Nathan shares his story
“I am often reminded of the innocence of my childhood days and my later rude awakening to the realities of the world in which we live. The turbulence of the eighties in apartheid South Africa and my introduction to marijuana or dagga during my first year of high school. That first experimentation flung open wide the doors to later and more intense addiction. Harder substances infiltrated our very naïve society as our nation transformed with the death of political segregation and the birth of democracy in our beloved country.
My parents were committed to raising us, my sisters and I to be respectful members of our community, yet somehow in the turmoil of growing up, high school and the rebellious teenage years, I got lost. Caught up in the confusion and frustration of my outspoken free spiritedness, I allowed myself too often to be easily influenced.
The failure of my marriage in my mid-twenties plunged me into a downward spiral rendering me emotionally vulnerable and setting the stage for extensive drug abuse.
The year was 1994.
Twelve years later, I would wash out onto the street, an exiled and homeless drug addict. Bound in this lifestyle of addiction I would live on the streets of Muizenberg for five years, until a near fatal accident shook me to my senses in the year 2010.
It had become clear to me that the road that I was traveling could and would end in one of three destinations marked out in bold print which read, Death, Prison, Asylum.
Reflecting on those years, I realize now that apart from the grace of God, I could very easily have ended up on one of those pathways.
The echo of that old negro spiritual, free at last, free at last,still resonates as I witness the many suffering in active substance addiction.
Over the years my dignity and self respect has been restored and I am thankful also, though challenging as it has been, for the many safe houses, havens or shelters.
Places such as The Carpenter’s Shop provide an opportunity for many to again take on the responsibility of life. Having a bed to sleep in, a warm meal and a hot shower is a blessing when you have not had it for sometime.
So as my journey continues, I am hopeful that the small ways in which I can share and encourage others struggling in addiction, will be the seeds sown that will eventually take root and flourish, producing a bountiful harvest as one life story touches another life , as we all intensify the offensive in our battle against our common foe, drug addiction and
Nathan is a former resident of Geoff Burton House, He enjoys poetry and while he was with The Hope Exchange he participated in an off-site program called Life-Righting, where he wrote about his life and experiences and observations in prose and poetry. His work has been published in Life Righting Anthology.