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A Conversation on Drugs With A Recovering Addict

23 Jan
  1. Hi…I ruined my life with drugs. I used to live in Cape Town and was injecting crystal meth and heroin at a terrifying and destructive rate. Two years in privatae and very expensive rehabs did not help much I relapsed and my using got even worse. In and out of rehabs and then one day I just decided that it was over.
    I managed to remain clean for a few years but eventually I just had to inject again. To get that feeling again. I overdosed really badly on a combination of tick and heroin and came very close to dying, but somehow pulled through. Now I am just a shell. Something inside me has finally cracked after years of abuse and although I have always led a privileged life, there is nothing to live for anymore.
    I cannot maintain any friendships with people. I have no interest in life and although I am not using, I know I am deep in active addiction.
    The damages of my addiction are astronomical. I don’t wish them on anyone. I wish people could see this once talented musician that I was destroy his life to such a point. Perhaps they would heed the warning then.
    My brain, lungs and veins are totally destroyed. I suffer psychologically and emotionally every second of my life. I may not look like a person who has lost his home and everything material in his life…but the crippling inability to live is slowly making suicide the only viable option.
    This is not self pity nor a cry for help. The inevitable will surely happen. And to think my career as drug addict started with cigarettes and pot…
    Be careful out there. And if your kids are using, do your utmost to impress on them the hopelessness of their life eventually.
    Even if you recover, you will never truly be yourself again. It’s a lie.
    I am alive, yes…. But do I live? Do I have aspirations and dreams? No they have been eroded by the toxic and nefarious substances I used to inject on a daily basis.
    When you look at a tree you see something green, full of life and promise…I just see something grey and hopeless…I truly hope that you don’t ever have to live is hell that is my life…don’t ever even start smoking…it’s not fucking cool!!! it’s idiotic and filthy! And you will be too….

    • Hi The L- I wish you love:)
      You have explained so well why one speaks about a recovering addict and not a recovered addict.
      I am sorry that you suffer so deeply. I am also impressed that you are not using,
      Have you tried seeing a good psychologist on a regular basis? They can help with perception and behaviour change- especially with someone like you that can give expression to thoughts and feelings.
      I am going to post your comment on my other sites and on FB- Equalspaces where I post things that I consider important.
      Please comment / post / stay in touch.
      You have some valuable contributions to make in this field and perhaps in other areas too.
      You are important.

    • Theodor- just to say that I get that you are not looking for pity or crying out for help.
      Still, one can talk about what may be available or how you could help.
      I would like photos of you and links to your music.

  2. Thank You so much for your encouraging response:)
    I am currently traveling and will see someone long term when I get back.
    If you do post on other forums, please keep my name off the post? Thank you very much. I would like to remain anonymous.
    Thank You:)

    • Do you know that this post is SA and the world’s most favourite post on my blog?
      Chat my friend: Let loose. Even when no one comments, they read…

    • I have a sister in law at Stellenbosch University Psychologist. And then there is a guy at UWC. One could ask them for references- perhaps the UWC clinic would even see you and you could donate. It is just about getting away from the moneymakers that counsel one till it comes out the ears but nothing happens. Next bit separate.

    • When I was very ill- terminal really- sort of twice the experiences on return were different.
      With the birth of my son, I had my hands full- too busy to ponder the experience I had and the changes wrought
      The next one left me with that emptiness- what am I supposed to do now stuff- I see deeper and further than those around me, I have unloaded and now I must load up again, I was free and now I am becoming bonded again.
      All this stuff hey!
      How do I fit into a world with values different to mine…
      Ooh- I do not know whether you are a believer but I had few rounds in the ring with God hey … and sometimes still…
      You have been through the washer and the mill, you had a catharsis and a battering. It’s all washed out…
      Nature abhors vacuums – fill up and take care what you fill up with..
      Vacuums and bad stuff all go to rot…
      Ha ha- :) My sermon for the day:)

  3. Hi- Would you like me to remove your name from your comments here? It shows you know!
    I wish that I could travel again:) Not been many places- England and UAE.
    A few places in SA for workshops…

  4. Hi…No, on here it’s ok. I am enjoying the traveling tremendously but again it’s tinged with not having a normal life. Ha….how weird.
    I have been doing a lot of South Africa which I haven’t seen. In April I am off to Thailand. Can’t wait.
    Thank you for sharing your painful experiences it takes a lot of courage to post on such forums where can expose oneself of unfair comments and ridicule. I loved that comment about nature and vacuums. It really hit home. I will incorporate this into my day to day living. I think it is an extremely valuable way of looking at things. Addicts use whatever they can to fill that void. So that little gem really gave me a sort of jolt.
    Thanx for that:)

