paying for this and paying for that. That continual ongoing bailing them out of these situations, so that they wouldn’t get into any further harm.

That was probably the worst, most hurtful time for my whole being, of seeing your son beaten up like that because of the alcohol. And he couldn’t even remember.