Amelia's life became unbearable because it was dominated by the behaviour of her son, who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She suffered extreme violence at his hands is now receiving counselling treatment at The Living Room for her co-dependency.

I had never heard of The Living Room before but I was so desperate for help with my son's behaviour that I decided to tap into the internet to see if I could find some help for him. I explained the situation I found myself in and was invited to come the next day for an assessment and to experience the friends and family or carers group. I had never met anyone in my situation before so was very surprised to be welcomed by two councillors and ten other people trying to cope with similar problems to mine i.e. living with people suffering from full blown substance addictions.

I sat very quietly and listened as the various members of the group recounted what had gone on for them in the past week and how they had dealt with the addict in their life and themselves. This was an eye-opener for me, was I contributing to my son's aggression, violence, addiction? It seems that was very much the case.

Then it was my turn to "open up" as to why I was there. Ten years ago after my son's relationship acrimoniously fell apart, my son asked us if he could stay until he "sorted himself out".  My husband and I readily agreed as loving, caring and concerned parents. We knew this would be difficult as our son was volatile, emotionally unstable and drank heavily. At that time, we weren't aware he was also a cocaine addict.

Life became very oppressed, I was walking on eggshells all the time. I felt very threatened by my son most of the time. I kept my house and car keys on my person at all times, in case I had to flee the house in a hurry, my mobile phone was always at hand in case I needed help or had to call the police. I was anxious all the time.

At the end of my first day at The Living Room, I knew I needed to put up some "boundaries", start saying no, start to get tough. Why not? Things couldn't get much worse.