My Journey Through Darkness

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Chapter 12

Mid 2006

Things started getting crazy. On the surface one would say that we led a perfectly ordinary life like any other couple in their mid-twenties. If you scratched a small layer off then you would find chaos.

February arrived and I told Seth that we needed to slow down on the Cat. I told him that using it at home defeats the entire object of not going out clubbing anymore. We might as well have spent our time and money among other young people in clubs with good music rather than stay at home like recluses getting high all the time. He agreed with me, but didn’t ever really actively do anything about our Friday night temptation.

In March I finally gave in and moved back to Jo’burg. Even though I’d moved in with Waylon in Pretoria, I still spent most nights at Seth and Dieter’s place. I was tired of living out of a bag so I found a nice loft to rent in a house with a middle-aged woman who was divorced. Her father lived with her and she rented out the loft and another room to young people. Her name was Nadine and she was a wonderfully eccentric and young-spirited lady. She enjoyed having youngsters around her and did all the cooking and washing which was included in the rent.

As Nadine loved having us around the house we started to spend a lot more time up in my loft “partying”. I don’t think Nadine was completely oblivious to what was going on but she never interfered.

Dieter decided to move to Germany to go and live with his dad. When he left Seth also found a room to rent in a guy’s townhouse. The guy wasn’t home much so it was also a good deal.

Even though Seth and Dieter had been friends for years, there was a certain feeling of relief once he was gone. Dieter had also started his own personal battle with the drug demons. It started consuming his whole being and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop using. Dieter was a very emotionally sensitive person so in the last few months whenever we used drugs together he would have nightmare comedowns and make the whole atmosphere dark and morbid with his unintentional self-pity.

My heart went out to him because I completely understood what he felt. Seth on the other hand didn’t seem to consider our drug use as a problem. He gave the impression that he was in total control and that he did it out of choice and for fun.

The funny thing was that whenever I suggested a weekend without drugs, he would agree but if I even hinted jokingly at getting stuff then he wouldn’t even argue.

4 June 2006

In only 6 days time we will reach our 6-month anniversary! It has been a long six months and I think there have been many obstacles for us to conquer, but I think you will agree that we have found good ways of doing this. We have used each test to learn from and also learned to leave our mistakes in the past. I have personally learned so much from you, our relationship and also about myself. God has become so much more real in my life and revealed so many things to me, and this has affected our relationship deeply. I don’t think it’s made it easier at all, but forced us to make decisions, which are extremely hard, like not living together. I swell with pride that we have stuck to this one thing. With your help mostly, we have progressed immensely with our choice to stop clubbing also. You have been so strong and strict which makes you a significant good influence on me, and led the way for these changes in me. Thank you! I could never thank you enough!

There is this one obstacle for me that is still very prominent in my life. I continue to ask God and myself why I struggle to let go of the drugs… It has and still does plague me deeply. People tell me I am too hard on myself but I hate the way my weakness for drugs affects us – I only fall apart when I take stuff – and I cannot bear to be in such a pathetic state in front of you. I become guilt-ridden, needy, insecure and fragile. I see myself as someone I know I am not and do not want to become. After every party I promise to try and be stronger – and I keep failing, giving in so easily. I still fight strong urges to get a gram on weekends and resist going out. I like having Cat with you especially and I long for those nights when your guard is down and you chat to me like no other time. I feel afraid that I will never have that part of you if we completely stop taking Cat.

I realize this is a stupid fear but it’s real and I can’t get rid of it. I am clinging onto this drug for some reason and it frustrates me and I don’t know why I do. What am I afraid of losing if I let go? I love who I am and hate what the drugs are doing to me. So why do I not walk away? And then there’s my pathetic fear of being left out… I’ve always wanted to be different and not conform for no reason and here I am conforming for the sake of drugs!!!

Anyway, I mainly want you to know that I am delving for answers, a solution, and continue to soul search in order to beat this weakness of mine. Sometimes I feel like I am trapped in this drug problem and cannot find a way out, and I get scared. But I do not want it to cling to my life forever and therefore I will not stop fighting and trying anything to find my way out. I have overcome other obstacles and so I keep reminding myself that I am able to beat this.

I love you deeply baby, and I don’t have the words to express my appreciation, my gratitude or my adoration of all you are to me. Your faith in me also gives me a renewed sense of courage and faith in myself.

