Listen: Getting into the mind of a former drug addict
South Africa is one of the countries where substance abuse remains a massive problem rooted in the country’s turbulent psyche and huge social and structural inequalities. Research by the Central Drug Authority of South Africa has found that substance abuse in the country was double that of the global average and that South Africa was also ranked in the top 10 countries in the world in terms of the amount of alcohol being consumed each year.
We are fast approaching the ‘season to be jolly’, but our substance addiction needs to be addressed, because other stats are also indicating the children as young as 9 are getting addicted to alcohol. I saw this personally while touring various schools in the country. Part of my talk on
substance abuse needed to touch on alcoholism, and sadly this was a talk I needed to have with primary school learners, who, many of them, at the age of 13 were alcoholics who thought of nothing else but their next glass or bottle of liquor.
I recently caught up with Ulrich Strauss a pastor at the Lofdal Restoration Centre in Kraaifontein. Strauss was an alcoholic, a gang member and drug addict for 20 years of his life before his reformation.
“As I grew up, I think it was all the challenges I had as a youngster that drove me to alcohol at 13 years old. I had a low self-esteem and didn’t really have any identity. Then at the age of 16 I was hooked on buttons, mandrax and later crack cocaine and meth” – Ulrich Strauss