The Faces of drugs in South Africa Part 2: Recovery– There are so many choices and routes to recovery in South Africa, as I could imagine there is anywhere else in the world. In this respect I suppose it’s universal. I read somewhere I can’t remember, when or where, but the concept of rehab started in Texas or some southern state in the 1950s. I could imagine that this is the most popular route to recovery anywhere in the world.
I’m limited to my experiences, but living in Cape Town, South Africa this is it. I mostly know what has worked for me, and adversely what hasn’t worked. What I know for sure is that you can take any steps to conquer addiction, you can go anywhere to escape and heal. But, one thing will always ring true, if you don’t really want to quit drugs or alcohol, if you’re doing it for someone else, or if you are simply trying to run away from issues: Nothing you do is going to be affective.
So to start my journey of recovery in South Africa, I went to a very popular, high end rehab facility in 2012. I won’t state any names (for legalities), but let’s just say that it’s in Houtbay of Cape Town. I went there with the attitude that I was just going to take a break from drugs and was going to escape my uncontrollable situation for a bit. When it was all done and over I would return to my old ways and see if I could do drugs a little more successfully. This must sound oddly familiar to many others situations in addiction recovery, too. So, the result being that I spent tons of money, there was no real growth and I had a much bigger drug problem than what I initially started with.
Most of the people that you encounter at these facilities don’t want to be there either. At this stage people are all in a heavy state of denial, from my experience. When you get closer to the end of your term in rehab you start singing a different tune. Now the situation has turned and you’ve been extremely indoctrinated, not to mention to have become cosy with your insulated environment. Then you’re only to be released back out into the real world with a false sense hope. (From my experience)
After rehab there is NA which people are advised to attend to keep on the straight and narrow and cope with addiction or rather post addiction in everyday life.
I have been to NA twice since I’ve been clean now. I went once, two weeks into my recovery and the second time roughly three weeks ago. People seem so depressed and full of angst, they all complain about having to do service and follow the twelve steps. But, they have to do these important things because it’s the only thing that keeps them clean at this point in their lives.
Whereas this may be true, I disagree to a certain degree. I think that you can stay clean by choosing to stay clean yourself. By choosing to lead a better life, by realizing that service isn’t something that you need to do to stay clean, but rather that service is something you should do because it helps you while also helps others. You never know the change you can make by just doing something so small for someone else. The satisfaction and true joy you could experience by sacrificing yourself in service for others with a similar problem is unreal.
But there is a reason I find programs to be rather unsuccessful. And that is if the actual choice you are choosing to be completely clean isn’t your own and not for the right reasons, it won’t work. I’m also of the opinion that recovery is not by avoiding people, places, and things. How do you overcome if you hide away in the background.
I made the choice to come clean. When I knew I was strong enough I started going to the same places, seeing the same people, and doing the same things I used to. Not because I wanted to do drugs again, but rather because I wanted to set myself free. Why? Because sooner or later no matter where you hide you will stumble into the wrong situation. It’s how you confront it while being sober that matters. Remember do the right thing, but no matter what stay clean!
Recovery is evolution, its not about avoiding, its about becoming a normal person who can function like others and not give in to addiction. Recovery is about beating addiction, because once you beat addiction you conquer anything!
Owner note: It’s important to look through different lives in different cultures to see the differences in types of addiction and recovery. But, better yet you will discover this one truth, as I did while reading this submission. It’s that through distance and differences in culture one thing stays the same. Addiction devastates the same way, just as the same types of recovery are around the world, too. This may prove two things. We may need to reexamine our routes of recovery if addiction is still proving as devastating as it is. And secondly, this is a humanly struggle and we are not alone!
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