My Journey Through Darkness

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Chapter 7

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April 2005 – June 2005

7 April 2005 – Thursday

It’s been exactly one week, seven days, of being back home, clean of drugs, and without Andrew. I’m feeling better health wise and I know there’s a good future here, I even have a job interview next week which is promising and it seems I’ll be able to get a car after all. There is one thing though, one very large and significant thing, which brings me incredible pain – Andrew’s absence. I can’t explain this emptiness, this stifling pain in my heart; I have cried rivers of tears each day we’ve been apart. My love for Andrew just deepens as the days go by.

I have developed so many hideous fears in me, that Andrew will not come, for he may not manage to save enough, or he’ll lose hope and give up, or he’ll fall out of love with me as he forgets me, or, worst of all fears, he will not beat the drugs and they will eventually kill him. I know I should stop torturing myself like this and not allow Satan to fill my mind with these lies, but I am fighting – as always – and weep before God for His mercy on Andrew as He had mercy on me. I’m just feeling so helpless being all the way over here, not able to encourage, love or support Andrew in any way.

In the last few days I’ve even thought I should go back to London, to get him, to be with him in order to help him and also save myself from missing him so much. Lately too, I only think of Andrew as he was before we got caught in our addiction, the loving, funny, passionate man whom I fell madly in love with. I feel like I had it so easy, coming home to this wonderful warmth and loving family, and now that I’m clean I wish so much that Andrew could’ve done it with me, instead of being stuck in London with no job, money or love.

I miss him so unbelievably much. Every moment of my days I think of him, wish we were together, I even think I’d rather be back in that hole, but with him! Lord, I pray for peace that Andrew will join me, that he will be saved by Your grace, and that I will be privileged to share my life with him. Please make a way for us.

I arrived back home to the warm South African sun and the love of my family. I smoked my last bit of heroin in the toilets at Heathrow airport, prepared for the twelve-hour flight to South Africa. I hoped it would be enough to last me the duration of the flight, but I knew I would start rattling rather soon after arriving home.

My brother Allan came to pick me up at the airport at nine o’clock on Friday morning first of April. I felt relieved as the sun beat down through the car window and I savoured all the familiar scenery during the two-hour drive to my parents’ home on the Vaal River. I didn’t tell Allan about my problem because I wasn’t sure if my parents would want him to know.

Until that day, I had not let a word slip to any of my family. I knew I could tell them and that they would want to help me but I just felt it would be unfair to tell them while I was in London. They would only worry and feel powerless being so far away.

After we all sat down together having lunch and trying to catch up on the past year and three months of my life away from home, I told them why I had really come home. It was hard to admit the horrible truth that their daughter had become a drug addict and lost her life to drugs, but they took the news better than I expected.

Mom just cried and then after quietly thinking for a while, dad asked me what they could do to make it easier to come clean. I told him there wasn’t much to do except to sweat it out for a few days, but even so, he asked me to call a few help lines.

Again, I went through the motions of calling dozens of help lines, only to find that most of them never picked up the phone and others were not in use anymore. I finally got through to a help line, but to my horror, this is how the conversation went:

“Hi, my name is Michelle and I have come back from London because I am addicted to crack and heroin. I have been smoking these drugs for about five months. Is there anything I can do or take to make it easier to come clean?”

“Hello madam, can I ask you, are you on drugs?”

“Yes, I just told you that I am on crack and heroin.” I couldn’t quite believe she didn’t hear me the first time.

“Well, for how long have you been on these drugs?”

“Five months. Look, I have come home from London to come clean and all I want to know is if there is anything I can do to make withdrawals easier.”

“Ok madam, are you experiencing feelings of guilt?”

Now I was getting annoyed at this woman. It sounded as if she was simply asking me questions that are scripted. “No, I am past all of that and I want to change my life. I am at my parent’s house now and just want to know if there is medicine or ways to help the cold turkey.”

“Well, are you interested at all in going to a rehabilitation centre?”

“No. I just told you that I am at my parent’s house and need some advice, that’s all.”

