Living in a world between normality and insanity

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Milestones Jitters

On Sunday I celebrated 9 years in recovery. Over 3000 days of 24 hours at a time. The strange thing is that even after all these years I still struggle around my milestone time. Saturday night was one of the hardest nights for me. Everything seemed to trigger a craving and I felt lonely and abandoned inside. The reality was that I have many friends and those that could kept me company via whatsapp messages, facetime and facebook.

So what have I learnt? Well one is to never take this time in the year for granted and to put things in place when my milestone comes around so that I am not alone and in a safe space. Second is to remember that this is a hard time for me. The week before my milestone was confusing and frustrating. My anxiety was so high and everything felt lost and empty. I couldn’t figure it out until the actual day. I need to be kind and gentle with myself and remind myself that this is normal for many addicts. We all seem to struggle in the surrounding times.IMG_0703

My sponsor has suggested that I write a journal. Something to catalog what happens and what I can do to ease the pain of the moment. So things to put in the journal are the fact that my mood is affected. Not because something has happened but simply because it is that time of the year. To set up safe spaces and make sure I have friends around me so the emptiness and loneliness are so present. To be kind and gentle to myself and take it easy.

All in all it was a great milestone. I shared at a meeting on Monday night and celebrated with a bunch of friends. I was reminded of how my recovery inspires others and that even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I am working a good program and people look up to me and love me. Hard to accept sometimes but that is the reality.

Here’s to another year of work on myself and change for the better.


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Good for the Soul – Part One

So Friday was Madiba’s birthday and the first one without him here so we had to make it special. Every year in South Africa on Madiba’s birthday people around the country are encouraged to give up 67 minutes of their time towards a cause or just helping2014.07.18 - SACAP 67 Minutes (11)_Snapseed their fellow humans. You can do anything from handing out sandwiches to the homeless, running a soccer clinic for underprivileged kids to working in a soup kitchen or handing out blankets to the less fortunate. The reason we call for 67 minutes is because Mandela spent 67 years in public service trying to make the country a better place. One minute for every year he spent in public service. By doing this we make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity.

This year I went with my college to Afrika Tikkun. According to their website Afrika Tikkun is dedicated to investing in education, health and social services for children, youth and their families through its community Centres of Excellence and strategic partnerships. We spent the weeks prior to Mandela Day collecting clothing, blankets and non-perishable food. Aiming to collect 67 of each we collected way over that so thanks to everyone for contributing. With all the goodies packed we set out Friday morning to Delft cars packed with people, love and a willingness to serve. When we got there we were greeted by one of the workers there who showed us where to go so we could see how we would be helping. On the wall was a big chart numbered with volunteers, students and another organisation show who would go to which house in the community. It was explained to us that we would be dropping off food parcels and asking some questions in houses around the community. Then we got to it packing the blankets and food we had bought into bags to go to each home. Once we were partnered with our volunteer we set off.

2014.07.18 - SACAP 67 Minutes (10)_SnapseedMost of the houses there are just these small one-room houses which they divide into two rooms with various wood and dividers. The house I went to was separated like this so it had a small lounge/kitchen and room. The lounge probably the size of my kitchen at home, I felt so blessed. Despite not having much and living in poverty when we arrived we were greeted with big smiles and hugs from the two sisters who lived there. While we were talking to them there were children running in and out the house and I eventually asked how many children lived there with the two sisters and the answer was eight. Eight plus the two adults equals ten people living in the tiny little house the size of my lounge. I was shocked to discover there was only one bed and the kids slept on the cold concrete floor all around the house. Never befor2014.07.18 - SACAP 67 Minutes (50)_Snapseede have I appreciated my bed and covers so much.

So there we were, eight of us, sitting around and listening to the stories these two ladies had to tell us. Afrika Tikkun began helping them around two years ago and is helping them get a disability grant for the one child who is disabled. They assist with blankets and food parcels and with getting IDs and such things. The one mama was telling us how the children sometimes don’t go to school because of the gangs and it’s too dangerous for them. They said if there was transport to fetch the children it would help so much.

We left 67 minutes later with heavy hearts and plenty of ideas bubbling to the surface of how we wanted to further help, like putting in vegetable gardens and such things. Back at Afrika Tikkun we met up with everyone else and saw that we were not the only ones affected by the poverty and suffering out there. Hopefully some of our ideas will lift of the ground and we can help others outside of these 67 minutes.