Sanele’s* Story

My name is Sanele.* I come from a township in Durban. It used to be known as a gang-infested area and now it is a drug-infested area. I was born and bred there.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you how I have been helped by the Concerned Community. When I arrived I had a drug problem, and God is so great that He has helped me and changed my life in a way I never thought possible.

I grew up as a normal child in a normal family. I was raised by a single parent. Fathers are very strict, but I didn’t have a father and took advantage of this fact. I allowed the devil to deceive me, to take control of my life and to use me in a way that would suit him and fulfil his plans. His influence in my life lead me to make many wrong decisions.

One of these wrong decisions was to not pay attention to what my mother was telling me, disrespecting her as well as my teachers. We all know that if you do not listen to your parents or your teachers it is because you are busy listening to your friends. There are good friends and there are bad friends. Rather than listening to good friends, I ended up doing what I thought would impress my bad friends. Good friends encourage us by setting a good example for us to follow, bad friends instruct us to do the exact opposite of what we are told by parents and teachers.

I ended up doing many things that were not in my best interests because of what my friends told me. I forgot the real reason why I went to school and my goals in life, and what my mother expected of me after she had gone to the effort of making it possible for me to have an education.

The first thing I did was to start smoking cigarettes. When I smoked cigarettes I coughed. Which really proves that God did not mean for humans to smoke. If he had created people to smoke he would have given each of us a chimney on top of our head! Yet the devil has cunning and sly ways to deceive us and I continued to smoke despite the effects it had on my body. After some time cigarettes no longer satisfied me and I started smoking dagga (cannabis).

At home, my mother had noticed that I had changed and suspected that I was smoking something. She stopped giving me pocket money to carry to school. I was still in primary school at this stage and now had to struggle to find money to buy cigarettes and dagga.

I had allowed the devil a foothold in my life already and now he began to suggest ideas on how I might get the money I needed. I began stealing stationery from my schoolmates. Not because I didn’t have my own, but because the devil had already made me selfish and I thought only about myself and satisfying my cravings and nothing else. It didn’t end there.

Later on I started smoking whoonga (heroin). In my neighbourhood it costs R20.00 a bag. I was already struggling to fund my dagga habit and now I had an even more expensive habit to worry about. Once again the devil had the solution to my problem. He suggested I started breaking into houses in my own area and in other neighbourhoods, which I did. He said I might try a bit of pickpocketing, which I did. He even suggested that I steal from my own family, which I did.

My conscience was dead and I no longer cared about all that my mother had done and was doing for me. I felt no guilt anymore. I was just focused on serving the devil and continued to be a tool for his use.

God’s eye is always on us. I ended up going to jail under what I feel was a curse from God. I didn’t spend a long time in jail, but the time I spent there was very difficult. I never wish to return there. It was a very painful experience and almost unbearable. I won’t go into too much detail as there is no good lesson that I learnt there! But during that time I thought back about all the advice that I had received from those who loved me and all the times that my mother had rebuked my bad behaviour. But now it was too late!

When I came out of jail I was really eager to change my life for the better. I knew that I had to change as my life had really taken a downturn and this was not what I had envisioned my life would be like when I was a child.

I wanted to go and apologize to all those I had wronged, including my neighbours. But nobody would accept my apology and forgive me! I didn’t hold it against them as they are also just human and I had done many wrong things to them.

When I arrived with the Concerned Community I told them that I still had this desire in me to change. They said that they believed me. I had been to many rehabilitation centers for help with my drug problem and had taken many different medications that were supposed to help me, but they told me that with them it was different. They would not help me with medications, treatments and ‘programmes’.

They told me that if I really wanted help then I needed to make my life right with God. At first I didn’t fully understand what I needed to do and how this was going to help me. It was explained to me that I needed to speak to a counsellor and confess all of the wrong things I had done in my life. She said that if I did that, then I would begin to see God working in my life.

For the first time in a long time I listened! I couldn’t understand how what they had told me to do would help, but I was obedient and as time went on I began to feel a change in my heart and I began to experience the Lord working in me.

It was amazing to see that I had recovered from drug addiction without having to use any medication or treatment. I am proof that God really can help a person and can truly change a person’s life without them having to resort to the many alternatives that the world has to offer.

While I was a drug addict my family had lost all hope and even I had lost hope that I would ever come to my senses and live a normal life, the life that God had intended me to live. I had heard God’s word preached many times but was ignorant and treated it with contempt in the past. Even that hard heart of mine was not too much for God to overcome.

He softened my heart, came into my life and changed it for the better. I confessed my sin and accpted Him as my Saviour.

We must listen to the advice of those that love us. Older people know what life is all about and we must take heed of what they tell us. They only want the best for us.


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