A recovering addict’s story

Amy should’ve said ‘yes, yes, yes!’

Over the years, I had been able to bring myself to sobriety but would relapse after a few months.

I had no idea why this was the case.  I mean, I wanted to stay clean but I would fall off the wagon after some time.  I knew something was missing, I just didn’t know what it was.  Countless times, they tried to make me go to rehab and I said ‘no, no, no’, convinced that I could do it on my own.  I insisted that I was fine.  Although I had heard the word, I didn’t know that ‘recovery’ was what I needed.

On the 16th of May 2019, I booked myself into Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre in Lyndhurst.  Coming down from a three day crystal meth binge, my mind was under siege.  Although I was confused, one thought reigned supreme: I needed professional assistance after my 10-year bare-knuckle slug fest with drug addiction.

Having never been to rehab before, I came in with the typical addict’s mentality of resistance. This was slowly disposed of once I had interaction with the passionate Wedge Gardens staff members.  To my surprise, they weren’t judgemental and they understood me to the extent that I thought that the Great Architect of the Universe created them specifically for me!

After being tested for a variety of drugs in my system, the nursing sister dawned a beautiful warm smile – which can be likened to a smile from Jesus to a child, and said: “Young man, you are in the correct place.”

Seven days passed in detox before I – and a few other patients – were in a stable enough condition to proceed with our respective programmes. With my pseudo-confidence mask firmly in place, we were led up to our rooms.  On the way, I could feel the energy of relief as I crossed the well-groomed garden.

Some patients were playing volleyball – one of many sporting activities; others were watching and cheering those who were playing on.  “Are these guys high or what?” asked my tainted inner voice. It was strange to see a bunch of ‘junkies’ and ‘dronkies’ having fun without drugs or drink to aid their broken minds.  I thought to myself, when last did I truly have fun?

Will I understand who I truly am ever again?  To me, these questions were rhetoric but shortly lived after a session with my therapist.

A wonderful woman with an assertive demeanour and the ability to listen, empathise and tell it like it is, at the same time. She articulated herself incredibly well as she told me about the ‘true self’ as opposed to the ‘addict self’.

I took what she told me to heart and immediately began to share the information with all the other newbies who sat with me at the lunch table in the dining hall, where we enjoyed wholesome meals three times a day and also where role call was taken from Monday to Friday by a wise elderly gentleman, who was helped by Wedge Garden to his sobriety and recovery from alcohol abuse.

The new perspective that was mentioned by my therapist provoked the urge to know more about this ‘true self’ that she spoke about.  Fortunately, the Wedge Gardens recovery programme has compulsory lectures from Mondays to Thursdays. All patients are to be present. These lectures assisted me and others to break down the false understanding of self.

The halfway house residents attend their own lectures and have a separate programme.  However, all the patients are educated on a variety of subjects.  The damage caused by our addictions, as well as how to reintegrate ourselves into society by teaching us crucial life skills that may have been arrested due to drug addiction and alcoholism.  Not only were we guided into reinventing our personalities, but also given cross-fit training once a week to restore physical fitness!

Each patient was assigned to a duty.  This taught us to take responsibility and accountability for the upkeep of our immediate environment.  As a result, we were given an allowance by the treatment centre, which afforded us the basic necessities sold at the tuck shop on the property.

As a patient at Wedge Gardens, I was grateful for the AA and NA closed meetings that happened three evenings a week on the property.  These meetings played a crucial role in mine and many a recovering addicts’ road to recovery.

Wedge Gardens completely exceeded my expectations.  Before coming here, I thought and felt nothing for myself nor for my life. The therapists, along with the programme, helped us get rid of the tainted and poisoned ideas and views we had on life.  The step work (when committed to thoroughly) gets us to face and deal with our demons in truth!  The occupational therapy, conducted by a sweet, soft-spoken young lady, enabled us to identify our emotions accurately and deal with them correctly.

I found a renewed sense of self and gradually uncovered talents that I hid from myself and that have the potential to help society heal.

From myself and on behalf of every patient here at Wedge Gardens, we extend a major ‘Thank You’ to Rand Aid for believing in us and for enabling us to find a new lease on life.  For assisting us to a spiritual awakening and teaching us to live life on life’s terms.  With all this being said and experienced, I can with new-found confidence say, Amy Winehouse should’ve said ‘yes, yes, yes’ – because rehab saves lives !!

By: Kamohelo Moalosi

Grateful Recovering Addict

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