Day #291 – #316: The Catch-Up



I’ve not posted anything for 25 days. Not because I’ve fallen off the wagon, lost the momentum or given up the healing – I have been busy, getting on with life.

Between work, work functions and seeing friends, my life is now filled with all sorts of good activity, healthy activity, that has taken over the momentum of my daily count, here on this blog. It was always my intention to reduce the number of posts, once I hit the one year clean mark, but it seems that a natural healing and progression has brought that forward.

With Nanette, in Hout Bay.       2013/01/30
With Nanette, in Hout Bay.            2013/01/31

There have been some amazing highlights in the last 23 days. I saw Nanette, a friend and former colleague who was out from Australia, on the 31st of January. It was the first time Nanette has seen me sober. EVER. This is a big thing, for both of us; for Nanette, proof that her roots will always be here in South Africa, where friendship and family are, and for me, because it proves that there is forgiveness in the world, once you start to take accountability for your past, and responsibility for your future.

I’ve also had some deep, long conversations with James and Sheldon, about life, and our space in it. Three very different stories, yet, bound by our years at Pretoria Boys High and the connection via Facebook, we’ve come to share a friendship that is supportive and one of the things I am so grateful to have. Despite them being thousands of miles away, I know that via the phone or email, both are on hand when I need to chat about my thoughts, my wins and my worries.

Cris has also been a feature over the past few weeks. We recently re-established our friendship, and it’s slow going at first. Most people I speak to are worried about this, and think this is a reservation to fail. I understand their worries: what I have done is nothing short of a miracle. No, seriously. These are not just my words and opinions, counsellors and the stats of recovery from meth addiction echo this. 97% of meth addicts in treatment relapse. There are no stats for people who, like me, can’t afford to go to rehab, and successfully get themselves off meth. The temptation is to say it is still early days – I have not yet reached 365 days clean, and it would be arrogant to say this has been a easy journey that I did all by myself. Over and over again, I have confessed the cravings I feel, admitted that I am powerless in the face of this addiction, and that without my higher power and the support I get from the Narcotics Anonymous meetings, friends, readers of this blog, colleagues and family, I’d have failed a long time ago. Meth still has a very powerful hold over me, when I think about it. I just am at a point where I can go for prolonged periods of several days without thinking about it. I am well aware of the miracle I have pulled off with the help of everyone mentioned above; I am not going to let anyone or anything sway me from this most powerful victory. I know to keep myself humble; to never let my guard down for an instant; to keep alcohol and other drugs out of the equation; they WILL lead to meth. I know what is at stake, if I stumble, and fall. Cris, much as I love him, will not be complicit in that – I won’t let him. He has his own journey to walk, and we touch base every now and then. I am not stagnating, waiting for him – I am moving on, moving upwards, and beating this thing, and Cris will, in his own time, get where he is going. We have too much good between us, to just leave that to rot, a victim of my addiction. I love Cris very much, but my journey is mine, and his is his own. There are points of connection, going forward, and for that, I am eternally grateful – the loss of him, to my addiction, was a thought I once found so unbearable, on top of everything else, I tried to commit suicide. Life without him would be death, I thought, at that stage. Typical co-dependent thinking, that. Things have changed, and I am no longer someone who is dependent on any one else’s existence, for my own success and happiness. I’ve  striving for independence and then interdependence (yup, I’ve been spending time with Dr. Covey again!)

The Next Fix, on Mxit
The Next Fix, on Mxit

Over the past few weeks, I’ve also started up a friendship in earnest with a colleague, Sarah, and her husband Johan. Dinners at their spot are always a million laughs, and it is SO inspirational to see a couple that has such good, clean fun together. They’re truly in love. It is amazing to watch, I feel quite blessed to be in their presence.

My biggest win, though, is the deployment of my daily motivational app, on Mxit, called ‘The Next Fix’, though this I also haven’t updated in a week (yeah, can I blame being on leave, on this one, and just enjoying my time, sleeping, watching movies and meeting new mates?) The app I am hoping will gain some traction once I publish it, and I am still investigating ways to publish one post directly from this blog to that app – work smart, not hard!

Finally meeting Susan Agrella in person...hugely moving moments!
Finally I meet Susan Agrella in person… 

I also hooked up with the fencing crowd this weekend past, which has been amazing. Meeting Susan, Sello and Bobby in person for the first time, it is amazing to find that friendships made via Facebook can transpose themselves into real human connection. Susan and I shared many stories via email, over the past year, and it was so great to see her, chat to her, and just connect with our own very similar revelations about our place in the universe, and taking accountability for ourselves. She is an amazing inspiration, and I am grateful to have her in my life. It was also great to see Glenda, Elvira, Mike, Randal, Andre, Gennady and Gunther again, after 18 years of not fencing. It felt great to be remembered by the team, and as I watched the fencing, I felt that old familiar hunger…not for drugs, and the heady highs and sou-destroying lows that follow, but a hunger to be on the piste, outsmarting my opponent with a deft flick-shot to the flank; a flèche attack to the shoulder…a beat attack to the chest…the moves suggested themselves to me and my old, tired body was suddenly alive with the myriad possibilities of attack, counter-attack, parry and riposte…ah! There’s nothing quite like the joy of winning on the piste. Nothing. Not even good sex comes close!

So, onwards, and upwards. I’ll be posting the day count blog weekly, from now on. I am feeling a little more free from the addiction, but am also not under any illusions as to being cured completely. In our meetings at Narcotics Anonymous, we are reminded that the cure will come over time. We didn’t become addicted overnight, after all. It is a daily task, this healing process, and little by little, I am reclaiming and rebuilding. I dare not hope for that one year milestone to just fall in my lap, though, it will come day by day, when the time is right, and any arrogance or complacency is a threat that could topple me from the wagon, if the temptation arises.

© Dave Luis 2013. All Rights Reserved.


  1. A special honour to meet you too, Dave! I’m so glad the sounds ( and smells) this weekend stirred a hunger – hope to see you on the piste soon! Thank you for travelling all that way ( twice) to come and support us – you really are precious

  2. So glad to see you on here again! I was hoping you’d be back soon. Glad you’re busy and happy and doing well, and best of all, sober, proud of it, and not complacent about it.

    1. Hi there! I feel TERRIBLY guilty because I haven’t been writing blogs, nor reading others’ blogs! But I am happy that I am busy, and busy progressing!

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