(identifying details may have been changed to protect privacy)
Give it a go
"I attended the DIDSS support group in St Albans, Melbourne 3-4 years ago now. Colin Moyle was the facilitator and I want to express my appreciation for how he and group got me through a difficult time.
My name is Keith, and after the birth of my second child, to my second long term partner, in January 1996, I discovered my wife wanted to leave me. This was devesatating for me, after my first child's mother and I split in 1995, this was my worst nightmare. I longed to have my family back together, but it was not meant to be. I attended DIDSS in St Albans for a fair few months and spoke many, many times with Colin, and eventually I turned the corner. So, now its July 2011 and I am very happy with my life, I see my daughter and son regularly and have good communication and relationships with both mothers. I have just spent 5 days with both my kids and have had a ball, we all laughed and had such a great time. For me, family means just that, it doesnt have to be a stereotypical family, just yours! But it sometimes takes some real effort, persistence and of course support from able people to get you to where you need to be. Of course only you can change things for you. I hope if you are reading this, you can understand that I needed support and DIDSS definitely helped me get on my way. If you think you won't contact DIDS, I urge you to rethink, give it a go!
All the best. Keith."
Ahmad 44, Brookfield
“If it wasn’t for DIDSS, I’d be dead. When my wife left me for another man I was in shock for weeks. Kids, money, house, car, friends – gone! I was too ashamed to get help from my own people. My head was spinning with anger, rage, guilt, apathy, loneliness, fear...couldn’t sleep or work. I got so depressed I thought suicide was my only option. Drinking only made it worse. Alone in a boarding house on my girl’s birthday I had a rope in one hand and the phone in the other. Mensline connected me to Dads in Distress. I just let it all out on this poor bloke at 2am but he somehow got me to postpone my plan. Next day I was having coffee with the DIDSS guy in my area who stuck with me and led me to the right services to get my life back. That was four years ago. It is amazing that anyone could recover from what I went through. I did and many do. I have a new partner with a baby on the way, plus I’m seeing my kids grow up.
I am so grateful to DIDSS for saving my life. What’s more, that local guy and I have formed a group in our area... I not only have a life – I’m a ‘lifesaver’ now too!”
“Not Me !”
Steve 29, Richmond
“Not me. No way. Other families break up but not mine. It happened just a few months ago. Hit me like a ton of bricks. I wondered if I would ever get through this. Tried to tough it out but not seeing the kids was unbearable.
Then someone told me about a new support group for men going through separation from their partner or their kids. Picking up that phone wasn’t easy. Spilling my guts to the other blokes was even harder... at first. But I’m so glad I did. The fellas have been a great help. I’ve learned so much about myself, my family – the things that really matter in life.
It still bloody hurts but at least I can see the road ahead a little more clearly...
And I know I’m not alone. In fact, just by being there and really listening I’ve even been able to help some of the other guys through.”
Craig 36, Newcastle
“I have been attending DIDSS Newcastle only for a month but I have been separated for 3 months. My ex is rejecting most of my requests to see or have my kids… I have been listening to and reading some of the horror stories on your website and also to some personal accounts at the meetings. I feel like I’ve been tossed suddenly into this heart wrenching unknown world of the lives, of separated dads due to a sinister system... I am completely overwhelmed and blown away about what has gone before me with others, and what may be to come for my personal situation! Shocked actually. You hear of Dads taking their own life on the media all the time over losing their kids, and well, you tend to become desensitised to it to a large degree, but no more!!!!! I am there and it is real.
On behalf of myself and every other newbie separated dad, I just want to say a big thanks and hug to DIDSS for setting up in the first place, and also for continuing to help us fight the good fight. Most of all I thank you for trying to make us stand up and be proud of our father ship; proud of who we are, and to help us stop feeling so god damn guilty about everything. Our ex's aren't angels and most of them have a lot to answer for, so let’s stop carrying all the guilt around with us.
My motto for you Dads is; We need to be clean, lean and need to be seen, because our kids need us!"
More Level-Headed Now
Anton 40, Darwin
“My name is Anton and I was just on the phone to you, I just spoke to the ex and she will let me have the kids for the five days. I don’t know how to thank you, a little bit of level headed talking goes a long way hey – thanks mate. I hope to meet you next Wednesday; I still have so much to learn along this journey. Ta mate.”
New Hope, New Friends
Simon 37, Nelson Bay
“In the words of a Carole King song You’ve Got A Friend, ‘When you’re down and in trouble and you need a helping hand...’ Well you guys have given me that helping hand. I was in a very dark place when I came to see you guys. I did not know where to turn, not having any family near me and no support group; I was at my wits end. I was looking into a big black pit and was about to jump and then I seen your ad in the local paper. It was like a bright light that was calling me. I did not know what to expect or what your group was all about. But after the first night, I came away from that meeting, with new hope, new friends and a new outlook. Words cannot express how I feel now and its all down to you guys. My little girl Sara is running around me as I write this email. Looking down at her and seeing the love in her eyes. This something that I could not see a few short weeks ago and again I thank you and I’m sure in the years to come Sara will thank you as well. Leon the work your group does and how you help people like me should never be under estimated and I cannot thank you enough. So until we meet again, keep up the good work."
