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Step work in recovery: Step 8

Make a list of all of the people you have harmed and become willing to make amends to all of them.

“Step 8 is when we bring other people into the healing process – the people harmed during our active addiction, those we meant to harm and those we harmed by accident,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

She explains that this step is about identifying the damage caused, being willing to make amends and practising by treating everyone respectfully.

“Practically, we need to start this step by listing all the people we can think of, even if we are not sure whether we will be able to make amends. The downside is that often the willingness to make amends to certain people is not there, due to resentment or fear, for example.

“An important concept in this step is that harm comes in many different forms, such as that caused by stealing or the harm done to oneself, such as getting a sexually transmitted disease as a result of unsafe sex. Deeper emotional harm is caused by striking the most vulnerable places of the heart,” says Griessel.

The spiritual principles in this step are courage, willingness and compassion, which are the opposite of resentment, blame and self-pity.

“When we have stripped away the distracting influences and have exposed the solid core of serenity, humility and forgiveness, we can move on to the next step,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 6

In this step, we were entirely ready to have God remove all of these character defects, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“By now the person has developed humility and can see theirself more clearly. Becoming entirely ready means reaching a spiritual state of being, aware of the defects, but also growing tired of them as the person knows that only a higher power can successfully remove them,” she adds.

The difficulty is that defects are often ingrained into our behaviour and unfortunately our worst character defects surface in stressful situations.

“People struggle with understanding where their character defects end and where their character begins within the complex structure of their personality. However, it’s important to not get too obsessed and rather focus on the efforts and be conscious in the process,” says Griessel.

Spiritual principles in this step are commitment, perseverance, willingness, faith, trust and self-acceptance.

“Ultimately, working this step, the person develops a vision of the best person they would like to become,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 5

In this step, we admit to God, to ourselves and to another human beings the exact nature of our wrongs, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“This is about the admission the person makes, together with the previous admissions of having a disease, needing help and that there is a Power that can help you.

“Two things that are important in this step are courage and a sense of trust in the recovery process. This will help you work through specific fears and go through with the admissions needed. Facing fears is essential in knowing them but, more importantly, in moving forward in spite of them.

“By making an effort to share your fears and by admitting them to the God of your understanding, the spiritual meets the everyday and the ordinary meets the extraordinary, which makes the admission meaningful.

“By surrendering to the truth, you will learn how to build honest relationships, which are very different to the relationships in addiction, which are mostly about taking from others through lies and manipulation. This uncovers the exact nature of your wrongs by identifying patterns and reasons for a common thread – this process is commonly known as a character defects inventory.

“It must be said that without the spiritual principles of trust, courage, self honesty and commitment, it will be impossible to get through this step. Ultimately. Step 5 promotes self-acceptance, which opens the door for further and deeper recovery.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

Step work in recovery: Step 4

In Step 4, people undergoing the 12-Step programme make a searching and fearless inventory of themselves, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“The first question to ask when starting this step, is what it is that recovery means to you. Thus begins the journey of rediscovery. We can use the analogy of the onion peeling away denial, disease of addiction, character of defect and the harm caused to get to the core authenticity of the true self that is healthy and pure. This will hopefully be your spiritual awakening.

“Let’s look at ‘searching’ and ‘fearless’ as guiding words in this step. Taking a fearless inventory means going ahead despite our fear by having the courage to be honest and the determination to carry on even when it gets tough. This is where the hard work starts in the step work… by taking a moral inventory which broadly takes into consideration individual morality, values and principles of oneself.

“The inventory should be recorded which will include resentments, feelings, guilt, shame, fears, relationships, sexual relationships, abuse, assets, secrets and, ultimately, what it takes to move on. At the end of the day, it is about getting real with oneself, like taking off that continuous scab so that the wound can finally heal.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

Wedge Gardens celebrates unity within diversity

Heritage Day on September 24 recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation and this year, the day provided the staff at SANCA Wedge Gardens rehab centre a chance to share their traditions with each other.

