My Journey Through Darkness

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Chapter 8

On my own

June 2005 to August 2005

3 June 2005 – Friday

Two days ago Andrew finally told me he’s not coming… I think I’ve cried enough…

I feel very unstable, shaky and unsettled.

Bring me down from this high and…

Lift me up out of this low…

One extreme to the next, I know what I need…

The greater part craves it, I know what I want…

I cannot have, to be what I want to be.

I so long for peace, to know what will satisfy this thirst – of both worlds.

Ever-increasing battle within, between good and evil, flesh and spirit.

Don’t really want to talk about it, any of it… I just want to be numb, I want to be nothing, mean nothing to anyone.

I want God to completely fill me and reside in me, using me like a puppet, erasing all my human weakness and craving and even feeling, so that I can be a spirit alone, simply moving among humanity as He wills me to, until I may join Him in the Heavens.

My desires are so strong, yet so contradictory.

Andrew is not coming because of his kids and is happy for me to go back to London… My heart rips in two as so many things draw me back, yet keep me here.

I am so confused I want to run madly about. Inside I feel as though I am splitting in two opposite poles but keep getting pulled back to the centre, snapping violently into a heap of despair.

I crave an answer, peace, comfort.

Yet again… no one can say how or where to, I am left to make choices, to release flesh or embrace it, to follow wild notions, or to retreat from adventure.

God, dear Lord Jesus… please take over, show me how to be a soldier without feeling as though I have to become inhuman, climb out of myself and live another woman’s life.

I still want to see the world and dance on stage and have a partner without it being sinful.

Tonight I want drugs and it is to fill this restless, irritated void, and I know it’s Satan telling me lies and therefore I pray, Father, please let me be truly released from drugs and flesh and clubs. Please take this craving away so I can fulfil my purpose and have peace in my heart and soul and mind.

I long to cry and sleep for a month – get it all out – but then not have to face this real world again afterwards, to be in a bubble, blind to all I crave and satisfied by having… being… nothing.

I want to run away… somewhere empty but loud so I can’t hear the noise in my head.

It’s becoming harder each day to be what I want to be, yet refuse the candy floating by me. Starting to blossom in this real world is more painful than I thought, as thorns keep pricking my bare, sensitive skin incessantly. I feel the need for crutches, for space, for a map to follow…

Just snip off this umbilical cord holding me on earth and allow me to fly among the angels. Lock me away in God’s house until the end for I cannot stand to be in between worlds.

My world seemed to fall apart. I wished that circumstances could have been different. I wished I didn’t leave Andrew in London without bringing him with me and I wished he’d told me himself that he wasn’t coming. I mostly wished that drugs had not ruined the relationship that had started so beautifully!

I found out that Andrew wasn’t coming anymore while I was visiting Williamone evening. Matt sent me a text message saying: “I’m very sorry Shell, but you need to go on with your life now as Andrew will not be coming because of his kids. Best of luck and take care.” William had to go to an emergency pharmacy to get me sleeping tablets just to calm me down. I was hysterical!

When I look back on that night it surprises me that I reacted so drastically, because I guess if I was truly honest with myself, I’d always known Andrew wouldn’t come. I figured it is that fighting spirit I’ve grown to know inside of me, which wouldn’t give up and listen to the logical words around me that kept saying, “I could have told you he wouldn’t come.”

In my mind I had to believe the impossible, in the fairy tale. However, I also knew that with God anything was possible. I was also aware that Satan had a very subtle way of convincing people that the “normal and realistic” way of living was the only way. I knew that Satan was a liar.

14 June 2005 – Tuesday

I moved into my own place last night, the first time, except the brief month I stayed in Putney that I’m on my own. I’m sharing with Cal, a lovely girl who I know God brought into my life for a reason. I feel so happy to be on my own. I feel grown up and free.

Andrew called tonight… I love him so very much and miss him still. All these guys who want me, bore me and can just not compare to Andrew.

I have told my story to a few people and it touches them, which gives me so much hope, and satisfaction, seeing how my testimony is going to save people and give God the glory!

It’s still a hard walk, but I am trusting God to lead me and release me from all my bondages. I ask Him to use me, and I know it’s a matter of time till I will be released from everything… Smoking, drugs, men and clubbing. I think smoking may be first on the list.

