This is my story of Love, Hate, Fear, Gambling, Sex and Addiction.
This is my story of Hope.
Innocence takes it’s first breath as tears of Hope Flood his face.
From an early age, I never quite experienced much stability.
At the age of 2, I was sent away to live with my grandparents. At the age of 4, I returned to live with my mom. At the age of 9, I was shipped off back to my grandparents, returning aged 12. At the age of 13 I was scheduled, yet again, to live with my grandparents. This however, was no longer possible…
Growing up, stability was a rare luxury. Apparently, I was the sweetest baby. So then the question is; “why the hell was I being moved around so much?”
I always knew my mother was different. “Why wasn’t she like the other mommys, why was she always so angry?” I would often ask myself.
Back then, I never fully grasped the concept of addiction or depression; my mom’s that is.
I learned to eat with a knife and fork at the age of 5. Mom would sit by the table with the belt, until I learnt some culture and how to eat with a knife and fork.
Around the age of 7, I found that washing my clothes before heading off to school dropped the chances of me being bullied and laughed at significantly. It was at this age that I learned to wash my own clothes and make my own lunch for school. This was my first real taste of independence and it was here that I realized just how cruel this world could truly be.
I learnt to lie from a very young age. ”Where’s your dad???” Other kids would ask. I would tell them that he died, just before I was born and quickly change the subject…. How do you answer a question you, yourself having been asking all your life, with ever changing answers???
I started toying with the idea of suicide around the age of 8. Having broken an iron. I was sure that Hitler would kill me! (Hitler was the affectionate term I used to call my mom). I stood on the rooftop on the 5-story block of flats we lived in and considered jumping. Decided it against it though, because if I were to make it alive, she would really beat me up for stupidity.
Around this age, my mom was sexually harassed at work, falling into an even deeper spiral of depression and anger.
I did terribly at school and I was constantly reminded me of how stupid I was, Often called names such as dumb f&*k and idiot.
When I was 9, something happened that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I accidentally broke a window and decided to run away from home before mom got back from work, in fear of death itself.
I figured that I could live off mulberries and live in the streets of Hillbrow (an area infamously known for it’s high crime rates), sleeping on the tops of trees as shelter. This didn’t work out too great, after the third day of sleeping in the street; I found that mulberries aren’t as nourishing as I had thought. I decided that I was going to head back home and beg Hitler to let me come home. I had jumped over the walls of the block of flats we had lived in. I was going to jump into the little garden our flat had and knock on the window. I got home and peered through her bedroom window. There she was.
Lying in bed.
That’s when it suddenly hit me…
After three days of sleeping on the streets of Hillbrow, mommy didn’t come looking for me.
I was now shipped off to my grandparents.
My life had made a complete 180 shift. From pretty much having to look after myself, to insanely strict and with religion enforced with an iron fist. On the bright side, I started doing very well academically.
I would often find myself hiding and doing extra homework to help pass by the time. My passion for reading also started here. I would hire Library books and hide and read them in secret. I had to hide these book because if ‘Pa’, my grandfather, found those books, they would be burned. After all, these were the devil’s things. Friends, books, television, radio, newspapers all belonged to the devil himself.
I loved Ma, my grandmother, dearly and often considered her to be more of a mother than my own. She would always let me hide and read, letting me know if Pa was about to come so that I can hide and pretend to be reading the Bible as expected.
With all of this though, for the first time in my life, I slowing started to feel good about life. I went from ‘stupid f&*k’ to top of my grade in the matter of two years. Unfortunately, it was at this age that I first started stealing. I would steal from Pa’s wallet and I could now buy all the friendship I have ever longed for. They may not have been real friends, but it certainly beats being bullied and mocked at. At this point, it was the greatest I have felt in all my life.
When I was 11, I came home smiling from ear to ear, because I had achieved a Gold eisteddfod award for a piece of poetry I wrote and so dearly wanted to show Ma and Pa the certificate I got. My little 11-year-old dreams were crushed when Pa brushed it off and told me that it will not get me to heaven. I cried myself to sleep that night.
I was now aged 12 and Hitler was ‘fine again’ so I moved back to stay with her.
A year or two went on and all seemed well, only that I may have to live with my grandparents again.
I now began to feel like a tree within a forest. Amongst all the other trees, you’re there…but nobody would really miss you if you were gone…
Then something tragic happened. The woman I affectionately named, Ma, passed away.
In a world where heroes and villains unite, rebellion walks.
I had now lost the woman I held closest to my heart, my Ma was gone and I was beyond angry.
I hated my mom, I hated the world, but mostly, I hated myself. As for my dad?… where the hell is he?
My mom started experiencing feelings of deep regret for not having been around for much of my childhood. She now began to throw me with heaps of money in an attempt to make up for the lost time wasted. Often working 21 hour nights to ensure that had everything I wanted…materially.
When I first started experimenting with alcohol at the age 14.
I had now become powerful, I could talk to women and people actually seemed to like me.
With copious amount of money at my disposal, this was perfect. Having learnt the value of buying friendship, I had used this to my full advantage. I started bunking school, drinking, smoking.
I finally felt cool. Finally… I had arrived.
My academics were not doing as well as my ego though, with this new found lifestyle I fast became accustomed to, one had to go.
I started photo‐shopping my reports. I knew I had to do this, because the huge amounts of money I was given by my mother would only continue if I “did well academically.”