“OK, well you seem to have a good attitude about your problem and since you are not in need of rehab then there’s nothing else I can tell you to do. Good luck with your recovery.”

This was the help that was out there! I couldn’t believe that this is the kind of advice that is given to people who seek help. I was thankful though to have the knowledge and love of my parents, which seemed to be all I needed to get better.

My dad insisted that I slept with my mom at night, so that I would not be alone at any time. For a week I would simply lay on the couch during the day, watching TV and listening to my parents’ Christian tapes. Having such a severe flu helped in a big way because I didn’t feel like I was having the severe symptoms of withdrawal.

I suffered from extreme backache, which my mom promptly relieved by giving me loads of Stopaynetablets. Luckily, the only other withdrawals I had were very painful and sudden cramps in every muscle of my body. I would wake up at night with my legs cramping so badly that I would wake my mom up with my crying. She was amazing and would make us a cup of coffee and chat with me until I felt ready to try and go back to sleep again.

Some nights I would also wake up from nightmares of crack pipes floating around me. I would be left with the distinct sweet chemical smell of crack for hours afterwards. Other nightmares included images of Andrew being found dead in an alley with a needle in his arm.

The worst part was getting over my flu, and I suppose it was all mixed in with the withdrawals, but I never vomited or had any diarrhoea. I believed that God’s grace saved me form going through the worst part of coming clean. Another tough emotional struggle was being away from Andrew. I missed him terribly. I called him every day but I could hear that things were not going the way we’d planned them to. Even though he kept telling me that he was still coming, it was hard for me to believe.

One evening, when my folks were outside visiting with friends of theirs, I went into my room and closed the door. I felt something strange changing inside of me. I went down on my knees and started to pray. I prayed for Andrew and his salvation. Then I prayed for myself and as the words started flowing, for the first time in my life, I faced my weaknesses, my faults and my desires in life. I spent hours, confessing my sins and giving my broken self to Him completely. I pleaded with God to forgive me and to heal me, in order to become the Godly woman He intended me to be.

“Lord, today, I give everything that is in me and that is me, over to You. It is time. I choose from this day forward not to continue living a lukewarm, mediocre life for You, but to allow You to lead the way from here and to be the Director of my life. I need to be released from the men in my life, and I give all of them to you right now. I pray that You will guard my heart from men until I am ready to meet the husband You are preparing for me. If it is Your will for me to be without a partner, then I am ready, I accept that, and I choose to make You the number one Man in my life.

I pray that from this day forward You will mould and prune me, prepare me for the ministry and the work I desire to do for You. To help others who are in darkness. I am prepared to give up my life and myself right now, in order to fulfil Your divine purpose in me. Tonight, I choose to give up all forms of fleshly sins; sex, drugs and anything else that I have put before You until now. Thank You for Your forgiveness, Your grace and Your unconditional love which saved my life to be a living testimony of Your Word.”

I’d applied for a job at the Jo’burg office of the company I worked for in London. It was a global company and within a week, I was asked to come for an interview. Within an hour after the interview they called me and offered me the position. God had come through for me in terms of a stable job and I was to start my job on the eighteenth of April.

In the two weeks I was with mom and dad at the river, a lot more than coming clean happened to me. There was a deep spiritual change in me and I felt that for the first time in my life God really spoke to me. I started having visions of my future and how I would help people with drug addictions. He also revealed the things I needed to deal with before I would be ready to fulfil my calling.

One of the first things I needed to do was to sit down and copy my journal over onto my mom’s computer. As I rewrote the horror of what I’d lived through, I saw the story unfold, and I knew that God had allowed the journal to be written in order to help me heal. In time, this story would be published which would give God the Glory and instil a sense of hope in the lives of those in darkness.