Tonight, as most times of coming down, I feel there are a million things I want to say, things eating at me and plans I have to change my life… and this heavy feeling of hopelessness… But to go on talking about it is boring me and making me feel tired, so I have started praying for a miracle from above to help me along.

One thing in my life that is healthy, brings me joy and comforts me – is you and your love for me! I sincerely thank you for this – your patience, tolerance, and encouragement of me! Each day I find that you are more of an amazing man than I even believed at first! You constantly surprise me in how you learn, adapt, become wiser and stronger all the time. I have never respected, honoured or been as proud of any man as I do you! Thank you for all of it!

20 June 2006

A thief has kidnapped me,

Wrapped in a bundle of love!

Little girl fears and past pain,

All soothed and healed in his arms.

Childhood dreams of fairy tales,

He made all come into reality.

The sweet bedtime whispers,

Bring a comfort so secure.

Blue soft eyes expressions,

Erase any doubts and rejections.

What you do to me,

No words can explain!

I want to stay in this bliss,

Enveloped in your love sublime!

I’ll give you all I have to give,

Make you my king and serve.

Until the end of my days,

My every breath is yours!

30 June 2006

My world in chaotic turmoil,

I run wildly about in search,

For the key to my freedom,

The end of this entrapment.

My life is scattered colours,

Endless struggles of pain,

Journeys over oceans deep,

And now, I walk with a crutch.

I am attached by ball and chain,

Held and tied down to nails,

My limp is clear for all to see,

The mistake I made to put me here.

At this time there is one constant,

A single element of confidence,

The reason I do not opt for death,

Or to run and hide in shame.

You are the calm in my storm,

Beside me you remain, steadfast,

Encourage me through faith,

To walk beside me through this rain.

Even when the cold gets in,

My biggest weakness revealed,

The dam wall breaks with floods,

And I am left in a mess of silt and mud.

I thank you for making me whole,

For the joy you bring to me,

And unconditional love you give,

Making it worthwhile to hang on.

I love you baby… in my darkest moment when death seems quicker, simpler and inviting, you are here to take my hand and give me courage to continue my fight, with hope that I will succeed. Thank you for loving and believing in me!

In August I got an opportunity in Pretoria at the same company Waylon worked for. The position was as a trainer, training staff in car dealerships to use a software application which the company had developed. Since I love teaching and the salary offer was good, I decided to take the job. After lengthy discussions we agreed that it would be financially better for me to move back to Pretoria. So I moved back there, sharing a townhouse with two other girls. After the first few weeks however, I ended up driving though to Jo’burg most days, even weekdays and staying over at Seth’s place. When I left Nadine’s place, Seth moved into my loft as it was cheaper than the other room he rented.

I was happy about the arrangement as I’d really grown to love Nadine. We used to have long chats and I think we bonded quite well. She was like a cool aunt who never judged me but always looked out for me. She’d also been through a lot in her life and somehow we found comfort in each other.

During each move it was always just Seth and I – high as kites. We always had good intentions every time not to take anything because it was hell doing hard labour being wired on Cat, but our Friday night friend lured us in every time. We’d be all sweaty and our bodies would ache and suffer as we carried heavy beds, fridges and furniture up and down staircases.

Sometimes we went to the malls. I’d feel so self-conscious and vulnerable in the mall’s bright lighting, paranoid that everyone who sees us will know we’re high and wired. After a year of doing this my eyes were sunken into my skull and my already slim figure had diminished to skeletal proportions. I used to avoid eye-contact with people thinking that I had become one of those people you warn your children against.

I was in a battlefield. I did not want this and the more I wanted to get through a weekend without Cat, the stronger my urge for it became. The lack of sleep and food all weekend made me slack at work and I often took Mondays off. I would go to work, come home at five o’clock, fall into bed and sleep right through to the next morning. Sometimes the first time I would eventually sleep was on a Monday evening, even though the last line was snorted on a Sunday afternoon. I always took extra long to come down and unless I took sleeping pills or a tranquilizer, I couldn’t go to sleep until my body literally shut down about 12 to 24 hours later. Sometimes I would down red wine or strong alcohol on Sunday nights to just try and fall asleep.