I also knew that the chances of me ever being caught was minimal, because she would be too busy to attend a ‘parents evening’ anyway. By the age of 15 I was already very deceiving, dishonest and cunning.
I had money, cigarettes and time at my disposal and women loved this! And I would take full advantage of this, often sleeping around with as many women as I could.
High school finals came and I knew I had to study my ass off. This was the one report I could not Photoshop.
I matriculated, doing relatively well.
Roads, paved with stone of euphoric demise. He walks…
I started resenting my mother more and I carried this resentment with me and developed a deep internal hatred for all women. I had blamed her for not letting my dad fight for his son, for not even giving him the option.
As time when on, I found that I could simply not trust any woman. I then started experimenting with the same sex, thinking that I surely must be gay since none of my relationships with women seemed to work.
I studied at the University of Johannesburg. I studied towards my degree in BcomAccounting. This was the only degree my mother was willing to pay for. I hated it and eventually dropped out and figured that I could get my own job and I would fund whatever I actually wanted to study, which was dance. Hip Hop choreography to be specific.
At the stage, I had now become a chronic alcoholic, drinking almost every day when my finances catered for it. The difference was, that it was no more as fun as it used to be. I had now become dependent on this substance.
I first started experimenting with a drug commonly known as Khat n 2012. Having always been the guy that refused to experiment with narcotics, as I always seemed to feel that alcohol was more ‘acceptable’. I fell in love with the drug from that first hit. This drug seemed to “sober me up.” I could drink and party for even longer.
My tolerance for this new found drug increased drastically and my values and morals dropped at the same pace. Ecstasy, rock, crack, basically anything I could get my hands on, went either down my mouth or up my nostril.
In February 2014, something happened that would change the course of my life. Forever.
After a night of partying, my friends felt it was time to go home. I, on the other hand, felt otherwise. I insisted on staying at the club. I met this Doctor, he was an anesthetist.
He tells me that we could carry on partying at his place. He had alcohol and loads more drugs. What more could I have asked for. In my inebriated state, I got in his car and off we went to his place.
When we got there, I slowly started sobering up and something felt incredibly wrong when I realized that there were two more men that I was not told about, upstairs. I tell him that I’m calling a cab home and that I did not feel comfortable.
He managed to calm me down and offered me called ‘liquid ecstasy’. Wow, liquid ecstasy, I thought. I later found out that this was a substance known as GHB.
I recall him dropping 7 ml from a syringe into a glass and telling me to drink it very quickly, because it burned…
Within seconds, I had lost all control. I had desperately tried to gain back any control I had over my legs, my body, my head. Within a few seconds, I blacked out…
The following morning I had woken up on the side of a highway. It then hit me hard. I was gang raped.
Life had now become one big isolation chamber; my hatred was now shared for all of humanity.
Drugs and Alcohol was not longer fun. They had now become a means of survival. Often sitting alone in my room, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and snorting even more Khat. I wanted to feel numb and they did exactly that… for then…
I couldn’t keep this life a secret of mine a secret any longer. My drug and alcohol consumption had spiraled out of control. My job was greatly affected by these deadly habits and after months of close calls. I finally manipulated my way into my first rehabilitation treatment. Like my addiction, I had become a cunning, baffling and powerful manipulator.
I went into treatment in October 2014. I entered treatment for the first time, never fully surrendering and still to proud to ask for help. I had kept the rape a secret and pretended it had never existed.
I came out of treatment and managed to stay clean for a few months, but had no real quality of life; I had refused to work any spiritual program and was still too proud to ask for help.
On the 13th of January 2015 I relapsed. I relapsed hard! I had made up for all lost time without my only comforts, alcohol and narcotics.
On this day, ALL my past demons had crept up on me, with an overwhelming tide of depression that came with it. Every single undealt problem, pain, trauma, haunted me.
I had now turned to Chrystal meth, as I found this to be a much stronger numbing agent. My whole family feared the worst. People have become scared of me. I was a walking time bomb and now more consumed in myself than ever before. With panic attacks every 30 minutes, death was fast becoming inevitable. Alcohol. Sex. Drugs. Gambling. DARKNESS. OVERDOSE. DEATH.
On the 1st of September 2015, something clicked though. I had decided to start fighting for my life back. It’s hard to pinpoint what made me decide to give myself that final fighting chance. For the first time, I had made the decision to clean up.
That was the key … I HAD MADE THAT DECISION. This time, I was not forced into treatment. I myself had finally realized that I had a problem and desperately needed any help I could get.
For most of my life, I really had no interests in any form of psychology. I simply did not see the value in it. When I initially started my treatment; my aim was to tackle the problem itself.
I suffered from a deep depression, was an anxious human being and had a drug problem…. That was what I needed to address right??? WRONG!!!
I soon realized that these were simply the problems, but until I start address the causes of the problem, the problem itself will not go away. It might be covered up for the time yes, but it will never go away.
This is the purpose I aim to achieve with Eyes of an addict; to address hard-to-talk about issues that millions of people experience on a daily basis and to start working on these issues. I found growth and healing once I started addressing these issues. Please be sure to the weekly newsletter at the end of my story below:
I will never ever say that recovery from any illness is easy, because truth be told, it never is. I can tell you now, it is not easy yeah, but the rewards you reap from recovery go beyond your wildest imagination. You owe it to yourself to start working on YOU today.
This is my story of Hope. This is my story of recovery.
I have written a poem based on my story which can be found here.