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 Niel V, Cape Town, July 2022 – drug addiction

Liberty House – Niel V Testimony

My addictive behaviour and inevitable rock bottom caused massive upheaval, not only in my life but also for family and friends The difficult decision to admit myself to treatment was only the first step towards recovery. Thereafter my commitment and decision to stay in treatment, to return immediately upon failure, proved to be of greater importance. Learning experience showed me that lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned. It was only when I was utterly exhausted by my own behaviour that I was desperate enough to surrender and accept help finally. I realised that treatment will take many months, and I went through the three phases of treatment recommended for best results. Looking back from where I stand today, I couldn’t have made a better decision, and I’m so grateful for everyone who was involved in my journey.

The journey, however, has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Luckily the journey gets easier as time passes. What stands out is firstly the connections I’ve made with fellow clients. Coming from a place of self-isolation in active addiction to opening up and relating to others is priceless and I realised I crave connection and interaction with other people. Secondly, the trauma-based therapy I worked through allowed me to understand the root cause of my behaviour and cultivated an awareness I did not have before. Awareness turned out to be the most valuable tool I’ve learned because it can easily be applied in my daily life after treatment. I don’t think a person can change in merely a few months, and the addictive behaviour is very much left with me. But being aware of my behaviour allows me to recognise the pitfalls and, most importantly, make a rational decision upon recognition. Yes, the line between success and relapse is thin and boils down to these small decisions I make daily.

Over the ten months in treatment, I changed facilities several times and realised that I will have to make it work by myself at the end of the day. I had to figure out what will work for me to stay on a sober path and live a fulfilled life every day. It was only during my last four months of treatment at Liberty House I managed to figure this out. Liberty created a space where I could start feeling more or less ‘normal’ again, where I could learn to function like a responsible adult and ultimately find out who I am without the use of substances. No other primary or secondary facility was as invested in my personal growth as much as Liberty House. It’s the only place that cared more about my recovery than my money and encouraged me to discharge when ready to go out into the real world and pick up the life I left in shatters. Many thanks to Morgan, Vince and Cindy who unconditionally supported me through the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.