Noni’s Harrowing Journey from Addiction to Recovery

From Addiction to Recovery thanks Houghton House

My name is Nontetho Noni Mathe, 39 years old South African, born in Northern Kwazulu Natal in a village called Nqutu later I moved to Durban and spent most of my teenage & young adult years there, I have worked in Durban & Johannesburg. This is my story from Addiction to Recovery

I’m the firstborn in my home, I grew up in a very loving home, my parents are still married and I have two younger sisters.

 Nontetho Noni Mathe Addiction to Recovery thanks Houghton HouseMy family is very supportive, loving, and I’ve always acknowledged and appreciated but that wasn’t enough for me to be happy, feel secured or understanding what’s the meaning of life. Even though my family was present including extended family deep down I always felt isolated, I felt like I didn’t belong here, not just in my family I mean on this earth, I always questioned myself what’s the meaning of all this, school, work, family,  it got worse when I started working.

Initially, I was happy I got a job at a young age but in no time I got so bored, I hated going there waking up early was such a mission some days I would be shaking driving to work and asking myself why do I need to wake up early and take myself to a place I don’t like and do the same the next day.  The thing was I felt like I didn’t belong here, nothing moved me and meant much to me, the older I got the more lost  I felt, life just didn’t make sense, the routine, I had no zeal for life.

In my late teens I spent most of my time with my cousins, we very close and at some point, we tried alcohol, we drank some sweet cider, I don’t remember much about the 1st time I drank except that we were just giggling and probably had 1 drink each. I also had a string of friends that liked going out they looked cool and did all sort of things, dating, drinking and smoking weed, some hardcore drugs I was aware of this and I always thought nay I will just hang with them but I will not use drugs. I never ever expected to have an Addiction to Recovery phase of my life


We were the “it ” Girls

As time went by I grew to like alcohol such that I wouldn’t go to restaurants where they don’t sell alcohol and I started planning my weekends around how much one can drink. Now and again one will have heavy drinking nights, pass out or party all weekend long only sleep a few hours during the day and be out clubbing all night, we all did it, it was no big deal. All the cool kids did it. We were “the it girls” in town, the life of the party scene in Durban, we were friends with all the DJs.

At this stage I was working and it started to affect my job I was always tired, so this other time we were out on a Wednesday and I kept falling asleep on the couch, so this friend of mine suggested I tried cocaine so I won’t fall asleep, without even thinking twice I did and suddenly felt awake. I fell in love with cocaine, I could go to work and party at night didn’t need to sleep. I had found a friend.  I also had nights when I tried crack – cocaine, I liked it but always seen that it was too strong and didn’t like the fact that I would become paranoid after using it so I stopped. Cocaine was my drug of choice.

As much as I thought I was in control people close to me didn’t think so, my boss noticed something was really wrong with me and I was dating this DJ guy whom at some stage they got hold of him and ganged up on me and I was sent to Rehab, I listened but clearly was not ready to receive the help, I used soon after I left, even forgot the name of the rehab and the fact that I had been to rehab.  My addiction to recovery phase was later


10 years later… from Addiction to Recovery

Still using cocaine and drinking heavily, cocaine stopped working.  I needed more and more, and it was never enough. I used more frequently and never got the high I needed.  I tried to stop on my own but always failed. I worked hard in hiding to my family and friends that I had a drugging problem, people I worked with really didn’t know, some friends did my family could see but didn’t know how to approach me. Trying to hide that you are using is a challenge on its own cos it means you need to spend less time with loved ones or people that are not on drugs. So you always make excuses to be not available.

It got to a point where drugs had numbs my feelings I was emotionless, I couldn’t take a shower without using, I had to use before I sleep , when I wake , I had to use to function.  Cocaine filled a void in my soul for while but in hindsight it made the whole even bigger. I felt depressed, lonely, scared. I was in so much pain I felt like  I was drowing in mud everyday.  Until the pain of staying the same was greater the fear of seeking help.


 Nontetho Noni Mathe Addiction to Recovery at Houghton House

 Reaching Out…

I reached out to my sister ( It was the hardest phone call I had to make), I told my sister I think I have a drug problem and I need help, her and her husband offered to take me to rehab so I went around interviewing many rehabs looking for the best rehab in SA.

My 1st day at rehab on the 5th of November 2018 when my sister dropped me off,  I cried mostly cos I believed I was hopeless and this rehab thing might not work, like it didnt work 15 yrs ago. I was scared and so unsure.  I was admitted at Houghton House treatment centre in Randburg, Johannesburg.  I was so lost and really didn’t like calling myself an addict but I was willing to do anything even though I had a lots of reservations.

I remember when we started lectures and it became clear that the problem is not the 4th glass but the 1st drink/sip which meant that I needed to stop completely for the rest of my life.  I was so upset with myself, that I went to rehab in the first place cos now I know this bad news ( and I can’t unlearn this truth) I was thinking about all my using friends,  that they should all be here to hear this bad news, so they also should abstain like It was suggested to me.

Slowly I was started to understand what is wrong with me. I continued to listen and pay attention but had this plan,  that I will abstain alright but when I’m 60 yrs old I will drink again, I just couldn’t imagine life without alcohol and mind-altering substance.


The Serenity Prayer

One of the Lecturers’ suggested that we pray in the morning and evening, (the serenity prayer) just keep it short and even said even if we don’t mean it, we should just do it. So I did as I was told. This one night when I was praying in my room at HH, I suddenly felt this overwhelming feeling of relief, happiness, I felt butterflies in my tummy a feeling I hadn’t felt in years or ever in my life. For some reason, I had new hope and I tasted happiness that drugs didn’t even give me. I held on to that spiritual experience and started seating in the front and doing everything I was told at HH. I met such great people and the programme was very intense and honestly life-changing.  I suddenly had a new perspective of life.


Leaving Houghton House Rehab

 Nontetho Noni Mathe ex drug addict thanks Houghton House looking fineThe day came when I had to leave Houghton House, I was happy with what I had learnt but I was not confident I will be able to stay clean forever, I set down with my counsellor and asked him what really needs to happen now, the one thing he said is that I need to stay clean one day at a time, not to think of months & years ahead, that made a huge different in my approach.  I went to recovery fellowships (AA & NA) I still go to meetings every day, its 2 years later I haven’t touched a drug and or alcohol. Honestly its miracle! Every day I put an effort in my recovery but it has become second nature, I have a sponsor, I have sponsees, I help the still suffering addict. It has become my drive to help others, it gives me life, I finally have a zeal for life.


Addiction to Recovery comes First!

My recovery comes first and I’ve gained such beautiful, sincere friends.  My Faith to life has grown and Fear lessens every day. My life keeps getting better. As long as I don’t pick up that 1st drink I get to enjoy life and see the beauty that life has to offer. I’ve never been here before but I Love it her. I am Serene, Joyous and Free from active addiction.


Noni from Addiction to Recovery thanks Houghton House


If you feel you have a problem or for  more information on dealing with addiction, drugs or alcohol abuse and getting yourself or a lover one into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

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