    • Well yes, I also felt that I was not connecting with other people and that the words that I spoke were loaded differently although we were talking the same language.
      But one comes to realize that this is the way things are and that it is up to oneself to work with the peoples speak and to perhaps write and compose some of the fire and coldness that live inside.
      Sometimes they are deeply moved because they only have that particular expression to deal with and not also the source of it at the same time, which complicates matters (at the personal level – at performer level it is a different game)
      Stick to the simple things with people. Would you like tea? No, anything else i could offer? ( your head might say except drugs but not your mouth and if they do, your heart says a simple sorry not available here nor in my company in a loving way:)
      People do not really want to know that you covered the distance between life and death and came back and therefore know most of the important questions and answers,
      We want them to know stuff but we do not have the language nor the socio-economic power.
      My philosophical contribution for the day.
      Did the socio- political and political stuff a bit earlier:)

    • And while I am so full of it today- a poem too- give it music hey:)

      This Day

      This day is new and full of promise.

      It hangs mistily waiting to be discovered

      And as I step into its cool fresh welcome

      I see the path takes shape; full of choice.

      Where shall I go; what shall I do;

      How shall I live this gifted day?

      Distant winged sounds reach me now

      The laughter of a child; a mother’s voice;

      Silence interspersed: A dog joins in and

      Alternates with chirping birds in trees;

      A school bell gongs and

      Traffic now hums almost ceaselessly

      Silence interspersing sound less frequently

      The beat of the day picks up; calls urgently.

      What shall I do to meet the promise of this day?

      © jeanihess

      Jeanihess Blog South Africa

More here-


On Remembering Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial

13 Dec

On Remembering Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial
I am again that child, mere 12yrs or so,
About to grate potatoes for the soup
On yesterday’s newspaper spread
Across the table top.
His picture: striking. Life it says…
A terrorist; an evil man.
Tears well into my eyes
And I wish that I could
Save the paper
If then not the man.
My dad says ‘no’.
He is a criminal!
The paper goes.
The law says so.
No pictures to be kept.
His name not to be said.
I make the soup and wrap
The waste with his words
And face on the printed page-
The whole of the court case there-
Consigned to the compost heap.

Looking back it dawns on me
So late, so late, too late for him
But not for me:
1959- Oudtshoorn
The location was demolished;
The brown ownership area a ghost town.
Doors hang on hinges half torn in the wind
There are no people to be seen,
A tractor with a wrecking ball
Stares at me
And next to it the other tractor
Raised its scoop high for me to see,
My throat shuts tight
And I can hardly breath.
Nor can I move and
Rooted to the spot
I watch the two machines
That will crush the house
I love to dust.
He, dad, he never saw that though;
Never told him too.
It was so painful, just to know.
But as I stood there 12yr child,
And saw what the paper told,
I knew what Nelson was about
And shed a tear or two.
Now too I see that
Dad had to protect me
From myself and laws
That might be just or not
For if I went to school and said:
“Today for oral my topic is
About a man who went to jail
Mandela is his name…

Sometimes we see so late.
.® Jeanihess
This is an unfinished work and a haunting memory.JH

Jeanihess Blog South Africa


John Maythem on Flippie Engelbrecht

17 Sep

John Maythem on Flippie Engelbrecht

John is a very clear thinker. It is worth listening to him.

I hope that the link works.

Jeanihess Blog South Africa

Flippie Engelbrecht update

12 Sep

Flippie is getting on well with his new hands. He is proud to be able to put on his own pants and to go to the toilet by himself. He enjoys feeding himself instead of being dependent on someone else.

He is however not well. The frequency and intensity of his epileptic attacks have increased. His doctors have issued a health warning and insist that he should rest and be left alone and kept away from media attention.

Johnny Burger, the man who allegedly led the attack on him, committed suicide and was buried last Saturday.

The case against Treurnicht the second defendent continues and a third defendent could be added.

Further to this three people who have been denied a case against Johnny Burger because of his suicide, will nevertheless tell their stories at a press interview tomorrow, 13 September.  If other persons were involved, cases will be made against them.

Two of the cases are of assault and the third is sexual of nature.

One girl of colour came out to defend Burger publicly and shared how he paid for her to study in America.

One can not now fully explore the relationship that existed between Burger and her father who took her to Burger for the good news.

One does know that the power-control network that keep the ‘boss’ informed and workers in check usually includes a worker and that such a worker receives special dispensation.

Many answers will emerge as the case proceeds. In the meantime police is investigating the three new cases.

