My son was sent to prison for an offence related to him gambling. I was distraught and devastated. But I visited him and supported him as much as I could. While he was in prison he sought help with his addiction and appealed his sentence and he got an early release. One morning I answered the door and there he was on the doorstep. I hugged and kissed him and welcomed him home. I was so relieved that he was out of prison and believed he would now seek support for his problem and settle down.

I went with him to buy new clothes and shoes because he had left everything in the prison. Because of other family considerations he could not live at home and he had accommodation in a hostel. I found it hard to accept that my son would be living there but I had no choice but to accept the situation.

While my son was in prison I had started to attend St Nicholas Trust Support group and this helped me to see that I was helping him too much, which was preventing him from taking responsibility for his own actions. This was difficult for me to accept at first, because he is my only son and I wanted him to have a good life.

My other children will not help him because he has caused them many problems in the past. Our family unit has been ruined by my son’s behaviour. I have nobody to discuss it with in the family because they are tired of it all.

Because of the support I got from St Nicholas Trust and from listening to other peoples’ experiences in the group, I have become stronger and better able to refuse my son when he asks me for money. I realise I have over-indulged him in the past. It has been very hard for me to let him go. He is now living in an apartment and appears to accept that he will have to manage his own finances. He is trying to find work but in these difficult times it is hard for anybody to find work and being and ex-prisoner adds to the difficulty.

I continue to see my friends and family and take part in the social activities I have enjoyed for several years. I pray for him every day and accept that
I am not his keeper. I will meet with him when he contacts me and support him in any way I can but I have learned to let go and trust he will learn from his mistakes.

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