Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

The Ugly Face of Drug Addiction

Five months pregnant, retrenched, unexpectedly single and living with my brother, an unstable drug addict and “runner”.

My pregnancy was divine. I created a save space in our home, reading my pregnancy magazines, writing funding proposals and reports as part of my freelance work for a NPO and listening to Cafe Del Mar while brushing my dog and gently stroking my now big belly (not that it’s any less bigger today!).

I was however, always on guard, not knowing what to expect next. This was by far the most terrifying time of my life!

I lived under “lock-down” just in case my brother flipped; I had to keep my little family, my dog and baby safe!

Often I worried that my parents would not survive the verbal and physical onslaught of my brother. My mother was always in tears while trying to put on a brave face, my dad lost weight and looked like the “walking dead”. My brother would throw his plate of food against the walls, verbally abuse my parents and threaten to kill himself…it was horrific!

At night I would sometimes move my bed in front of my door – just in case he went insane. Anxiety gripped me whenever I heard raised voices and glass breaking…

One day it got so bad, my brother threatened my father with a knife, he threatened to stab him to death. My mother was hysterical. I was locked in my room with my dog. Fear gripped me as I urgently requested for the police to send a van to our house. It felt like an eternity!

It took FIVE police officers to physically get my brother out of the house, FIVE! The drugs just made him stronger, fearless in the worst possible way.

He was locked up that night. For some reason I can’t remember if my parents laid charges, it is a bit of a blank to me.

After the birth of my son, my parents put their house on the market. We had no plan; all we knew was that we had to get out.

In February 2008 we moved to Fish Hoek. We never told my brother. He arrived home one afternoon only to find us loading our furniture onto a bakkie. My dad told him that we were moving. The decision was made. We weren’t taking a violent, manipulative and unstable drug addict with us. The enabling needed to stop!

My brother lived on the streets; he was a homeless drug addict. He would ring our doorbell without end during the early hours of the morning. There were times when my mother would let him in and then we’d have trouble…I had call the cops a few times to remove him from the property. It was a vicious cycle.

My dad eventually helped my brother to find a place to live and he was employed with a building contractor.

My regular sessions with the Psychologist who volunteered her services to the staff at the NPO where I worked helped me to accept my brother’s addiction, my parents’ ignorance and enabling behaviour (at the time)… She helped me to focus my energies, choose my battles, control my reaction and preserve myself long before the situation became so deranged. For this I am eternally grateful.  I survived, my family survived.

After my retrenchment and seperation from my boyfriend, I realised that I had very few friends, only colleagues. My long time school friend, Chantel, bless her soul, stood by me, she stood by my family. She supported me emotionally, was there when my son was born and at times even supported him financially when we had nothing, but a roof over our heads…

Today my brother is a responsible and hard working father and husband. He has been DRUG FREE and clean for more than THREE YEARS. Our relationship will never be the same again. I resented my parents for being so consumed with their church but appreciate that this kept them sane; their faith perhaps was their only source of strength.

I admire my brother for the father that he is and believe that he has the potential to be a great man. He is a wonderful uncle to my son even though he irritates the living daylights out of me most times.

To this day he has no memory of his horrific actions, verbal abuse and physical abuse towards my parents.

Illegal drugs will never be your friend! I’ve seen it destroy families, I’ve seen it take communities hostage…changing the course of history in the worst possible way….

My son knows that his uncle was a “badie”, and that he had to work very hard to be the “good” person that he is today.

Whenever I hear loud angry voices in the middle of the night, I am filled with anxiety, my heartbeat quickens and I listen attentively to be sure that the noise is outside and there is no immediate danger…this perhaps is the residue of the most fearful period of my life…


9 comments on “The Ugly Face of Drug Addiction

  1. Dave
    April 6, 2015

    I read this post with horror, knowing my family suffered like you and your parents did, for 18 years. Fetching me from the cops, from the hospital after several overdoses. I know that their endless care and inability to deal with the situation became tools for me to manipulate and force them to enable my drug use. I am on the brink of 3 years’ sober; my mother never lived to see me find this peace. My siblings and I live very far apart. I do therapy once a week and try to rebuild the man I was always meant to be. I now know that sharing my journey so others can find their voices, take their own first step towards healing is very much part of that plan. Like your brother, I am very human, I come with a past, but no baggage and I am forever moving forwards. The curse of addiction makes your brother my brother in recovery. We may never meet; we share this story.


    • ChevsLife
      April 6, 2015

      Dave, you are the voice of many. I believe that others will read your story and find hope. My parents always believed and never gave up hope. I will share your blog with my brother when I see him again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave
        April 6, 2015

        Thanks. It is inspiring to hear of another recovering addict’s success.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. survivingjonkersville
    May 21, 2015

    Reading this gave me some more insight on what families of addicts go through. My mom has a life long friend who is not even a shadow of her former self because of her son’s addiction. Her husband’s left her for another woman too because he’s apparently had enough of her covering up for her son. He’s about 36/37 and he makes her life a misery. We’ve tried to help so many times but there’s nothing any of us can do anymore so instead we pray. In our neighbourhood too it’s terrible because the one day the addicts greet you with a smile the next day we actually fear them because of the deranged expressions on their faces. What many people don’t get is that families of addicts need counselling too. I’m glad you got yours.


    • ChevsLife
      May 21, 2015

      Celeste, I’m so sorry to hear that your mom’s friend is going through this. I totally get it! I’m surprised my parents are still together, I’m blown away by the fact that my dad is alive – the stress of it all, really had a terrible impact on him. He is such a strong man, and this broke him from the inside out…my mom was in denial for a very long time…it only became her reality when the lady she cared for passed on and her position became redundent. Being at home meant tbhat she was now on the receiving end of my brother’s instability. It was terrifying! A ticking bomb with no timer! I was 4 months pregnant when my brother threatened my boyfriend and me with a hammer while his friends sat in our kitchen smoking tik. My parents were away for the weekend, so I packed my clothes into a washing basket and moved out for a few weeks. I’ve been through a lot in my life, but this constant state of living in fear and anxiety for your own life and your parents lives are on a level so outrageously unimaginable that I still can’t believe we lived it for years. The only way out was for my parents to give up everything they had and worked for so very very hard, my dad built our modest house with his own two hands, we helped him put our ceilings in, I helped nail dry walls to wodden beams as a teenager, only to see him give it up, and start over, in the hope and faith that it would help my brother to find his way out of the dark hole he was in.


      • survivingjonkersville
        May 21, 2015

        Wow!!! That must have been so scary and he remembers none of it? Ouch. So glad Kai was safely tucked in your belly and didn’t witness any of this. Happy too that your family survived the ordeal.

        Publishing my short story that I submitted to Kuier/LAPA Publishers for the competition tomorrow. I didn’t make it to the next round but I don’t imagine a morbid story will ever win any competition. It’s kind of based on that family.


      • ChevsLife
        May 21, 2015

        Looking forward to reading your short story tomorrow!

        Kai was 7 months old when the house was sold in Ocean View, we literally only found a place to live the day before we had to move out! The day of my parents wedding anniversary.

        Unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as just moving, my brother only stopped using 4 years ago, but with that also came a different set of challenges…


      • survivingjonkersville
        May 21, 2015

        Heavy days. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I wish more people would speak up and tell of their experiences. It will show others that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I suppose the pain is not the same in all circumstances but it’s always a comfort to know that you’re not alone. I’m so inspired and moved by this.


      • ChevsLife
        May 22, 2015

        Thank you Celeste.


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This entry was posted on September 7, 2014 by in Family and tagged , , , , , , , .
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