I spent many hours praying, asking God for peace and relief from the pain in my gut. God was with me though, and slowly, the peace came. After this recovery period at home, the hardest part was facing what was about to happen…

25 April 2005 – Monday

Almost four weeks have gone by since my arrival home, and it still feels surreal. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about being back. I’m in Randburg staying with my aunt, Wendi, I have a great job and have been totally clean for twenty-five days. My walk with God is growing and each passing day shows me I am on a brand new path of growth, preparing me for a very great life testimony and closeness to God.

I have become so peaceful and reserved, observing the changes God is making in me. I have become more at ease about not being with Andrew, I prayed a while ago and released him into God’s care, and I feel how God is giving me peace and faith that whatever happens I will be strong enough to deal with it, and to be prepared.

I still miss London sometimes; it actually amazes me that I can find things to miss. I still – of course – love Andrew so much and miss him terribly. I wish he could be here to experience all these big changes and the great love of the people around me. I miss him in bed at night, cuddling me, kissing me and I miss his jokes and just his presence around me. However much I can’t wait for him to join me, God is also filling that deep void in me. I pray so much for Andrew ’cause I know God also has a big plan for him, so I need to do spiritual warfare for him and believe Andrew will be okay.

While I was at the Vaal with my parents, just resting for two weeks, God revealed so much to me. I now know I have not just been brought back to South Africa to come off drugs, but this is the beginning of a totally new life. I am just entering a phase of total release – of all things that have held me back from serving God as I’ve always desired to – a time to soak in who I really am in Jesus. I know there are many changes I need to make, as I have asked God to lead me into His ministry and in order to be prepared for a life totally committed to God, I need to be completely remoulded, from scratch.

My heart is to reach out to youth, to help with addiction and to make people aware of its capacity; its danger and availability. I don’t know how I will achieve all this, but I am at peace in knowing that God is leading the way and He will make it all happen.

Every now and then I remember bits from my last six months in London and I actually break down, so thankful that Jesus had mercy on me and took me away from all that pain. Nothing else has broken me like this did. As I am recovering, I realize how seriously I lost myself, how very broken I was, and just how many lies the devil made me believe.

I feel a gentle calm after the storm

Peace creeps in through the remains of the rise and swell of a malevolent trap.

I knew that coming home meant that there would be new challenges to face. The reality of starting my life over was all part of recovering from drug addiction, but it still scared me. I had to get a car, a place to live and as I’d come home without a cent to my name it seemed an impossible task. There was no going back however. I’d come home and I was going to have to face the facts and do the best I could. At least I had been blessed with a job.

One of my amazing aunts, Wendi, offered for me to stay with her for as long as I needed to. That was one thing less to worry about. Dad let me use their very old Mercedes Benz until I could afford my own car, and so, I was off to Johannesburg to start my new life.

Even though there was an element of excitement to starting over, I still felt tired. I often wished I could just crawl into a hole and hide away, in the hope that someday I could crawl out and find a whole new life in place. I knew this was only a dream. The only way I would be able to live normally again was if I stood up each day and made the right choices, taking responsibility to make my life a success.

One day at work, about a month after my arrival back in South Africa, an unexpected email popped into my inbox. It was from a girl called Kelly, saying that a friend of a friend had told her about my ad on “thegumtree”… about Gene! I must have posted that ad about a year before and here was his ex-girlfriend sending me an email with the whereabouts of Gene. I sat and stared at the computer screen for what seemed like hours. I could not believe what was happening. His email address was right there.

Kelly said that she knew who I was because Gene had often spoken of me. She said she was very happy to give me his email address as she knew that he would love to hear from me!

I thought I would burst! After almost six years since our break up, the continual dreams and obsessive searches on the internet to just try and find out where he was, I could finally make contact with him!

She also wrote that I had unfortunately just missed him. He had been in Jo’burg for about three months but had left about week before to go to the USA. He was joining his famous brother, the lead singer of a well-known South African band on their tour to America.

I would have cried but just knowing that he was alive and that there may be a possibility of contacting him made me too happy to cry.

After the initial shock, I immediately sent him an email and about a day later, I got a reply with his phone number.So I called him.

