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Dear Inner Circle,

It’s not easy to sit with someone you respect and tell them that you are without answers. It's particularly hard, for high achieving people who in their professional lives, are fixers. An attractive, intelligent woman’s face began to contort as she spoke to me about her son. In due course, big heavy tears dropped down her face and yet her speech remained controlled. Absorbed by this beautiful face, I could see the unbearable pain of every parent I’ve ever heard whose heart aches for their son or daughter. They’ve been to every kind of professional there is, and yet, her boy harms himself in a way that reveals deep, unfathomable pain. His mother would gladly cut her own arms off if it relieved the pain of her son. They have fought a battle for some years and the family all suffer traumatic stress daily, hoping for a miracle and dreading that one day, it may become post-traumatic stress they suffer. Once again I was gloriously useless and a tower of weakness that just allowed this pain to be, perhaps, between us.

“Hey Big Fella” came a voice from across the road as I was walking through the main drag of Kings Cross. I have a bad habit of calling men of all shapes, sizes and ages, “Big Fella”. I have no idea where I picked up this habit and often wished I could lose it. My problem is that I’m relatively good at identifying faces and just dreadful at recalling names. I often resort to coughing at the right moment or using terms like “Big Fella” to hide my mental deficiency. “Come in and meet my friends,” said the voice. I was ushered into one of our less salubrious pubs. My mate was so proud to have me in his favourite drinking hole that he took me around the whole pub and introduced me to every drinker. It got a bit comical when we got to the poker machines as not one of those players was the least bit interested in pulling their eyes away from their jackpots, soon to be delivered in the next single, or perhaps endless, press of the buttons. Nevertheless the people serving behind the bar all treated me with great respect and told me that they know Wayside does a lot of good for the community. I finished sitting with a group of seven people. My friend, the “Big Fella”, was proud to introduce me to each of his drinking buddies. Each person shook my hand and told me along with their name, the name of the poison that they either drink or ingest. One had no drug issues but did have a serious problem with poker machines. It was so odd, that six strangers immediately thought they could be so open with me about such sensitive and difficult things. I left in just minutes but each of the seven around my table expressed thanks to me for visiting as if I was royalty or as if I’d shouted the drinks. I was honoured to be with them.

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