Our Story

About

Why The Overcomers Place?

A safe place to connect. A place to begin recovery. A place to build a recovery Community.

A place to find courage. A place to find support. A place to find a sense of belonging.

The Overcomers Place is a free of charge trauma informed model for Addiction Recovery, focused on abstinence through relational therapy in a group format, skills building and peer support.

The key to our service is providing effective care. Care that develops a sense of feeling safe. Care that is based on being seen and heard. Care that creates safety, so that the survival wiring can relax literally; Safety or Survival.

Connection enhances the experience of safety. So we skilfully deliver tools to help each person to connect to one another, our leaders, and our safe place. These connection points create secure attachment that build a person’s capacity for further experiences of safety with others. This maybe the first time their Window of Tolerance is built.

The Window of Tolerance is a term used to describe the zone of arousal in which a person is able to function most effectively. When a person is operating within this zone or window, they can effectively manage and cope with their emotions. They are typically able to readily receive, process, and integrate information and otherwise respond to the demands of everyday life without much difficulty. And all without using substances!

However Emotional Dysregulation often perpetuates the Addictive Cycle as individuals without a Window of Tolerance try to manage their emotional state with substances. This optimal window was first named by Dr. Dan Siegel, and is now widely used in understanding normal brain/physiology reaction responses, and applied in trauma treatment terminology.

Without care and connection our window of tolerance is reduced and our capacity for community is limited further isolating us in addiction. Our survival wiring becomes dominant. Safe secure attachment enables the survival wiring to be turned off to create connections. Our safe confidential groups build a sober Community

The Overcomers Place groups emphasise peer support and of Mutual Aid interventions.

Our Story

Overcoming is a journey. Our Founder and CEO, Penny Wilkinson knew aged 19 that her drinking behaviour was not like her peers. She went on to build a life with University, Career and Family but in her mid 30s she began to feel something was missing. She turned to the bottle as she so often had. At times she was able to abstain with her own will power when necessary but as her addiction progressed, she realised she was losing the battle.

Aged 39 years living in a beautiful home with a beautiful family, she drank herself to oblivion most evenings. No one saw this deadly killer. Every 90 minutes in Australia someone dies from an alcohol related illness. This was Penny’s journey in 2003.

Not being able to stop and not being able to believe you can stop is a scary place. Are you there now?

Can YOU stop and stay stopped? Are you checking self assessments?

Are you asking yourself these courageous questions?

Penny was asking such questions right up until her last alcoholic drink on 18 March 2003. 
The Overcoming Story began. Initially the struggle was terrifyingly lonely. The advise, the misunderstanding and the ignorance, made the journey so much more painful and complicated. Addiction and Trauma is a complex comorbidity each impacting the other and accessing services that deliver compassion and understanding was a long hard road.

Now your journey is made simpler. Recovery can start right here for you. The Overcomers Place is that safe place where you will find the care, the connection and the community that is essential to overcoming addiction.

Our History

Penny began volunteering at a rehabilitation centre in Western Sydney in 2004 and met Nerida Dunkerley who now Supervisers the Team at The Overcomers Place.

In 2006 Penny joined a group other Addiction colleagues called ISAAC (International Substance Abuse and Alcohol Coalition) and attended their Conference in Egypt, where she was introduced to Janis Feely, MBE, the founder of a unique structured day program in the UK, called The Living Room. This inspired Penny to begin to create something as effective in Sydney.

In 2010 Penny was able to work with Janis at The Living Room, Hertfordshire. Here she met peers who had advanced their recovery in seven months to a level of stability that had taken Penny seven years.  It was the power and synergy of group work that supported this progress. This inspired the program of Care, Connection and Community that now underpins the service at The Overcomers Place.

Over the next ten years Penny completed a Masters of Counselling, focusing on Addiction, Neurobiology and Trauma, resulting in her final research paper on Addiction, Attachment and Affect Regulation. Penny concluded that many individuals attempt to regulate an agitated nervous system with the false belief that a substance can bring relief to the pain of insecure attachment, resulting in a “runaway” addictive cycle.

A successful trial of this new model was conducted by Janis and Penny in Darlinghurst which resulted in many favourable comments including “this is a functioning rehab model”, “this is what we need daily”, “this trial should have run for longer”, “this has given me hope of overcoming”.

In 2019 The Overcomers Place Ltd was granted approval as a not for profit charity with DGR (tax deductible) status. In 2020 a suitable property literally “fell into our laps” – by the grace of God a generous donor made this possible. A team of leading Addiction Experts were brought together and on 19 March 2020, The Overcomers Place was opened at Gladesville.

Even a global pandemic has not blocked our growth. 2021 has seen The Overcomers Place expand operations across all five days and open a second group room with exciting plans to open a further center at Bronte in 2022.

The Overcomers Place is breaking the cycle of addiction in our community, one group at a time, one life at a time.

Vision, Mission, Values

Our Vision

A future where those who suffer from the mental health condition of Addiction are able to recover and conduct their lives free from addiction and become valuable contributors to their communities.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide programs that result in sustainable recovery and transform the lives of those who suffer from the mental health and trauma issues associated with addiction to a range of substances and behaviours.

Our focus is on the whole person and their long-term wellbeing. We apply the experience of our specialist addiction counsellors to guide clients and their families through structured day programs that re-establish relationships, work opportunities and engagement with the community. 

Our Values

The Overcomers Place believes everyone deserves access to effective Addiction services shaped to support their unique experience. It is why we provide structured day programs both in person and online that are FREE OF CHARGE. This decision is founded on the value that every client and their family & supporters should have access to addiction recovery services, irrespective of financial circumstances, health insurance, culture, ethnicity, Indigenous status, gender identity, religious belief and physical ability.

We continue to provide these services to our clients for whatever unlimited period is required. This commitment is founded on the value that we are committed to the sustained recovery from addiction and the life changing benefits it provides our clients and their families & supporters.

We are committed to providing a safe, inclusive and compassionate environment in which individuals can bring their whole selves to the recovery process.