Jeanihess Blog South Africa



Brenda’s Battle (Make Women Matter)

17 Jul

Uploaded on Sep 10, 2010

A mother of four, Brenda is a woman with a mission — to speak out and to put a stop to unsafe abortions. 13% of all maternal deaths are the result of unsafe abortion, with millions more left injured, disabled or infertile. Despite the fact that abortion has actually been legal since 1996 in South Africa, too many women are still risking their lives by having unsafe abortions offered by bogus doctors. Brenda is a Community Based Educator, who using her investigative skills, exposes the dangerous underworld of unsafe abortions that lead to thousands of young girls dying unnecessarily each year. Will Brenda succeed on her mission to stop these practices?


Nonprofits & Activism

Standard YouTube License

South Africa has very advanced constitutional and legislative provisions for Women’s Rights, including Termination of Pregnancy. Girls as young as 12 yrs old are able to go to clinics for termination without consulting with parents or guardians. This is because of incest and other intimate relational sexual abuse which precludes that the girl will get help and support from the family.
For that period that the girl approaches the state clinic for help, she really becomes a ward of the state for the purposes of effecting the termination of pregnancy.
Many people still oppose this provision and have all sorts of objections from moral arguments to parental rights to the health of the girl.
I just wonder where all their care and concern are when these girls are exposed to abuse and become pregnant.
I have no personal feelings about the right and wrong of the girls accessing the services.
We have the constitution, legislation, policies and the services which are accessible to the girls and therefore this is their legal right and their last recourse after they had been failed by family, friends and the community.
People could try to change the law but I hardly think that they will be successful.

Jeanihess Blog South Africa

Unsafe Abortion in South Africa: A Preventable Pandemic

17 Jul

Home › Groups › Gender ›
Unsafe Abortion in South Africa: A Preventable Pandemic
Monday, July 2, 2012 – 13:40

Marie Stopes
Sexual and reproductive health and rights
unsafe abortion

Ayanda Masondo died on 19 March 2012. She was 20 years old. A student at the University of Johannesburg, Masondo’s body was found leaning against the door in her room at the Benjemijn hostel. The cause of her death was complications from an illegal abortion.

Sadly, Masondo’s fate is all too common. Illegal abortions kill dozens of South African women every year[1].

According to the Saving Mothers report, published earlier this year by the National Committee on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths (NCCEMD), 4 867 maternal deaths were recorded between 2008 and 2010. 186 of those women died of a septic miscarriage in public healthcare facilities, 23 percent of which were the direct result of an unsafe abortion.

Although there is limited formal data on the subject, the number of deaths caused by unsafe abortion is likely far higher than recorded since the NCCEMD only took into account cases in public health facilities.

Alongside death (mortality), illegal abortions result in serious illness (morbidity). Immediate complications from unsafe abortions include severe bleeding, uterine perforation, tearing of the cervix, severe damage to the genitals and abdomen, internal infection of the abdomen and blood poisoning. Medium-term complications range from reproductive tract infections and pelvic inflammatory disease to chronic pain. Long term complications include increased risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or premature delivery in subsequent pregnancies. Unfortunately, data on the number of women who experience morbidity due to illegal abortion is also not available.

However, the media has reported on how easily accessible illegal and unsafe abortion is in South Africa[2].

Impact of legalising abortion in South Africa

Since the legalisation of abortion in 1996, the number of unsafe abortion-related deaths has decreased by as much as 90 percent[3] [4]. Nevertheless, there are still serious challenges nationwide on the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. Most notably, the Act has had no impact on decreasing the rate of illegal abortions taking place in South Africa[5].

Lack of data

Unfortunately, the very nature of illegal abortion provision makes it difficult to collect figures on providers’ activities or confirm trends, though increased advertising seems to support that the number of unsafe providers is increasing.

Very limited data is collected on the number of women who die or experience serious illness due to illegal abortion outside of health facilities, apart from sporadic cases, like Masondo’s, that receive media coverage.

What is clear is that the number of women who seek an abortion in a formal health facility is nearly equal to those who seek them elsewhere. A study published by the South African Medical Research Council in 2010 reports that 49 percent of abortions undergone by young people between the ages of 13 and 19 took place outside a hospital or clinic and were therefore likely to be unsafe.

Why do women seek abortions from illegal providers?

Women in South Africa seek abortions outside hospitals and clinics for various reasons.

A qualitative study by the World Health Organisation on abortion services in the Western Cape showed that, “Providers’ reluctance to be involved in different aspects of abortion provision led to complex and fragmented levels of service provision in many healthcare facilities.”[6]

A study in 2005 looked at women’s reasons for going to illegal providers, which included: not knowing where to access safe abortions, stigma from their communities, judgemental staff and concerns over confidentiality and cost.

Anecdotal evidence from Marie Stopes clients supports these claims, suggesting that although public health facilities are legally required to provide abortion on request, public-sector nurses frequently chastise clients, particularly younger women, for being sexually active, for being ‘irresponsible’, and for choosing to terminate the pregnancy rather than give birth. Clients have also reported being turned away from public hospitals because the facility has reached its weekly abortion quotas or does not provide the service at all.

