Keeping the Family Together
Solo mum-of-three Dayna was out of hope when she joined The Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Programme (PLP) and found a way forward.
‘It was my sister who recommended PLP. She said it had changed her life, and I can only say the same. But back then, I didn’t see that possibility and I was very honest with Matalena, The Salvation Army social worker. I told her, “I'm basically here to look good on paper”. I was going through court proceedings over the custody of my youngest daughter, Charlotte. I had been struggling, using meth and numbing my feelings with alcohol when my mother-in-law suggested she take Charlotte while I take a break and visit family. I was blindsided when I returned home and Charlotte was legally in her care.
I got clean quickly, but it didn’t bring Charlotte home. The court case was breaking me. I felt like it was the end of my life. I had lost a lot of self-belief and my sense of self-worth was very low. I didn't feel very open to being a mum anymore. I was at the end of my tether.
I thought, if PLP is going to help me look good, then so be it. And then after the first two sessions, I became very interested in it; I was committed to the process and wanted to do it for myself. It has changed my whole outlook on everything.
When we began, I had no hope and no drive. I was down and I just didn't care. I didn’t know the difference between happy and sad. Within the first month of starting PLP is when we started Project Hope too, where you work with a social worker to set goals and, between the two, I started to finally see a way forward and that motivated me. My goals were to get my driver licence, get a car and get a job. And then ultimately, get Charlotte home.
I achieved it all within a year. When I think back to my worst days when I was video calling my sister in tears, my perspective has changed completely. I’ve learned how to deal with my anger, how to simmer and find other outlets. I’ve worked a lot my anger off in the garden. I’ve had to learn to let go. I’ve forgiven Charlotte’s grandmother. And I’ve also learnt to love and forgive myself, which was probably my biggest struggle of all.
My job is as a sales assistant, and I’ve been offered a promotion twice but have turned it down. Family comes first. Charlotte was away for two years so there’s a lot of bonding still to do.
It hit home just how far I’d come when my dad visited recently. He commented that we all seemed very happy and told me you can see it, the improved headspace, it’s visible. He told me he was proud of me. I’m proud too of my personal growth and how far I’ve come.
The Positive Lifestyle Programme is only available thanks to donations from people like you who make the running of this life-changing service possible.