Seth never had this problem. When the last line was gone he would go to bed and fall straight to sleep. I envied him so much for that ability. I would inevitably sit next to him, chain smoking cigarettes, drinking wine and writing on my laptop or in my journal. Sometimes I would get so bored by writing all the same old rubbish that I would manically play Solitaire for hours. I never won a game when I was so wired.

I tried to purge my sick soul into my journal but it wouldn’t help. The only thing I found some sort of comfort in was Seth… or the idea of him. In retrospect I was alone. The battle was mine and he would look at me in pity because I had a problem. Not us. I. Me. Alone. He went through the motions. He let me cry. He said soothing things, agreed with me when I was on a raging mission to fight. He even listened to my plans but he never actually did any of those things. I stood alone. I didn’t see it then of course.

8 October 2006

So much has been said and felt by both of us… all of it familiar and almost worn out. Ten months have left us disappointed and weary, yet also caused a renewed determination to continue the fight. Even though it looks and feels like it’s been a constant failure after the right intentions, not a hint closer to triumph than we were at day one.

The magic, to me, is that all arrows pointing to doom taken into consideration… we still choose to fight, to not give up after all this time as we are tired, but rather, with the last remaining scraps of strength and faith, to get up and try again, no matter how weak, broken, discouraged or hopeless we get.

For me it’s been one and half years and counting that I have been fighting the same struggle… with a divine vision ahead, and it’s my firm belief in the realization in this vision, my absolute stubborn determination to escape the hold and ensure it will not succeed in smothering me, which has made it possible for me to make it this far without giving up. Since December, of course, Seth is also the reason I am here… alive really.

I fear I may have given up at some points, mostly from exhaustion, but Seth and the promising future we see, has given me a reason to get up in my weakest moments. Also, he has made every moment of pain, mistakes and any suffering in my past completely worthwhile. His love, understanding, patience, guts, humility, friendship, upliftment of me, faith in all of it, perseverance, willingness to learn and grow, respect, tolerance, comfort, bravery, affection and all the aspects I can’t even think of now… all adds up to this: he is perfectly compatible although opposite to me, closer to perfect for me than any of my wildest dreams.

I cannot believe how lucky and blessed I am to be given this perfect partner who shares my profound love and gratitude. It is as if I have been given the reward before I even won the war, and thus, need to ensure ownership of him by fighting with all I have in me, unless I am dead.

Baby, if anything, I will not give up as long as I live, out of thanks for your presence in my life. My lifetime of pain, being used and thrown away. The infinite rivers of tears I have shed, for desiring one simple thing – a partner for life. My hope that you would come began to fade, but if anything, you found your way, when I expected you in the distant “someday”. But so soon, in the middle of my war, you rode in on your white horse, to sweep me up into your arms, joining me in battle, never letting go.

The reason my soul is chaos.

A few ignorant, arrogant, STUPID decisions…

Have led me to this torture chamber.

I woke up after the abduction…

Confused and groggy, unable to focus,

Or recognize the walls around me.

The drugs wore off and slowly,

My mind started making sense.

I was in danger – severe – but held in chains…

In a room with no door!

I remain in the trap but break free of the chains,

After endless hours of darkness I found the key to be…

A riddle!

Now I am pondering what could possibly be – the exit of this room?

If there is no door, or any object but four walls and me?

Days and weeks crawl by, I am still trapped.

In the center of four walls, darkness my only companion.

No food or water and I am weak.

Oh wait! Could it be…?

That the door is in the floor instead of a wall?

I am trying to write myself to sleep

Goodnight, goodbye and farewell my dear Cat. I do not even feel sad at all. You brought me nothing but the scars from your so-called subtle scratches, and a diagnosis of seasonal runny-nose disease. How stupid I feel for believing you were just an innocent, playful little kitten, who would provide the occasional giggle when you jumped in my lap for a tickle. I didn’t even mind that your attention was conditional and fell for the purring I thought was a signal of loyalty. You sly, evil Cat! Ten months of hoping that you’d manage to love me and be my equal… as you continue to “playfully” scratch the skin off my bones and infect me with a disintegrating nose. Fuck off goodbye, you lousy white fur ball – into the trashcan you go!

Almost a year of dating Seth Smuts taught me a lot about the man and I guess in the beginning love is always rose-coloured. With time came the real person inside and even though I didn’t like a lot of who he really was, the drug-haze made me willing to overlook any flaws there may be.

