First Floor Restoration Support Program
Survivors of Life is a support group for children with parents in addiction. Call (02) 4227 2994 to enquire.
The First Floor Restoration Support Program is a project of The Salvation Army in Wollongong, NSW, and provides support services for those with drug, alcohol and gambling problems and other addictions or issues. In essence, if you have a need and would like to get help, the team would like to hear from you.
We offer counselling and support for people in addiction, a range of support groups for people with family members or friends in addiction, and employment training through our bistro and function centre. Read on to find out more about our groups and the support we offer or simply contact us for a chat.
- Counselling & support
- Work experience program
- Support groups for children
- Support groups for parents, grandparents & others
- Family conferencing & education
Similar groups run at Warilla, Corrimal and Nowra, NSW. Contact The Salvation Army churches at these locations to find out more.
The First Floor program offers:
- personal assessment
- drug and alcohol counselling
- AA or NA groups
- family conferencing, involving parents and loved ones in the process of recovery
- case management
- a social network
- professional work experience in a high employment industry (hospitality)
The centre and bistro at The Salvation Army Wollongong Corps (church) is used to provide intensive work experience and build confidence among those involved in the First Floor program. Skills imparted to participants include work ethics, kitchen operation, team building, communications, customer service, food preparation, seminar room set-up. Participants are also encouraged to explore employment possibilities and options for further education and training.
Children don't choose for their parents to be addicts. They don't choose the disruption to their lives that can happen as a result. Survivors of Life (SOLS) is a support group for children whose parents are in addiction. It's about being with others who understand. It's also about providing a forum where children can bring their questions, openly discuss them and hopefully have some of them answered. This helps empower the child.
A number of other support groups are offered as part of the First Floor program. These include:
- Very Important Families (VIFs) - a support group specifically for parents of children who have an addiction or are battling to overcome addiction. A place where you will find acceptance, trust and honesty, where the stigma of being a drug affected family member is non-existent. The group meets monthly and helps participants gain information about drugs and their effects, find tools to cope, implement personal boundaries and hear from invited guest speakers in family law, rehabilitation and other areas. As well as the formal meetings, group members act as a support network to each other between meetings. The group is also active in the community.
- Off our Rockers (ORF) - This is a support group for relatives (often grandparents) raising the children of addicted parents. The group was started in response to the realisation that many older men and women beginning the years of retirement have to put their dreams on hold to raise a new family. They have a need for new friendships with other people making similar life changes, as lifelong friends have often moved on to travel and experience a life of retirement. The group meets monthly to provide information about caring for children with special needs, and to offer support and friendship.
- Encounter Groups - Encounter groups bring together parents who have felt the sense of powerlessness of having a loved one in addiction as a panel to share their stories. Members of the audience are invited to ask questions of the panel about their experiences. This approach is designed to offer encouragement, information, understanding and hope, and to diminish the stigma attached to families who find themselves in the spiral of addiction.
The service organises family conferencing. Families are brought together to help identify and express problems, as well as explore avenues of change.
The First Floor program also seeks to educate others about the issues around addiction, particularly as experienced by families. Staff from the program and participants from the support groups speak to other community groups such as schools, hospital chaplains and churches about the real life issues faced by the entire family when substance abuse and addictive behaviours are evident.
Both women and men's retreats have been held for members of the support groups and participants in the program.
To enquire about the First Floor Restoration Program and any of the support groups offered, please call The Salvation Army Wollongong on (02) 4227 2994.