Cal turned out to be a real miracle in my life. Another door opened by God Himself. While I’d been staying with Wendi I hadn’t made too much of an effort in finding a new place. One reason was that I couldn’t decide what type of place to look for, as I’d been waiting for Andrew to join me. The next problem was that even if he didn’t come, I wasn’t very keen on sharing with some other people who may end up draining me or dragging me down. I felt too old to deal with living with people who were untidy or dirty student types. Another reason was that as soon as I saw what places actually cost to rent, my search promptly stopped. Lastly, Wendi loved having me staying with her, as she’d been divorced from my uncle a year before and was grateful for the adult company.

One day at the end of May, I thought it would be a good idea to post an ad on “thegumtree”, saying what I was looking for. I wrote that I needed a place, that had to be clean and cheap. In the beginning of June I received an email from Carol Painter, asking if I would be interested in sharing her town house, but only for a month or two. I gently declined her offer, as I didn’t want to move and then have to move again after two months. I really preferred a place where I could stay for at least six months.

Again, Cal replied with a description of the place and it all sounded quite perfect. The rent was a steal compared to the other places I’d seen in the papers. She had a friend who was to come share with her but could only move in, in about two month’s time. I still didn’t want to consider it due to the fact that it was impractical to move out again in two months’ time. After I got the news that Andrew was definitely not coming, I emailed Cal one last time, saying I really needed a place more long term. Then I got the phone call. Cal invited me to come over and have a look, no pressure to take the room but to at least have a cup of coffee for a chat, as I was obviously sad about Andrew not coming.

I found it odd that a total stranger seemed to be concerned, but I finally gave in and went to see her one Thursday evening. It turned out that the short, twenty nine year old girl with a dark ponytail had also recently come home from London and didn’t know people in Jo’burg. We chatted for hours and I ended up telling her the reason I’d come home. We discovered that we shared our belief in God. The next day Cal emailed me saying that she had told her friend that she couldn’t stay with her anymore and that I was more than welcome to take the room!

So, I could finally unpack my bags in my own room in a stylish town house, which I would be sharing with what was to become a close friend.

22 June 2005 – Tuesday

So I made a very big mistake and went clubbing this weekend… BIG weekend! I went to Nirvana all by myself which in a way I am so proud of, and even though I felt guilty for going out, I ended up meeting the most beautiful guys… sadly they are gay but it turned out they are so hungry for something real, for love and for God, that us meeting was so meant to be.

Moving in with Cal has been such a Godsend! She is on a similar mission as I am, as we both want to change our lives and live and work for God. I am at such peace that God is going to change me and release me completely.

When I admitted to Cal that I’d gone clubbing, she was horrified! She told me that I shouldn’t be doing any type of drugs since I was a recovering crack and heroin addict. I disagreed though, because I’d done other drugs before and didn’t consider it to be the same at all. “Club drugs”, like pills and acid had never been an issue in my life, and as it wasn’t all physically addictive, I wasn’t afraid of them. Clubbing and the drugs that went with it were harmless, so I thought! It wouldn’t end up ruining my life like crack and heroin did. Besides, I had not been out for such a long time; the last few months in London my life revolved around going to work and going home to smoke drugs. I never went for a drink, to a movie or even out to dinner, so I was dying to go out and let my hair down.

Cal however, was on a slightly different ride. She’d also spent many years partying, but she seemed to have grown out of the scene and didn’t have much desire to go wild anymore. I still felt like it didn’t mean that I couldn’t go out and have a good time.

28 June 2005 – Tuesday

Last weekend Cal promised me to go out one last time and we went out but I ended up going to Nirvana on my own. I had loads of pills and spent Sunday schnarfingCat with the gay guys. All week I wanted to go to Nirvana again. My good buddy, JR, from high school, who I hadn’t seen in almost four years, came to visit me and we ended up going to Nirvana. I had such a good time, dancing all night, met some stupid guys... and then... the best part – met the most gorgeous boy!

Since I’ve been back, there have been loads of guys into me, but I haven’t been interested at all, not even sexually. John, however, captured me in someway and since he left Nirvana on Sunday, I cannot stop thinking of him. Cute, the right age, and oh so gentle! He has the best brown eyes I ever did see!

The shit part was coming home with what JR and I thought was a really decent, cool guy, Ray, until he presented us with six grams of coke… I have never really done coke so it turned out to be the worst experience of my life! I felt so stupid; I couldn’t complete a sentence and had so many important things to say. I felt like I was finally being released from drugs, as my head couldn’t accept any of the awful conversation or the way we looked. A good thing is that I didn’t sleep with anyone.

