Abusing alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism instead of seeking professional help or reaching out to your loved ones for support can do you more harm than good.
In the words of a fully recovered alcoholic, Themba Mzima (30) of Katlehong in Ekurhuleni: "Abuse of drugs and substances like alcohol do not solve any problems in life."
After his mother passed away, Mzima became addicted to alcohol.
“I was drowning in sorrow,” he says. Mzima says he resorted to excessive drinking of alcohol in order to cope with his pain and suffering, until he was addicted and things took a turn for the worse in his life.
His wife left him because of the addiction, his children were also taken away from him and his job was in jeopardy.
“I was at the verge of losing it,” he says.
To deal with his addiction, Mzima went to the Life Recovery Centre (LRC) in Randfontein, which is a rehabilitation facility that is run by the Department of Social Development (DSD).
At LRC, he attended counselling sessions with a social worker. He also participated in various classes and activities that were helpful enough to get him out of the addiction.
The rehabilitation programme lasted for eight weeks and he got a compliance certificate after completion.
“Getting rehabilitated help me save my job at the Very Important Persons (VIP) Protection Services and the relationship with my children also improved drastically,” he says.
“I am very thankful to the Department of Social Development and the social worker helped me a lot, I am still in contact with her,” Mzima adds.
According to the Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, there is a link between substance abuse and some social ills such as child negligence, Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), teenage pregnancy, criminality, HIV infections and other diseases.
"Substance abuse is the root cause of other social ills that ruin the lives of South Africans," she says.
With collective efforts from communities, non-governmental organizations, government, individuals and other stakeholders, the Minister believes that the fight against alcohol and substances can be overcome.
To combat these challenges, the DSD runs various community outreach programmes and social media campaigns that encourage and educate the public to stay away from drugs and addictive substances.
The #KeMoja and #IamFineWithoutDrugs trends mostly targets young people.
There are rehabilitation centres nationwide where people who need help get professional help until they are fully recovered.
The eight-weeks recovery programme includes medical and psychological support.
According to Advanced Psychiatric Nurse at Dr. Fabian and Treatment Centre in Pretoria, Chantel Moshwana, a person has to get a physical examination by a medical doctor and a report from a psychosocial worker from a government clinic to prove fitness for rehabilitation.
“After a pass, they get admitted and undergo a seven days detox programme at the sick-bay unit. These are very crucial days because that is when most patients have withdrawal symptoms and feel sick. We cure the symptoms," she says.
When they have detoxed, they get rehabilitated and also attend skills development programmes.
You can follow the Facebook Page of Life Recovery Centre (LRC): https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1829708573938500