I wanted to believe in Seth. It was almost as if I saw potential in him and like many of us do, I was under the misconception that I might have the power to change him. So I spent many nights while we were awake, schnarfing and chatting, trying to teach him things. Like how to stand up for yourself, how to stand up for what you love and care about and how to fight for what you want. Like his job. He complained bitterly about not enjoying his job anymore but he wouldn’t take the step in getting his resume out there. He liked his comfort zone too much… Too afraid of taking risks. Rather safe than sorry.

I tried to teach him not to lie. Ever. He was a compulsive liar, most of all to himself. He measured life through other people’s eyes. He had to look cool and seem alright and drive the right car and talk the right talk. He gave the impression that he was this uber-cool rich upper-class stylish young-professional who has no problems in life. Shame. If only he was all of that. Underneath the ultra-cool surface he had thousands of Rand in credit card debt, clothing account debt and one fat drug addiction. Only I knew all of this. To the rest of the world Seth Smuts was the coolest, most together and nicest guy around.

I tried to teach him how to be a man. How to have compassion. I tried to teach him to have some substance, to appreciate art and literature and film. I used to force him to watch obscure art films and I would interpret poetry for him. He would in turn make use of big words which he could rarely give me the definition of and copy poems onto his Facebook profile taking the credit for writing them himself… always pretending to be smart.

I knew all of this. From early in our relationship I noticed the little lies and his ego-image-issue. I knew what was important to him and I knew he wasn’t anywhere near the class of person he pretended to be. I loved him anyway. I chose to invest in him. I hoped beyond hope that someday he would bear the fruit of my hard work.

He never invested in me though. I was always the strong one, the fighter, the one who rocked the boat and wouldn’t settle for less than the best. He always went through the correct motions. Nodded. Said yes and no on cue but he never questioned things. He never stood up for anything. Especially not our drug problem. Or for me.

Through the haze of my memories, I remember that at some time during that year, I had very sad news. I was away on a training job in Cape Town and as I sat one night, browsing around my Facebook page I saw a post from an old school friend, asking me if I’d heard about Gene. He had died. He had jumped/fallen out of a window on the 13th floor of a hotel somewhere in America. No one knew why he did it but I didn’t care. All I could think of was the fact that now I would never have the chance to make things right with him. His last memory of me was of a hurt so deep that he couldn’t even bare to have any contact with me.

I cried alone that night for my Gene. And I never dreamed about him again. Perhaps it was the only way I could let go of him. In a way, I was grateful.

And Seth had become my world, with all of his short-comings.

19 October 2006

Finally…

It began one hot December night…

There in the crowd of sweating energy,

I first laid my eyes on you.

The lights reflecting the warm vibe…

Illuminated a face I could not ignore.

I was hypnotized and mesmerized, in awe.

After hours of gathering my nerve…

I pounced, pronounced you mine for the day.

A day went by and I looked in those electric blue eyes…

I remember I told you that you were in trouble,

I recall the moment I asked if I could keep you,

’Cause the moment we touched I knew this:

You were the one I’d been waiting for… Forever.

Inseparable from that same day…

It’s never all easy but even with the obstacles,

Every moment becomes better, more profound.

A love like this I used to dream of as a girl…

In a fairy tale where both were equal and humble.

Sacrificing, uplifting, encouraging, adoring…

Ten months and counting, I am still in awe…

By your beautiful electric eyes and love so profound,

The partner that I have found in you.

I remember I told you that you were in trouble,

I recall the moment I asked if I could keep you,

’Cause the moment we touched I knew this:

You were the one I’d been waiting for… Forever.

And so… in my gratitude and bliss in finding you,

Promise to love with my whole being until my last breath!

Thank you for all of it babe!

21 November 2006

These crazy days I find myself in lately… although, I guess the days always seem crazy, only different types of crazy at different times. Thus, I suppose it’s just another challenge with a new face.

We are faced with many trials and tribulations lately… too many at the same time. We are trying ultra seriously to stop the drugging… or just I really… for now. There have also been a few familiar faces from my past which have resurfaced unexpectedly…

Desmond is back in the country and made it his mission to find me and make sure I am aware of his presence, and since I am not in the habit of hiding anything from Seth, I have told him. This has not surprisingly, made him slightly uncomfortable.