I cannot wait to see John!

3 July 2005 – Sunday

I am utterly in love! This past week has been without a doubt the longest week of my life! Yesterday I finally saw John and it has been absolutely perfect! He’s sleeping in my bed now and I never want to let him go. Everything about him is great! The downer is that we ended up at Nirvana and here I am, still tripping, and hating myself for being so weak!

I need to stop all forms of drugs, cause it’s becoming a problem for me now… I can’t get enough, not of the drugs as such, but of the club scene… I hate coming down, hate feeling this way and having no one to talk to.

God, please, please help me stop this! I’m beginning to feel like I’ve gone from one addiction to the next. I am, however, totally, insanely mad about John… even though there’s a religion clash, I feel it will sort itself out. I am in love… so in love, like a kid again.

Cal has been so unbelievably forgiving of all my mess-ups! I haven’t had a friend like her in years!

14 July 2005 – Thursday

I have slipped up in a big way. I saw John again last weekend and we had a magic time together. He left on Sunday morning, leaving me with Cal and her friend Nicola, who were still drunk from partying on Saturday night… and we got a gram of coke. I ended up missioning to Nirvana and got completely trashed on a disco biscuit, going along to Tempo’s with a few people from Nirvana. On Monday morning I realized I have no money left, and I’d given my car keys and wallet – which had Cal’s credit card in, to a couple, who I hardly knew. Thank God that these people were decent enough to give all my things back and looked after me. The idiotic things I do!

John broke off our two-week relationship as I can understand he doesn’t need such a mess of a girl in his life… although I am terribly sad that he can’t give me a chance and after we had such good times he just gives up so easily. It’s my own fault and I’m back at mom and dad at the Vaal – rehab – to sort myself out.

It was during this time that I thought I was running toward rock bottom fast. I would find out later that this was only the beginning of a whole new obstacle I had to climb over. The club scene drew me for so many reasons! Mostly because of the music but also because of the people, the social scene and the dancing. When I walked into Nirvana the fourth time in a row, I found that my favourite DJ knew my name, the dealer knew me and as I’d mission around the club, so many other people also greeted me. Not having any friends in Jo’burg, this created a new sense of belonging; this was a place where I had tons of friends. There was no better place to go to than Nirvana.

You need to understand though, that I didn’t just go there without a care in the world. The very first time I went there, all by myself, I knew I was walking into danger. But it was as if some invisible force had lead me there and I had no control over my actions.Each time I went I would promise myself that this would be the last. I knew that in order to fulfil my calling I couldn’t be spending my time in clubs. I had to be pure and couldn’t desire a life in ministry if I was to do it half way. One of the comforts I found in clubbing was that each time I went I would inevitably end up chatting to some stranger, where the conversation would lead to Christianity. Each time, the person I was talking to, would be someone who was craving for God in his or her life, who agreed that the clubbing lifestyle was wrong. Not once did someone tell me to save the conversation about God for another day when we weren’t trashed. These people wanted to hear the Truth!

18 July 2005 – Monday

It’s Madiba’s birthday today. I don’t really care. I have been reading the first half of my old journal and am now left in utter despair. I have, really have been through so much it’s shocking! Now that I’ve been home for almost four months, I am yet again itching to travel, to seek a new adventure. I gave my life to God though, and I know if I jump on another plane it will be of my own doing and not what God has set for me. It’s so hard, but I know I need to be patient and let God lead my path for me.

25 July 2005 – Monday

I have spent many years pondering the idea of how humanity tends to live by opposites. We all crave that which is out of reach or removed from our reach. We all tend to do the things we don’t intend to do and essentially become the opposite of who we dreamed we’d become. We hurt the people we love and neglect those who love us, but drown the ones who desire distance, in encompassing love.

When I looked at the life I was suddenly living now, I couldn’t quite believe how I had been dragged from one trap into the next. Before I knew it, I found myself in one of the most binding ties; clubbing. What made me want to scream was that I’d been told not to mess with other drugs and I wouldn’t believe those words... I had to go and find out for myself!

29 July 2005 – Friday

I seem to be constantly living by the rule of good intentions, which inevitably leads to failure.

I know of the simple solution to this struggle, which is having faith in the impossible, yet this I somehow manage to ignore, as doing so would comprise of a commitment of total change, letting go of entities which have been deeply seated through life long influences.

