WARNING: The video below this post may shock you. It is not intended to. But there are very unpleasant truths that every recovering addict must face. Most are lucky enough never to witness themselves on drugs. I am lucky enough not to be one of those recovering addicts…I filmed myself in the depths of my depraved addiction.
I can’t tell you WHY I filmed myself smoking crystal meth, other than a lurid and horrified fascination with the thought that I – a lifelong non-smoker – was now smoking the “worlds most dangerous drug.” But I DID film it, and I kept those clips. And time passed…
The story of my healing journey, of coming back to life, brought me to Stellenbosch, and in my work, I tell my story openly, with no holds barred, no punches pulled, to those who will listen. We’ve even started putting together a documentary, on my life as a drug addict, and how I turned my life around.
Part of that documentary included the horrific scenes you will see in the film below: scenes of me with plumes of smoke pouring out of my mouth and nostrils, visions of my lifeless eyes that are in stark counterpoint to the scenes where terrified, drug-induced paranoia peers out – and the filthy, sickening sight of ‘meth bugs’ – hordes of scabs and scars on my face and arms, the spoils of a war fought between my psychotic episodes when a million unseen bugs crawled and itched just below my skin, and my frenetic, scratching, bleeding fingers that tried to evict these and eviscerate my body.
You’ll also see the change, in the video below, that started with a foundation I didn’t know I was laying, in November 2011, when I returned to Facebook, after a reclusive few years away from the web’s social media.
That change gathered momentum after my breakdown in January 2012, when I was thrown out of the house I shared with a fellow meth-head; and more momentum, still, when I fell off the wagon on the 16th of April and took cocaine. It has been 116 days since the 16th of April. I know because I count every day, and some days I count every hour. There have been times when I just have to close my eyes and feel the seconds tick by, silently carrying me away from the cravings for meth which erupt now and then, and consume my every thought.
Life is not an unbearable burden, weighed down by guilt and shame. If it was, I’d not post these blogs and not tell you what it was like living in a chemical gutter – not show you the video, because I’d be too embarrased, would hate myself too much.
Life’s actually pretty damn sweet, right now – I work hard, and work hard at rebuilding my life.
It’s tough, if you think of it in a certain light – but then, whose life isn’t tough? It’s all about choices. Always has been. I choose to take responsibility. I choose to tell you my story. I choose to open myself up to your criticism, and questioning, and estrangement, because I know that the only person I can disappoint, is myself, if I DON’T stand up and tell you the story. If I man up to that, I can face anything. I can survive anything – I survived 18 years as a drug addict, after all.
So life therefore isn’t tough at all – life is grand! I am alive! I tried to kill myself, and failed! Thank GOD for that! And I do thank God, every day, for that. You should thank God, too, for the graces and mercies and opportunities you have in your life. Hopefully my story will be one of them.
The film trailer below, now that you’ve read the story above, is not shocking, anymore. It’s inspiring. It inspires me. It’s inspired others to get help for their addiction. But I’m no hero, and I’m no anomaly – there are thousands of people like me, survivors of a war with themselves, fought on a chemical battleground. Some of us choose to tell our stories, in the hopes that we can persuade just one person to stop, and think, before they snort that line, or light that pipe, swallow that pill – whatever it is – and disappear down the rabbit hole.
I am here, today, because I decided to do something about my life – and so did my family, and friends. If you’re reading this, and you’re an addict, it’s up to YOU to make that change – you may think it’s hard, but it’s not – once you’re tired of being on the losing team, it’s remarkably simple: all you need to do is reach out, and ask for help.
If you know an addict, if you care about them and want to help, you can – sometimes it’s going to take tough love, and a battle that will call on your reserves of spirit every hour of the day, but wouldn’t you want someone to fight that hard for YOU?
Here’s a little intro, into the well of hope I call my life. Watch. Learn. Spread the story, and do whatever you can to help save a life.
Editing: Frans de Villiers
Music: © Les Javan and Mike Hyland
Filmed on location in Hell.
© healing.me 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Get help here:
Narcotics Anonymous South Africa: http://www.na.org/
Houghton House: www.houghtonhouse.co.za/
A Way Out: http://www.awayout.co.za/