New Life for Nicola
‘My childhood was much like any other. After finishing my studies, I found work in sales. I also met my husband, got married and had 3 children.
But our marriage eventually failed. And my children ended up living with my ex-husband and his partner. The pain of that loss changed everything.
I’m not blaming them, but the only people around me at that time were the wrong influence. I was on medication and unable to deal with my mental state. As a result, I fell into alcohol and drug abuse.
Whilst on that bad road, I found love again and everything seemed great, but the partying and drinking continued. Even though I fought in Court, I still wasn’t able to see my children who were living a normal life with their new extended family.
The pain was still in me and the escape from that pain continued in substance abuse, bad behaviour and crying for hours as I tried to grapple with not having my children with me.
My new partner then suggested we have a baby together. I remember thinking ‘how am I allowed to have a child even?’ But feeling lost, trusting wholeheartedly in my new partner, and missing my other children greatly, I decided to have a baby.
After baby Harriets* birth I just wasn’t coping. Me and her father had separated, and when she was two months old, and perhaps my lowest moment, I knew that Harriet wasn’t safe with me. I ended up calling Oranga Tamariki to come and pick her up. I lost my fourth child.
I ended up alone again, homeless, sleeping wherever someone would let me use their couch – still drinking and using.
It was my longing to be reunited with Harriet, and having The Salvation Army recommended by my lawyer that made me commit to the Changing Places programme. That first step put me on the path to recovery.
The Army provided a place for me to stay with Harriet. I was being mentored, cared for and supported. Amongst other courses, I was also going to the Bridge where I was helped to free myself from alcohol and drugs.
I wanted to be a good parent to Harriet, and for her to know my love and learn that I’m there for her 100% of the time. I was able to take what I had learnt from the course and apply it to parenting my other children as well. The progress that I made meant I was able to see them again every second weekend and that was a big win for me.
Thanks to other Salvation Army courses I got my self-esteem back, I learnt to budget, and how to set goals.
Today, I’m single, have full custody of Harriet. I don’t use alcohol or drugs, or even smoke. I’m in transitional housing and am in the process of finding another more long-term home. I’m studying towards a new health and care career. With the help of The Salvation Army I’m also doing my driver’s licence, which has given me great independence.
I’m deeply grateful to The Salvation Army, and want to thank them, as well as thank all their supporters who donate towards their services. Their combined kindness and patience has given me a new life.’
You can help other families like Nicola regain control of their lives and look forward to a positive future.