I also shared with Seth that Andrew sent me an email a few days ago… out of the blue and after not hearing from him for almost a year…

Then there is this whole Tommie thing, which, through my own inconsideration and negligence of overstepping a line, I created absolute chaos. I understand, and fully accept that it is a mistake on my part and that I was in the wrong to play silly games, but now I have to pay dearly for it has created a definite crack in Seth’s trust of me and a definite shake in our relationship.

24 November 2006 – Friday night

Why is it never enough?

How come I am unable to accept when one good thing is over, and ignore the fact that it makes space for the next good thing?

I cling to good moments like they are the absolute last.

I hold on for as long as I can, yet as the end nears I fight off that inevitable disappointment I will face once I am all alone again.

The main reason I always find myself alone is only because I push through beyond the stage of letting go.

Everyone has gone home, worn out and exhausted from the good time behind us.

They have accepted that it is the end and they are satisfied with it because it was memorable, and because they know it’s not the last.

It’s ok to wind down and allow their bodies to systematically shut down and go to sleep.

It’s no big deal and even though it’s always sad to see the flame die out after a roaring fire, it is not questioned or fought against.

They accept that what comes up must come down and that sooner or later the party must end and life must continue.

I don’t want to avoid life. In fact, I love life and the way I experience it. I loved my good times, parties and even the struggles, because I always savoured each moment, acknowledged its influence on me and looked forward to what would come next.

Until I found drugs.

Drugs keep you awake – or so they say – so I had found the perfect weapon to fight the end from arriving… just stay awake. Through the night…into a new day… for days on end. I found the solution of never needing to face the farewell of a good time… until I was always the last to retreat, leaving me alone and sad that this was finally it.

One thing that annoys me is that even though the last few months have not been too satisfying, and every aspect that contributed to creating that good time disappeared… I still crave to “try one last time, to see if perhaps it will change back to normal”.

It’s like chasing a rabbit to catch him and then cuddle him, but he ends up biting you, running and running away from you until he feels safe. You cannot catch the rabbit and so you also can’t cuddle him, so you continue to run after him like a fool, hoping that this attempt would lead to capturing him, getting bitten each time until you are a wounded bleeding mess.

The trouble is, it is never as good as the first time… NEVER again. You will chase and chase after that unforgettable night of nonstop, incessant and excited chatting, debating and making love… until you do forget what it really was like, or what it actually was about to begin with.

But it changes. You are coaxed by curiosity… then you are captured in wonder of the intense realm you never imagined… then it steadies you to a comfortable, regular rhythm… Only when you take the risk of stepping out for a smoke break, you see the chains you are bound in… So you thrash about in panic to break free… Only to find that you have been enslaved… And that intense realm starts to diminish… Each time you discover a new flaw, a new open wound… Leaving you disappointed and unsatisfied… So you obey your master and continue chasing… Knowing it has revealed its true evil intentions that were disguised so cleverly… And you finally realize and accept that escape is vital to avoid eventual, inevitable death…

All drugs do this… trick you with their candy-coated honey flavoured promise of the time of your life. Only to murder you slowly through torture when you are safely bound in slavery.

****My skin looks like shit lately… no -really shit, not just my face but also my whole body… like aged or something, all wrinkly and leathery.

Baba… I took some G just now and I am still awake but pretty trashed. I can’t type too well, see too well or anything… but I wanted to tell you that I love you very much. I love you very much. I wish you were awake cause then I could talk to you some more… I miss you too much. XXX.

By December we had agreed to spend our two weeks leave at my parents’ place on the Vaal River and treat it as a sort of rehab. I had confessed to them that we had a problem about six months after meeting Seth so they were too happy to be able to try and help us.

Having been worried sick about me all this time, mom was right on it. She gave us chores to do like cook the meals and do the dishes. She also didn’t let us sleep together. The whole point of all this was so we could learn to spend time together doing normal things and also have time alone to find some healing and spend time with God.

It was easy. We had plenty distractions and because our environment wasn’t one associated with the usual routine and drugs, we managed to enjoy the two weeks. I felt good about being clean and already felt healthier and stronger. I was determined to never touch it again… but deep down inside, at the back of my mind that voice kept telling me that I could always have a little once we get home. I fought it and tried as hard as I could to ignore it and convince myself that I wouldn’t give in to the temptation.

We’d stayed clean. For two weeks. We picked up our first gram on our way back into Jo’burg. Just one more time… then we’d stop.

Or not.

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