The first few weeks at the river were hellish emotionally. Mom and Dad did everything they could to make it nice for me. They insisted that I do as little as possible, allowed my doggie to sleep in bed with me even though that was usually against the rules in their home. They kept telling me not to worry about work or anything until I felt strong again.
This time though, they were not going to let me leave them until they knew for certain that I was stable enough to be on my own again.
Seth and I lasted for another two months. He would come and visit me every weekend but with each visit he grew more and more distant and always looked bored. We didn’t have much to say to each other anymore and in February I decided that I needed to let go of him.
Somewhere deep down I was still hopeful; the intention was to break up with him in order to give him a wake-up call. Even though we had discussed plans of doing what we needed to do for us to get better, he had not made a single change towards that goal.
I couldn’t and wouldn’t mother him anymore. I hoped that by breaking up with him he would realize what he was losing and that if he didn’t do something about his life, no one would. I had to let go of him in order for him to become a man.
My brother drove me up to Jo’burg mid-February and that evening I gave Seth a letter in which I explained that I was setting him free to force him to stand on his own two feet and that hopefully when he’d really found God and managed to take responsibility for his life, he would come back to me.
I also gave him the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldridge to read and to my knowledge it’s one of the few books Seth ever did read.
His reaction wasn’t what I’d expected it to be as he seemed to have been waiting for me to break up with him. Later I realized that it was a typical Seth thing to do – he didn’t do the dirty work, he waited for me to do it so he didn’t have to be the bad guy.
About two months after we’d broken up I saw on Facebook that he already had a new girlfriend. When I backtracked our conversations when he would tell me that he misses me and is still coming to fetch me and that he still loved me, he had been lying all along. He’d been dating her before I’d even broken up with him!
It took me a very long time and a lot of prayer to get over Seth. The hardest part was not that I really wanted to be with him anymore, but knowing that he never really felt as deeply for me as I thought he did. The way he just kept on telling lies and that he forgot about me so quickly. It hurt me so badly because I had really believed that we would still end up together, having conquered the drugs and that the future we’d always dreamed of would become a reality. But he gave up on us.
In April I had an offer to take over a nursery school in Klerksdorp, the closest town to where my parents lived. It was very run down and only had a few black children but it showed potential and it was a good project for me to immerse myself in. The school was a house and I moved into one of the free rooms and stayed there during the week. On weekends I went home to the river.
I also threw myself into our local family church. I took part in everything I could, from attending Ladies’ Prayer meeting every Tuesday morning, Home group every Wednesday night, Bible School on Thursdays and teaching Sunday School on Sundays. In the week I had evenings to myself and I would spend all my time chatting to God and studying the Word.
It was a lonely time but not in a bad way. I enjoyed my alone-time and especially enjoyed having real time for the Lord. As much as that monster inside of me craved some sort of social scene – not so much the drugs, but mostly the old club scene – I knew that this time was a crucial part of my healing.
There were many days when I felt utterly sorry for myself. Especially the times I heard from Seth or saw on Facebook what he was up to with his new girlfriend. He had finally gotten a new job earning very good money and had moved in with the new girlfriend in an up-market area. I hated it that he was off the drugs, rich and happy in love. I resented him for a very long time and as much as I knew I had to forgive him, it was very difficult.
The school picked up a little bit after I’d spent a lot of my parent’s money and hard work fixing it up but it never gained enough children for me to be able to draw a salary. So to top things, I was constantly poor and had no social life except that of my church meetings. Sometimes I really wanted to go out just for a few drinks or dancing. I couldn’t even listen to my house or trance music anymore because it would make me feel sick. I knew that part of my life was over forever. And I knew I could never indulge in it again as I knew its power to consume me.
Even though there were many dark moments and fighting the longing, I knew it was a small price to pay compared to where my life had been heading. I knew that God had saved me from drug addiction and inevitably death. I was simply bearing the consequences which came from my own choices.
The best part was that my relationship with God became very intimate and more real than it had ever been. I got to know my King personally and I believe to this day that I could never have stayed in that place and been set free from addiction if it hadn’t been for our powerful almighty God.
I’ll admit that I did slip up a few times. Even though Klerksdorp is a small place, there are drugs everywhere and once or twice I was out with the wrong kind of friend and we ended up getting a gram. But the people at church walked a very close road with me and with a lot of prayer and support I managed to keep fighting. I had to transform my mind and thought patterns; learn how to submit to God and His Spirit, instead of just giving in to my own fleshly desires.
For me, that was the hardest thing to do, but it has to be done in order to become truly free from life-long thought-patterns, strongholds and habits. By pure experience I can confidently say that it is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit! Another tough lesson to learn is PATIENCE. With all the immense changes my soul was undergoing I had to accept on a daily basis that it was going to take time to become who I was striving to be.
Giving up things we like, which are particularly destructive, takes a long time, as we become so conditioned to what we’ve become and what our lifestyle involves. It is painful. The hardest part for me was letting go of a social life. I guess you can’t really call my two years with Seth as much of a social life either, but we did sometimes go out clubbing and spent a lot of time at home but often also with friends.
Staying clean meant that I couldn’t go out for a very long time, even if my intention was not to take drugs, if I drank a little too much I would end up getting drugs, so I had to avoid going out dancing altogether.
Even making friends with people who liked to go out drinking was too dangerous… listening to very loud house music also triggered my longing for release and drugs. So I really had to make difficult decisions to let go of certain things.
It probably sounds like I exchanged a very adventurous and exciting life for a very boring life? In some ways it’s true; it depends on what your perspective of boring or exciting is. Now, I wouldn’t exchange my life for the world of parties. I will never look back in longing. Now, whenever I think I miss the dance-scene I instantly remember all the ugliness of it. The way the drugs made me feel all clammy and strung out with aching muscles and that terror of the come-down. The thought of all those things makes me literally feel sick to my stomach. I never want to feel like that again for one moment.
The temptation – that little voice – was still there for a while and there were times when I really had to fight it. I had a few fights with my parents when that monster inside of me took over and demanded to go out, but they held me back and the next day I would be so thankful that they stood their ground. The great thing is that in time, that voice grew softer and more faraway. The more I filled my life with Godly people and my mind with the Word of God, the easier it became to ignore that voice.
Today I am a completely different person. My life has become an immense adventure with God! I still love dancing and music and most probably always will but I have found other forms of fulfillment now.
God has blessed me with the biggest blessing I could ever dream of… a daughter! (Now I dance to the Barney song!)
Sometimes I think that God gave Shelby to me because I never would have the power to resist the temptation on my own. Other times I wonder why He gave her to me – because she is a gift and I felt for so long that I did not deserve anything from God. This is what His grace is. God never stopped loving me and never stopped hearing my prayers. He did not punish me for my years of disobedience. He was just waiting for me to surrender to Him.
I also learned that there was no need for me to feel condemned. I had paid the price of my mistakes through the consequences which followed. God could finally shower me with all the blessings I’d missed out on before. I am just sad that it took me so long to finally allow Him to be in control of my life.