Imagine; one day you wake up only to find your beautiful child has suddenly become this disturbed creature that you struggle to control.
The mere presence sends shivers through you every time you have to have a conversation, because you don’t know what the answer will be or what chain reaction it was going to set off.
Like a scene out of The Exorcist you would not know what the foul-mouthed creature was going to lash you with next.
His meth addiction has caused my wife to break down in tears constantly, and my oldest daughter threaten to leave home if her brother stayed any longer.
My youngest daughter had to see a counsellor for a while because she experienced depression over our family’s situation.
He has called my wife and I many things — mainly expletives of all descriptions, and «the absolute worst parents in the world». He even reported me to the police saying I was a paedophile, so I had to go into the station for a humiliating interview.
This was all in private of course, but there were more public things.
We would worry what the neighbours would think after they saw the police outside our house yet again.
What would they think when they heard the fights and yelling coming from the house? What if they saw the arguments that took to the street? The doors slamming, the glass breaking, the constant stream of workmen coming to repair bits of the house?
What would the ambulance service think when they were called – again – to come and pick him up from wherever he was because he was suffering psychosis?
He’d tell them he thought he was going to die, and they’d call us to let us know he was going to hospital again.
But then, the hospital would release him.
Usually it was after a psychotic episode and while he was still clearly drug-affected, and he’d walk home from the hospital at 2am.
We’d pay a psychologist $200 to $300 per hour to tell us he needed rehabilitation, only for him to be rejected into our care when the hour was up.
And the bills kept coming, even when he was at home. And when that was the case, things around the house would start to go missing.
So we’d suffer the pain of having to kick him out again, and the guilt would come. We know he often has nowhere to stay, no regular meals, and ready access to more meth.
When the front door would close, we’d often wonder when we’d get the phone call to tell us he was dead.
Sometimes, I catch myself thinking what I’ve done so wrong for this to happen to our family. We’re tough, we have gone through our ups and downs, but we stick together.
It hasn’t been easy and it’s still not over. It won’t be for awhile, and when people tell me to call a helpline, I want to tell them that’s not what we need.
We need a physical intervention that would give our son the treatment he needed for however long it takes. All we want is to bring our son, our baby, back to us.
Most would not understand, and some would be tough and say: «I would have kicked him out long ago.»
I understand, but he is our boy and all we want to do is save him – and if that doesn’t work at least we would have the comfort of knowing we tried.
But, personally, sometimes I get tired.
Murray Kinnane is a Perth father who has campaigned for an overhaul of how the WA judicial system treats drug addicts.