Empowering Families


My Commitment to Our Children

I am committed to reversing the devastating effect of

drug abuse on our children and our society in general.

 I believe that the best way to do that is to include the family

in the recovery process, and to treat drug addiction

as that which the AMA has said it is – 

‘A Medical Illness’

I do not believe in a phony War on Drugs –

The chief accomplishment of which has been to:

Incarcerate or kill our children.

Our Children Are Not Expendable!





One of the greatest fears we face as parents is the premature death of our child. 

Be it death through illness, suicide, a motor-vehicle crash or some other trauma, this fear remains often dormant in our subconscious mind. 

The fear that we may lose our child to drugs is particularly prominent in our society.  This fear is enhanced by the media and also by our politicians.  They tell us that there is an ongoing “war against drugs.”  (Sadly, the lines become blurred and at times this war becomes a war against our own children.) 

When we discover our child is using illicit drugs what can be done?  Where can one get help?  To whom can we turn? 

When I became medical officer to the Detoxification unit at the Gold Coast Hospital in the 1980’s I discovered that I needed a lot of assistance to help my patients.  There were very few medical experts in the field of addiction. 

In time I found that a wealth of information and expertise was present within the community of recovering alcoholics and addicts and those members of their family who had also suffered. Sue Koningen is one such expert. Since 1995, Sue has assisted over 700 families.


Parents and relatives of drug affected children referred from Fairhaven Salvation Army and Mirakai on the Gold Coast have also benefited. 

Sue has the understanding and the practical knowledge gained by walking the long and arduous path of personal suffering.  “Empowering Families” is a map of this pathway. 

Sue’s program is designed to give insight into the destructive behavior that we as parents demonstrate to our children. It explains and clarifies the paradox “to help another you first must help yourself.” “Empowering Families” illustrates how to re-establish and maintain communication.  It describes boundaries and the formulae for setting boundaries so that you are able to effectively indicate your dislike for certain destructive behaviors whilst still communicating your love.


By confronting and overcoming her own fear, Sue has provided a means for others to walk this path with safety, reassurance and compassion.


I commend to you “Empowering Families” by Sue Koningen.


Graham Sivyer.  MBBS (hons) Dip. RACOG FRACGP AMSAD (cert)

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