Hearing his voice that had not changed was surreal. It felt like I was in one of my many dreams. We spoke and spoke and we cried and cried. Somehow we both had a tie that nothing over the years could break and it surprised me that he felt the same way I did.

I had always been filled with guilt for allowing myself to marry Desmond and for allowing Gene to cut our relationship short. I was convinced that he hated me for doing so and that he would never ever think of me again.

But he did. He told me that every girl he had been with just never measured up to me and that he could never really forget about me.

A few days later I got an email from him, telling me that he has decided that we should never have contact again. He thought long and hard about us and the hurt I caused him was just too painful and it took too many years to move on. Talking to me just confused him and the distance between us made it impossible to ever be together again. He was short and to the point. He was dead serious and I knew I couldn’t do a thing about his decision.

And that was it. I never ever saw or spoke to my Gene again. He deleted his email address, changed his number and never had any public profile like MySpace or Facebook.

I was only left with my dreams once again.

29 April 2005 – Friday

I’m finally, after three years, going to meet up with my old friend William. I am so excited!!!

I haven’t heard from Andrew in a few days… this worries me and makes me sad.

10 May 2005 – Tuesday

Life is finally moving forward! And it feels good, yet I am still feeling a bit lost – I miss Andrew so much. The ache just gets worse. So few text messages from him, no calls…. and there are so many others interested, yet they make me miss Andrew even more.

15 May 2005 – Sunday

I feel like I’ve been sliding backwards a little, control-wise, focus-wise and strength-wise. Last night I was out with William and I received a worrying message from Andrew. I read pieces of my journal to William and it took me right back to the pain and fear I lived through. It reminded me of how passionate I am to go into the Ministry and also to bring Andrew here. I sent a message to Matt, asking him to encourage Andrew to come, as he now knows about his addiction, but only got a reply this morning, which insinuated that I was half the problem. I felt terribly hurt, as while Matt was turning a blind eye, I tried my best to help and was not the one to bring it into Andrew’s life… I feel slightly panicked that I need to send a plane ticket to Andrew and then this morning I wept all over the phone to mom, letting out all my fears, frustration and sadness. I felt so incredibly helpless and sad today, cried so much, but then after my chat to mom and Wendi, I felt a bit better.

I need to stay strong in my faith that God is in control and is dealing with Andrew, and will bring him here if that is His will. I want him here so bad. Just so he can experience this beautiful life.

19 May 2005 – Thursday

One month and three weeks. This road to freedom is not easy, even though I’m relieved and excited for the future, my pruning is painful. I am unsure about Andrew and whether he really wants to come, as Matt now says he’s clean and looking for a new flat, but Andrew still says he wants to come. Not knowing is more painful than having to let go, I wish I knew what to believe. I still so much want Andrew to come, to have him share this life with me and get close to God, as I care for him so much.

Even though I am healing, there is still so much pain in me for what I lived through. God is good though, and not allowing me to fall.

Being afraid of leaving the safety and confines of the house was something I’d never felt before. On the contrary, I’d spent most of my life trying to break free and run wild, but now, for the first time ever, I had a strange, apprehensive feeling about starting to live outside of work and home... a social life. The thought of making new friends was terrifying because I had no idea how or where I would meet people. Secondly, the thought that I may end up in the wrong place, faced with the temptation of crack scared me half to death.

Some days I would sit and dream, imagining myself never going anywhere, never feeling quite safe enough and wishing I could just lock myself in a spiritual bubble of safety.

I thanked God that I was living with Wendi and my five-year-old cousin, Bradley. I had plenty of good times and conversations with Wendi, because she was very open-minded but also very close to God. Even though I was grateful for having this person in my life and for the place to stay, I soon started wishing I had my own space. I longed to just unpack my bags for a change. I needed some air to be able to play my music when I felt like it, or to just sit in my room and read. I knew that when the time was right God would open this door for me, but at this present time I needed Wendi’s company, advice and safety.

25 May 2005 – Thursday

Patience… loads of patience is needed. I feel almost like I need to be still and listen to God. He is being so faithful in my healing, bringing the right people my way.

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