Street marketing also plays a role in promoting illegal providers. Women see walls and lamp posts plastered with advertisements claiming to offer ‘safe’, ‘painfree’, ‘quick’, and ‘cheap’ abortions. The proliferation of this advertising, and the fact that it is posted in public spaces such as taxi ranks and shopping centres make many women believe they are accessing a legitimate service.

Right to safe abortion

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act is clear on the right of every woman, regardless of her age, to a safe abortion. Yet, at least 30 percent of South African women believe that abortion is still illegal[7], which is a major hindrance to women seeking safe abortions.

Similarly worrying, of those who do know that abortion is legal 48 percent do not know of the time limitations involved[8]. The consequence is that women may seek medical abortion beyond nine weeks gestation or a surgical and/or medical abortion beyond 20 weeks gestation – both of which are illegal and unsafe.

Putting an end to illegal abortion

Illegal abortion providers prey on women’s lack of knowledge for their financial gain. There is a vital need for a two-pronged approach to end illegal abortion. First, the public need to be fully informed on who is a legitimate, safe abortion provider. Second, implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act needs to be assessed on a national level.

Steps must be taken to end the needless mortality and morbidity that result from unsafe abortion.

As a first step, Marie Stopes, endorsed by three organisations (Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Task Force, Wish Associates and Ipas) began a flyer distribution campaign. 500 000 flyers, warning of the danger of illegal abortion providers, are being handed out in 33 districts across the country. They serve to remind women that they are legally entitled to access abortion in South Africa, according to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act and to advise them against visiting unsafe, illegal abortion providers and to opt for a legal provider instead.

The circulation of this factsheet builds on the success of the flyer campaign, and is aimed at forming an action-group to address illegal and unsafe abortion. A stakeholder meeting, that will bring together safe providers, women’s rights groups, government, health activists and law enforcement is being organised for August 2012 – interested parties are encouraged to contact Marie Stopes.

The action-group will urgently address:

1. Regulation of abortion advertising

There is a need to eliminate advertising by illegal abortion providers. It is recommended that policy-makers, law-enforcement agencies and safe service providers devise a communication and law-enforcement strategy that would protect the public from illegal abortion advertising.

2. Access to safe abortion services

While 52 percent of public facilities designated to provide abortion are functioning, it is unclear what happens to women who access the non-functional facilities. It needs to be clearly communicated to staff who conscientiously object to providing abortion that they are legally obliged to ensure that the client has access to a facility where she can access safe abortion, in line with Regulations 6 and 10(1)(c) of the Act.

3. Strategic implementation of the Act

There is currently no implementation strategy around regulation 10(1) (a), (b) and (d) in the Act. The action-group will strategise around a feasible and cost-effective strategy to enforce these regulations.

This factsheet was prepared by Sarah Osman and Andrea Thompson.

Marie Stopes South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 422 4096
Fax: +27 (0) 21 422 3927

[1] National Committee on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths, 2012. Saving Mothers Report, 2008-2010.
[2] These include articles in the Mail & Guardian, Health24 and Ground Up.
[3] Hoffman, M et al. 2006. The status of legal termination of pregnancy in South Africa. South African Medical Journal, 96(10), 1056.
[4] Mbele, A. M, 2006. Impact of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act on maternal morbidity and mortality in the west of Pretoria. South African Medical Journal, 96(11), 1196-1198.
[5] Meel, B. et al. 2009. The Impact Of The Choice On Termination Of Pregnancy Act Of 1996 (Act 92 Of 1996) On Criminal Abortions In The Mthatha Area Of South Africa. Africa Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 1(1): 79-81.
[6] WHO. 2010. Providing abortion care in Cape Town, South Africa: findings from a qualitative study. Social science policy brief.
[7] Morroni, C. et al. 2006. Knowledge of the abortion legislation among South African women:
a cross-sectional study. Reproductive Health, 3-7.
[8] Ibid


” title=”Brenda’s Battle (Make Women Matter) “>
Jeanihess Blog South Africa


4 Jul


Take the flowers and run:

Run to far places where

I never come.

Take the flowers and run.

Though fragrant and sweet

You take them from me

They will die in your hands:

You will gather no seeds.

You will not sow and not reap:

Though you take them now

You will have nothing to keep.

They will wilt and wither and die

And your space will be filled

With dead petals and leaves.

You will stamp and you’ll crush

Them in efforts to flee

Releasing faint fragrance

Reminiscent of me.

You will turn; You will run

Your unending race…

There will be no more flowers

To gentle your pace.

                                                                                                       © jeanihess

Jeanihess Blog South Africa