“We all dressed up and brought different dishes from our cultures to enjoy at a staff lunch. There was samp, chicken livers, milk tart and koeksisters,” says deputy manager Estelle Raath.

“Staff at Wedge Gardens represent many cultures and on this day, we are all reminded that South Africa belongs to all its people and that we need to build our nation and consolidate our national identity as one of unity within diversity.”

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

#SancaWedgeGardens #InternationalDayAgainstDrugAbuse #WorldDrugDay


The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as ‘World Drug Day’, is celebrated annually on 26 June. The theme of World Drug Day 2020 is “Better Knowledge for Better Care.”

The field of addressing the drug problem has been ‘plagued’ by misinformation of many kinds. This year’s theme aims at improving the understanding of the world drug problem and at fostering greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security.

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

Drugs won’t get you to where you want to be, learners told

Social Worker Rhulani Khoza addresses the audience.

Learners at a Devon school heard on 20 February that drugs are a one-way road to failure.

Zikhethele High School is in a rural area 40km from Springs, near Gauteng’s border with Mpumalanga. As with all out-of-the way places, residents do not have access to the same services as urban dwellers do. Given their relative isolation, learners of the school welcomed the recent visit by Wedge Gardens rehabilitation centre social worker Rhulani Khoza and a patient, who cannot be named for privacy reasons. The campaign was co-ordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Though often perceived to be a problem of the inner city, substance abuse is just as prevalent in rural areas.

Rhulani drew the attention of the audience – comprised of both learners and community members – with his lively speaking style while the patient, with his first-hand experiences of addiction, filled the role of programme director.

“Do not stop dreaming; it is your birth right and it comes without limitations,” said Rhulani.

He encouraged people to find their purpose. “Once you have found your purpose, you need to stick with it… it is a bit reaching a destination. If you are headed for Durban, you need to stay on the N3 to reach your destination. You cannot take the N1 to Limpopo, no matter how convinced you are that you will eventually reach Durban.

“The same applies with fulfilling your purpose and reaching your dreams – you can’t do drugs and hope to progress at school or have a successful career.”

Wedge Gardens is based in Johannesburg and can be reached at 011 430 0320.

Addicts are not bad, but addiction is!

Personal experience with addicts has given Paige Little strong beliefs on rehab.

The newly appointed occupational therapist at Wedge Gardens treatment centre says that she has seen first-hand the destruction that can come through addiction. “However, I believe there is so much more to a person. Addiction is bad but it’s important for addicts to find the good person behind the substance use – the one who has great potential to achieve many goals in their lives. Goals of success and not destruction.

“I have always believed that their behaviour may be bad but the person is good and I would love to see people who abuse substances understand this and become their true selves.”

Her plans for the OT department at Wedge Gardens include using dialectical and cognitive behavioural therapy. “I would love each patient to build up their self-esteem and for the OT department to become a safe space where they can progress and develop.”

Paige studied at the University of Witwatersrand and completed her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy (OT) in December 2017. She did her practicals at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Othandweni Children’s Home, Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge, Edenvale Hospital and even spent some time at Wedge Gardens.  Her year of community service was completed at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. “I completed a six-month rotation in adult neuro, focusing on traumatic brain injuries, cerebrovascular accidents and spinal cord injuries; and then spent the next six months on the OT psych ward, focusing on assessing and treating individuals with diagnoses of schizophrenia, personality disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar mood disorder and substance use.”

A Randburg resident, Paige intends moving to Eden Glen in April to be closer to her work.

Since joining Wedge Gardens at the beginning of the year, she says she has ‘thoroughly enjoyed exploring my passion in occupational therapy as I work with each and every patient here’.

Wedge Gardens interviewed on Health Matters: Drug Awareness Week

Watch the Health Matters video in which Host Dr Yakub Essack talks about Drug Awareness Week with Wedge Gardens’ Adel Grobbelaar to understand the medical issues and signs of drug addicts as well as where and how to treat an addict. #WedgeGardens #KickYourHabit