Almost 10 years to this day I opened my bedroom door and looked across the room at Jessie, my Jack Russell. It took one look at her little face begging me with her eyes to do something about my life. I ran over to her and lay next to her sobbing myself to sleep after a five-day drug binge. At the age of 42 (2004) after two years of drug addiction, I found myself clawing my way out of a deep, dark hole. I had finally come out of denial and realized I was a crack cocaine addict and while being in that dark place I had contracted HIV. Drugs give you a sense of being invincible and I had become sexually negligent. As a consequence I had to live with my sentence.
I entered rehab being told that I had a 3% chance of surviving the addiction. I had to dig so deep inside myself to believe that I would not be a part of the other 97%. I began my journey to recovery 10 years ago. It was not an easy journey at all as I was in a highly responsible position in a blue chip company in South Africa and risked everything including my life. I chose the route of brutal honesty and divulged the truth to my superiors not knowing how they would react. I was emotionally moved when they, along with my colleagues, close friends and family offered me total support. If it wasn't for their belief in me recovering I doubt if I could have done it on my own.
Four months after I left rehab my closest and dearest friend was tragically killed in a motorcar accident, allowing my addiction an excuse to take control of my life again and I spiraled back down into that dark place. I was there for 2 months back into full addiction at a cost of R200, 000.00 (£11,000.00). It was then that my colleagues and family insisted I seek professional counseling. I was so desperate to get better, but the drug was pulling me back into its den every time I felt I was strong enough. It took five years of seeing a psychologist to finally understand why I had turned to drugs at such a late age in my life. I had been keeping secrets for 29 years of my life. I had kept my sexuality a secret for many years, but the most damaging secret I kept was at the age of 6. I was sexually abused over a period of 6 years. The guilt I carried as a child turned to anger and hatred as I entered adulthood. Not dealing with this filled my "emotional tank" and I only found out how this affected my life during my therapy. I, along with everyone close to me, could not understand how I ended up where I did. Progressing through my therapy was like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
It was during this time that I purged all my raw emotions onto my laptop. I would get home after a session of therapy feeling totally broken. I found it to be extremely therapeutic to write. It was during these five years of therapy that I wrote my life story, "Secrets Make You Sick". It was never my intention to publish my life story as it contained such personal stories and events. It was only when a few of my close friends convinced me to allow them to read it, that I printed it out on A4 paper. I begrudgingly handed it over to them in a file. When they had all read it they were all adamant that I should publish it, as they believed that many people could learn from my mistakes. After handing it to five people totally disconnected from me and receiving the same advice, did I decide to self publish the 1st edition in 2011 and launched the 2nd edition in 2014.
I managed to keep my position as Managing Director for another 9 years and I took the decision to resign in June 2013 and follow my passion of taking my story to schools, universities and colleges around the country, something I wish I had been educated on when I was a youngster, it just might have saved me experiencing what is deemed as "sucking the devils c@#k". I also pass the message on that sharing our secrets and being brutally honest is not as bad as we sometimes expect the outcome to be. As long as you are sincere, humble and genuine when you have done wrong it is seldom that people will turn their back on you.
I could have chosen the route of remaining a victim and almost anonymous to the rest of society, but I chose to expose my weaknesses and see the positive in this very serious and global problem that society is exposed to today, namely drugs. The younger generation of today is exposed to these evils and must be educated and understand the consequences of experimenting with recreational drugs; it comes at a huge price and is not something you can ignore today. So I spend my time talking and educating as many people as I can. Through my book, "Secrets Make You Sick", I have allowed people into a world that is unknown to many and should remain that way. Today I am an RSCI Life Coach waking up every morning with utmost respect for every addict in recovery, passionate about life and know there is nothing in life I cannot achieve as I am one of those 3 in 100 people that has survived one of the worst drugs known to mankind.
Believe in yourself.