Recovering Addict finds “HOPE” from rehab in Joburg
Love, Hate, Fear, Gambling, Sex and Addiction. This is my story of, after being admitted and finding hope from rehab in Joburg.
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 yet again. At the age of 9, I was shipped off back to my grandparents, returning aged 12. At the age of 14; 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, of course, 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. At this point, 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
How do you answer a question you, yourself have been asking all your life, with ever-changing answers???
I started toying with the idea of suicide around the age of 8 after 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 of the 5-story block of flats we lived in and considered jumping.
I decided against it. If I were to make it alive, she would really f%$k 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 mom constantly reminded me of how stupid I was, often called names such as dumb f&*k and idiot.
At the age of 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 I could live off mulberries and live in the streets of Hillbrow, an area infamously known for its high crime rates. I would sleep on the tops of trees and this would be my shelter.
This didn’t work out too great, after the third day of sleeping in the street; I found mulberries aren’t as nourishing as I thought.
My first taste of freedom was a total failure. It was time 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 enter through the back, in 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 made a complete 180 shift. From pretty much having to look after myself, to an insanely strict home, religion enforced with an iron fist. On the bright side, I started doing very well academically.
I would often find myself hiding, doing extra homework to help pass by the time. My passion for reading also started here. I would hire Library books, 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 before 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 slowly started to feel good about life. I went from ‘dumb f&*k’ to top of my grade in a 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 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. I achieved a Gold Eisteddfod award for a piece of poetry I wrote and so dearly wanted to show this off to Ma and Pa. 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’ and 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 of 14.
I had now become incredible, I could talk to women and people actually seemed to like me.
With the copious amount of money at my disposal, this was perfect. Having learnt the value of buying friendships 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 newfound 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 butt off. This was the one report I could not Photoshop. I matriculated, doing relatively well.
Roads, paved with the stone of euphoric demise. He walks…
I started resenting my mother more and I carried this resentment with me and then started developing 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 I must surely 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 now being a bigger rebel than ever, I 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 this 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 dependant 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 now drink and party for even longer.
My tolerance for this newfound drug increased drastically though and my values and morals dropped at the same pace.
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 anaesthetist.
He then told 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 then told him that I’m calling a cab home and that I did not feel comfortable.
He managed to calm me down and offered me a substance called ‘liquid ecstasy’. Wow, liquid ecstasy I thought. I later found out that this was a substance known as GHB.
I recall him dropping 7ml 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. A few seconds later, 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 spiralled out of control. My job was greatly affected by these habits of mine 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 the first time, never fully surrendering and still too proud to ask for help. I had kept the rape a secret and pretended it had never existed.
I went into treatment in October 2014.
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, I had finally gathered the courage to do something I was too scared to do for almost a year; I had finally gathered the courage to get tested. On the 13th of January, I was diagnosed HIV positive.
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 now 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. 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 though… 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. Prior to Houghton House, I have been to two other treatment centres, with no success.
I was checked into Houghton house a few days later, after being admitted and finding hope from this rehab in Joburg. This was the start of my new life. As I entered, I was immediately put into a healthy regime. As an addict, one of the first things I started losing was my sense of responsibility. Let’s get one thing straight; Houghton house is not a hotel to detox and remain drug-free during your stay. Their aim as per my experience is to start with a complete life shift and that includes owning a sense of responsibility.
One of the first things that become very evident early on, during your stay is how the counsellors seem to “know you.” For most of my life, I really had no interests in any form of psychology. I simply did not see the value in it. The value in psychology was so clear at Houghton House though. It almost seemed weird that the counsellors all knew the areas you struggled with most and even what your underlying psychological issues are behind your addiction before you even decide to tell them about it.
I followed all suggestions from Houghton House and my stay continued for 2 months. This was probably the most productive two months of my life. I had grown more in the months than I have ever in all my years. I had started identifying the different masks I wear ad why I have these masks. I had identified my character flaws and actively started working on these flaws. Most importantly, I had started understanding why I am the way that I am and why I do the things that I do. I soon started realizing that addiction is the problem. The CAUSE of the problem is what actually needs to be dealt with.
Every 5th of September, I get an extra birthday. I am free from harmful substances and I can honestly say that this is the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.
I have made peace with the fact that I am a recovering addict and continue to deal with the many psychological issues I have developed over the years. My mom is now one of my closest friends and having her support my dreams has been one of my biggest blessings.
The treatment has assisted me to realise my dreams. Today, I’m an aspiring writer, self-published author and owner of addiction and mental wellness blog; www.eyesofanaddict.com
I feel more every day and the ability to feel is so incredible. Words cannot describe it.
Note; I never once mentioned that all of this was easy. In truth, it’s hard. It’s not easy, but the rewards you reap from recovery reach beyond your wildest imagination.
My name is Brady.
This is my story of Hope