Gloria 60, Adelaide
“One Saturday afternoon I was so desperate to help my son whose wife had told him she doesn't love him and has been cheating on him. They had been married 4 years, together 9 years, and have a 2 year old son, a Mortgage, a house and 5 acres.
I had the phone book leafing through it absolutely desperate searching for HELP and there was Dads in Distress in the front of our local phone book. My son, Steve has rung a few times and spoken to someone. The advice given has enabled him to "keep on track” with maturity and stay rational.
I am an extremely grateful mum and grandmother and felt that after viewing your website and talking with my son, your organisation has helped him and his 2 year old son at least deal with their unknown future. We know we have such a rocky road ahead of us. I realised family can only be involved so much, and this is where Dads in Distress was such an answer to my prayers as he knows the person he is talking to has experienced such PAIN as he is currently undergoing.
Please, please, please keep up the support that is now needed. I've been told 1 in 4 marriages in the age group of 30 something now ends in divorce.
These statistics are scary and while they may be true, there is such a need for people like your organisation that operates outside business hours when dramas occur."
Daughter Finds Dad
Julie 24, Melbourne
“My name is Julie and this is my brief story, from a child's point of view, regarding a child's separation and the loss of a loving father.
It starts 24 years ago, when I was only 6 weeks old, and my maternal grandfather was sent by my mother to our home and proceeded to order my father to hand over all of my clothes and those of my mother. He then informed my father that he would never see his wife or daughter again. From that day on my mother painted my father as being the worst man that ever lived.
When I was two my mother proceeded to get remarried to a wonderful man who would become my main support in the hunt to find my real father. My stepfather had informed me from an early age that he wasn't my biological father but that he loved me as if I was his own.
At the age of six I began to search for my real Dad. Internet connection speed at that time was 56k so you can imagine the amount of time it took for one page to load. I searched the White Pages for what, to a 6 year old, seemed like a long time and I didn't find him as there were 6-7 pages of my father's surname and I had no idea of where he lived or even the state or country.
My mother started to brainwash me into believing that my father hated me. She even went as far as telling me that my father had thrown me on the bed, in an effort to hurt me, that he had called me a money stealer because I needed to have formula and nappies and that he had tried to kill her and myself by running us over in the car. These lies continued to the age of ten, when again I tried to look for my father. This time she showed me a fraudulent death certificate stating that my father died in a train accident in approximately 1993.
Still, part of me believed my father was alive and every day I tried to dedicate half an hour a day to finding him, but sadly my efforts weren't successful. This continued up until my 15th birthday when I finally gave up hope. My thoughts, at the time, were either that his death was real or, if he was still alive, that he didn't love me and didn't want to find me. Little did I know that my father DID love me and that he DID want to find me.
I am never going to forget the day I received the letter, via the Salvos & as the day before I had been fired from work and I was grieving the death of my stillborn son and was on the point of suicide. That letter saved my life literally. I then misplaced the letter, only to rediscover it on my 21st birthday. Finally, in March 2007, I contacted my Dad.
A month later, on ANZAC day, my partner and I were on a plane heading to Melbourne to meet my Dad and my family. Yes, I was so petrified, to the point of breaking my boyfriend's fingers, but boy am I glad that I made the effort of coming down to Melbourne to meet my family. I fell in love with them. There was no going back from there. That was six months ago. I have now moved to Melbourne and am here for 12 months, maybe longer. All we know is that Baby Gal has come home to her Daddy Dearest for better or for worse.
What I am essentially seeking to convey is that a child will always have a special part in their heart for YOU, their father, and for you not to give up. Yes, it might take 21 years, or it could take a couple of months, but there is always hope.
I dedicate this letter to all the fathers who have lost their children, but most of all to the man that didn't give up for 21 years, the man who I call My Daddy Dearest and my Best Friend. Thank you Daddy Dearest. I love you; please don't forget that.
Thank you DIDSS for the part you played in supporting, helping and encouraging my father to take the step to search for me, when I was old enough. And thank you for the warm welcome, support and encouragement, when Dad and I attended a meeting in November."
Support At Last
“My name is Geoff and I have worked in education for over 20 years. Prior to that I worked as a specialist probation officer with the Department of Community Services for and have also supervised prisons education for this Institute. Increasingly over the years I have become concerned regarding the lack of support given to men’s issues and this ultimately lead me to the Dads in Distress organisation.
I am proud to be working with this organisation. It’s professionally run and I have witnessed firsthand how powerful and important it is to men how are going through divorce and who are being denied access to their children. I have seen men attend a DIDSS support group and not say a word for 3 weeks fearing they would break down in tears when they did begin to relay their plight. I’ve seen men who I feared would perhaps not make it back to the following week’s meeting: but they did and even managed to smile. I’ve seen men come in a mess and come out the other side with their dignity intact and reconnected with their children.
Suicide is ever present with men going through divorce and child separation. I personally have known of several and am convinced that if they had have access to DIDSS many of these would have been avoided. I only wished that DIDSS was there when I went through divorce many years ago. This is a vital organisation and my employer is proud to assist it by delivering courses tailored specially for this target group. It is long overdue that a sound, professional, caring and supportive organisation be established for men and it is my solid belief that DIDSS is one of those.”