I was born in Johannesburg* where I was raised by a single mother in a Muslim home.
I went through high school as a quiet, reserved boy but with low self-confidence. Every afternoon I was sent to Islamic classes to learn and memorize Arabic, with no understanding of what exactly it was that I was memorizing.
My lack of self-confidence followed me into high school. Soon I experimented with cigarettes, dagga (cannabis) and alcohol. I tried taking ecstasy but never really like it so I did not become addicted to it.
The first time I tried ecstasy was on a school outing and I nearly overdosed!
I completed matric with three A’s and 2 B’s. As my family could not afford to finance further study, doubt set in as I watched people with lower marks than I had achieved going off to begin their tertiary education.
For the next two years I worked in a low-paying job and at this time I started smoking dagga daily, taking ecstasy on the weekends and living in a fantasy world idolizing and imitating rap artists like 2Pac and Snoop Dogg.
Later I started smoking whoonga (heroin) out of curiosity, as it was something new in our area. At first things seemed to be going okay. I had a permanent job, earned and income and only wore name brand clothing. But things got very bad, very fast!
In the eight years leading up to 2014 I sold all my possessions, was in prison four times, lived on the streets for up to one year at a time, was involved in house-breakings, was beaten by the community forum and had to eat from dust bins. I lived worse than an animal!
I managed to get clean in 2014, but only because I had my knee cap shattered when I was beaten by the community and I had to be hospitalized!
When I arrived back home after recovering, I managed to land a highly paid job and this new income played a major role in leading me into the abuse of tik (crystal meth). Pride set in like never before! I believed I was the ultimate “playboy” because of the money I was earning, and that could get any woman I wanted. My pride grew to such an extent, that I even started flirting with and having relationships with men as well.
But even though I was using tik, I still went back to smoking whoonga and my “high life” came crashing down. Again I sold everything I owned, went back to living on the street and to committing crime.
I heard of the Concerned Community from other addicts and decided that enough was enough and I needed help.
I came through the gates shattered, broken and lost, wearing dirty clothes and broken sandals.
Through the Grace of God and counselling, during which I confessed and forsook the wrong things I had done in my life I have been set free from my drug addiction and now live a new life.
Having been a person who slept among the graves in graveyard when on the streets, having not bathed for months, having twice had a rope around my neck when considering suicide and who had previously been obnoxiously irreligious, I was set free!
Now I can testify that I serve a living God who has cleansed me of all of the impurities of my past life. I am forever grateful.
* Places, names and identifying details of individuals have been changed to protect their privacy.