This blog was written by one of the strongest and bravest people I will ever come across. It moved me so much and changed my attitude towards addiction. I hope it changes something in you to.
REAL LIFE: MATRIC WITH A DRUG ADDICTION
I always knew that I had a bit of a problem with substances.
It all started in grade 9 (y’know, when there was an abundance of alcohol and house parties). I was black out drunk every weekend, within 30 minutes of the party starting. I loved alcohol, I loved being drunk and I loved how I was so much more confident within myself when I drank. I guess that was the problem, I didn’t love the person who I was sober. She was shy, she was insecure and I HATED her. When I was drunk she was outgoing, she was confident and I LOVED her.
I stopped drinking in grade 11 because I decided I needed to do better in my life. I needed to concentrate on my studies because I was not going to allow myself to be mediocre anymore. I worked hard and brought by grades up from C’s and D’s to A’s and B’s. I was so proud of myself. For once, I loved who I was sober. She was good at something. I had thrown my academic and athletic abilities out the window when I started dabbling in smoking and drinking so I was grateful that I could at least flourish in one of them.
Anyway, there I am at a club. Looking at all the people obviously wired/stoned/cooked or whatever word you would use for someone high on drugs. I wanted that, more than anything at that point. I wanted more than what my body could naturally give me. A friend I was with at the time asked if I wanted a line. I didn’t hesitate and followed him around the corner to take the first line of Kat. I was hooked.
Life seemed better and I was happier. I promised myself that I would never allow myself to feel differently than how I was feeling in that moment. I danced….oh how I danced. I found something more, something that made me feel as if I was worth something. You know how I loved the person I was when drinking? Well. She was NOTHING compared to the person I was when high. This person could talk to anyone, do anything and become anything she wanted. I fell in love with her instantly.
Back home we went at 7am the next morning, me reeling in the afterglow of the ‘first time’. When I got home, that afterglow turned into something dark, something evil. I was depressed and wanted to get high again. Life sober was so boring now that I knew how exciting it was high!
Months went by before I touched Kat again. My finals were quickly approaching and I needed A’s to get into University. Then I got a Whatsapp that changed my life forever….. ‘Hey Rox, do you want to go get a bag with us?’ It was a Wednesday, I had studied hard that day. ‘Sure’ I responded. I was picked up and driven into the heart of Windsor, where we met with a dealer and I bought my first bag.
I was euphoric that day. It was the most amazing feeling. I didn’t sleep that night either. Because that’s what Kat does. It keeps you up and gives you energy and it makes your heart race up to 180 times a minute (well that’s the most I have counted during one of my sessions). It gave you the feeling that you might have a heart attack at any moment. But as they say, what goes up must come down. And with Kat, the more you use, the worse the come down is.
I started using Kat more often. I used all through my grade 11 finals and even used the night before a final. I felt myself caring less about my grades and more about getting high. I finished my finals and went off to use. I would lie to guys I was seeing at the time, telling them I needed money for this and that whilst actually needing it for my next bag. I started working at a newly opened restaurant in Brightwater commons to make money for my use. As soon as I made R200, I ordered my bag and used throughout the day and night.
I went to this club every other weekend and made friends with all the dealers, users and bouncers. I went to Sunday Funk after clubbing just to use up the rest of my bag and delay the inevitable that was the comedown. Oh, that was the worst. Imagine a time when you were the most bored you have ever been well multiple that by 100. Now imagine you can’t sleep and haven’t slept for about 2 days. You can feel the blood travelling through the tips of your fingers and hear your heart beating faster than it ever has. You’re nauseous. You haven’t eaten in days.
So you start to lie, you bargain, you steal just so you can afford your next bag.
- An intentionally false statement.
Eventually after a few month of intense use, my mom found out I was using and staged an intervention. I promised her I would never use again and we went back to our normal lives. I struggled with normality, more than I ever had before. I was good for a few months but then it all got bad again. I’d use when my mom went away and use when she was there, too.
My lowest point was using at my best friends matric dance and then abandoning her halfway through to go to this club. Needless to say, we weren’t friends after that. 12 years of friendship down the drain, and I honestly didn’t care because I wanted my drugs more than her friendship. Besides, I had other friends, friends that used as well and didn’t want me to stop.
These friends were toxic, however. We’d all sit in my house for days and use. I lost so much weight and looked ill. My periods had stopped and I wasn’t eating. I would leave home and stay at friends and party and use. I even had a sugar daddy. I didn’t sleep with him though. He’d give me a couple grand a week for my habit, and I would promise to see him and marry him one day. Both were empty promises driven by my need to get high.
- negotiate the terms and conditions of a transaction.
All this was happening whilst I kept my grades at A level. Yes, I was a drug addict, but I refused to be known as a dumb drug addict. I studied hard during the days I wasn’t using. I got high marks for all my tests and I would keep it that way. I used throughout my prelims, and as soon as the break between that and finals started I was back into the drugs and partying.
take (another person’s property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
My mom decided to go on holiday for a week. She left me home alone. That led to the week of hell for me. I used with friends every single day. I didn’t sleep for 5 days and didn’t eat. I lost 5 kgs and looked ill. I went to clubbing and partied all day and all night. I allowed a drug dealer into my home to chat with my friends and me. I sold two phones because we ran out of money. My friend suffered from toxic psychosis 4 days into this binge. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life. Two male friends and I all hid outside while she trashed my house. We had to kick her out as she was becoming increasingly violent.
My mom came home to a dirty house, filled with drug paraphernalia and a daughter who had just taken Crystal Meth because Kat wasn’t working anymore. My mom had reached her wits end. She told me it was rehab or no University.
I was taken to a rehab called Phoenix house and put into the 3 week program. The first day in there was the hardest. Patches of my body were numb, sores as big as R5 coins were across my face and back. I was broken. When you use drugs, your soul becomes empty. You do things that break you as a person. I was a vessel walking into rehab.
I started to become whole again, slowly but surely as I went through the Narcotics Anonymous program. I received my prelim results about a week into the program, and I was delighted. All A’s! I started to work on myself and fight my inner demons. I decided to extend my rehab visit by one week because I felt if I left I would start using again. I ended my rehab program on a Friday and started writing my matric finals on the Monday after.
I kept my head down and completed my finals, moved in with my aunt and went on anti-depressants to help me with my depleted serotonin levels. I started a journey of self-awareness and healing after my matric year. I had to learn to cope with life sober, and fix the damage to my soul and body. I had to learn that I am loved, accepted and perfect the way I am. I also had to realise that I have flaws and weaknesses that I have to work on. Your soul needs constant fulfilment and happiness. The moment you start filling it up with darkness and evil, you lose parts of yourself you may never get back. I am not the same person I was before drugs, I am stronger because of them and I am more whole now than I was before. One needs to go through the darkness to get to the light.
I got better because I believed I had more of a purpose on earth. Surely whoever put me here did not intend for me to live and die this way. Surely my life is worth more than the darkness, emptiness and loneliness drugs bring. Surely I am MORE than drugs. YOU are more than drugs.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has partnered with the Department of Social Development in launching a toll-free substance abuse helpline in an effort to increase access to help, support and appropriate treatment for substance users.
The toll-free helpline number is 0800 121314, while SMS’s can also be sent to 32312.