6 August 2005 – Saturday

Feel so sad as I seem to continue down my road of failure and weakness.

Life became crazy for me and I wrote less and less in my journal. My time was now filled with going out every spare moment I had and I always tended to neglect my journal when I felt happy, or when I was in denial of a struggle. From having no social life, I now had a hectic social life, and even though I tried to stay away from Nirvana, I ended up going there more than anywhere else. Each Saturday night I would go out, dancing until they close on a Sunday afternoon.

I still faced the realities of life and soon discovered that my salary didn’t carry me through the month. I seldom spent money on clubbing as I always got on the guest list to go in and friends often bought me pills. After paying my bills, I was left with very little money and so I opted on getting extra work on weekends. Cal organized for me to do promotional work on weekends and a friend from Nirvana arranged for me to work behind one of the bars at Nirvana.

On the eighth of August, at one of Nirvana’s big events, usually held the night before a public holiday, I met a guy named George*. I was shocked when he told me he was 54 years old because he looked about 40. We instantly became very good friends and I made it clear to him from that first night that I wasn’t interested in anything but friendship. It was hard for him to understand this but he respected me and our strange friendship grew from that day.

George became my best friend quite soon. He seemed to be quite infatuated with me and I needed a person in my life to build me up. I’d been hammering myself into the ground so hard that I didn’t think too much of myself. He listened to all my ranting and raving about my calling in life and how this life I was living was just not good enough. Every time we came back from clubbing, I would hit a downer and end up crying and losing it from the guilt I felt. George always just sat and listened patiently.

He never judged me and in fact always tried to convince me that I didn’t have a problem and that my lifestyle was not a terrible one. I always disagreed with him. However, the way he would encourage me and lift me onto a pedestal did wonders in building my self-esteem and faith in myself again. George claimed to have turned away from God and his faith a few years before. I relentlessly told him that he would someday see the power of God in how my life would change. So much so that he would be forced to turn back to God! George just always smiled silently and let me have my say.

We had quite a struggle with our friendship as George always secretly hoped that I would fall for him. It wasn’t easy. I had to keep a distance so as not to open up an invitation for him to take the relationship any further. I insisted that I needed him more as a friend than anything else as my whole life had revolved around depending on men to make me happy.

Another couple of good friends I made was Nate* and Chrissy*. I also met them at Nirvana and the main reason Chrissy wanted me to meet her boyfriend Nate, was because he had a brother, Jake*, who had been on crack for four years. After she heard what I’d been through, she thought I could somehow help Nate deal with his brother’s problem.

I felt so humble when I kept meeting people who also believed in God. Talking to Nate that day made me get tears in my eyes. During our chat he sat there and agreed that us sitting there at Nirvana, trashed on pills was not right. There was no justification for what we were doing. He also wanted to stop all this junk and start living a normal life... but how did we do this when we were all so used to the lifestyle of a raver?

I soon met Jake. He was living with his girlfriend Julia, who had decided to take it upon herself to help him get off the crack. He’d been clean for two months when I met them, which was not a very long time for a crack addict of four years. Julia was becoming upset lately however, because Jake seemed to become distant to her. He didn’t want to be her boyfriend, but wanted to continue staying with her for free until he could sort out his life.

I could immediately see that they would not be able to go on the way they were, and I wanted to be there for them as a friend to help where I could. Thus, Nate and Chrissy, and Jake and Julia became a part of my life as well.

24 August 2005 – Wednesday

All this madness and craziness around me, this new struggle I face, somehow, drives me. I crave so desperately to do the opposite of what I’m doing, yet, cannot find the means to do it. I am captured, as if in a cage, yet fight relentlessly, refusing to lie down and accept that this is right. Change will come, I know it will, and I am so anxious to see how and when, for my patience is low. These continual encounters with strangers who seem to need what I have to offer are curious, yet comforting. It’s not all in vain and some good comes from my insane incapability to refuse temptation. Where will it lead though? This is what I question as I know it can’t go on forever.

I want peace, I want drugs, every day, I want to forget and not feel. I desire to be numb in a small way, to not feel the hurt around me or the hurt inside myself. There is so much pain, so much ugliness and abnormality, which I want no part of. How to be a part of it in order to bring joy, love, and freedom?

I feel, as I have since stepping into this new realm, the need to run and hide. Yet I know this is no solution… I just pray for a door to open, where I will find the balance and the way to keep all the balls in the air.

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