Up In Smoke – Johannesburg Guest Writer

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A RECOVERING DRUG ADDICT

MY NAME IS JOSE PEREIRA-LUIS AND THIS IS MY STORY OF 38 YEARS OF DRUG ADDICTION.

I WAS BORN IN JHB ON 26.07.1963.MY PARENTS WERE LOVING AND WE WERE BROUGHT UP WELL .I WAS THE OLDEST OF 4 BROTHERS SO MY BROTHERS LOOKED UP TO ME .PRIMARY SCHOOL WAS SO COOL I PARTICIPATED IN MANY ACTIVITIES SUCH AS KARATE AND JUDO.I ALSO EXCELLED IN MY SCHOOL WORK.

I STAYED IN BEZ VALLEY AND MOST OF MY COUSINS WERE OLDER THAN ME AND ALL BELONGED TO THE MOST POWERFUL GANG IN JHB.

WHEN I STARTED STANDARD 6 I STARTED SLEEPING OUT OUR HOUSE TO GO OUT WITH MY COUSINS AND THE GANG.I STARTED DRINKING AND STARTED SMOKING MARJUANA WITH THE GANG SO I COULD BE IN WITH THE OLDER GUYS.THE SENIORS IN THE GANG TOOK TO ME AS I WAS SCARED OF NOTHING.

I WAS ALWAYS IN FIGHTS AND INVOLVED IN GANG RELATED ACTIVITIES.

I SMOKED MORE AND WAS ALWAYS HIGH AND STARTED BUNKING CLASSES.

THE FIGHTS WERE ALWAYS BAD AND WE USED BASEBALL BATS ,KNIVES AND EVEN GUNS.IT WAS A WILD TIME .I REMEMBER ONE SATURDAY NIGHT I WAS OUT WITH THE GANG.IT WAS ABOUT 4AM AND WE WERE GOING FOR FOOD WHEN WE SAW A RIVAL GANG AT THE SHOP.THE SENIOR MEMBERS LOOKED AT ME AND TOLD ME TO GO CAUSE TROUBLE SO THEY CAN FIGHT.

I THEN APPROACHED THE BIGGEST GUY AND STARTED SWEARING AT HIM.HE HAD A BIG SURPRISE FOR ME AND PULLED OUT A SAWN OFF SHOTGUN AND HEARD HIM COCKING IT.BEFORE HE COULD SHOOT ME I DUCKED BEHIND A PILLAR AND LITERALLY SHAT MYSELF.I HEARD THE GUN GO OFF AND THE BULLET HIT THE PILLAR AND RAN ALL THE WAY HOME .AT 13 THIS WAS THE SCARIEST THING FOR ME AND STILL NEVER STOPPED.

AT THE AGE OF 16 I HAD TO PROVE MYSELF TO BE A GANG MEMBER AND HAD TO GO THROUGH WITH A CEREMONY.I WAS TOLD TO ATTACK A MAN AND ROB HIM ON MY OWN.I DID THAT AND I MUGGED A MAN THAT NIGHT WHILE THEY WATCHED.THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I COULD NEVER GET OVER AND I HIT HIM TO HARD AND ACCIDENTALLY KILLED THE MAN.I WAS SO HIGH IT DID NOT BOTHER ME TILL YEARS LATER.I FOUND IT HARD TO FORGIVE MYSELF.

I PLAYED RUGBY AT SCHOOL AND WAS GOING ON TRIALS FOR THE 1ST TEAM

AND I GOT KICKED ON THE HEAD AND HAD A EPILEPTIC FIT ON THE FIELD .

I WOKE UP IN SANDTON CLINIC WHERE ENDLESS TESTS WERE DONE ON ME TO GET ME ON THE CORRECT MEDICATION.THE INJURY CAUSED SEVERE HEAD AND BRAIN DAMAGE.I WAS FORCED TO LEAVE SCHOOL AT AGE 17 AS I COULD NOT STUDY AS I HAD MEMORY LOSS.THIS MADE ME FEEL DIFFERENT AND I FELT USELESS.MY ONE AUNT WAS 1 OFF JHB BIGGEST DRUG DEALERS.SHE DEALT IN DAGGA,LSD AND MANDRAX.

BECAUSE OF MY EPILEPSY I STARTED USING HARDER DRUGS.BETWEEN THE AGE OF 17 UP TO 25 I WAS HIGH DAILY ON DAGGA AND MANDRAX.AT A STAGE I WAS SMOKING 50 PILLS A DAY AND WAS TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL.THIS HABIT COST ALOT SO I STARTED STEALING.

WE THEN MOVED TO PRETORIA AND I WENT TO THE ARMY.I WAS 18 AND HAD TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS BUT EVERY WEEKEND I WAS IN JHB BUYING DRUGS FROM MY AUNT AND SELLING IN PTA.I GOT WELL KNOWN QUICKLY

BY ALL AND THE POLICE.ONE WEEKEND I WAS BY MY AUNT AND ALL OF US WERE SITTING AROUND AND SMOKING PILLS.MY AROUND 3 AM HER BOYFRIEND SUGGESTED THAT ME AND HIM GO ROB A FEW HOUSES FOR MORE DRUGS.I WAS SO HIGH I REFUSED AND HE WENT ALONE.AT APPROXIMATELY 6AM MY AUNT GOT A CALL FROM THE POLICE TO INFORM HER THAT THEY CAUGHT HIM BUT HE RODE OFF.THEY CAUGHT UP TO HIM AND THEY SHOT OUT 8 MAGAZINES AT THE CAR AND HE WAS KILLED .LUCKY I DECIDED NOT TO GO.

I BECAME A BIG TIME DEALER IN PTA AND HAD POLICE ON MY TAIL ALWAYS.I WAS ALSO INVOLVED WITH MANY ILEGAL ACTIVITIES BUT WAS NEVER CAUGHT.I STARTED TO SNIFF COCAINE AND THIS WENT ON FOR A YEAR.ONE DAY I WALKED INTO MY DEALERS FLAT IN HILLBROW AND SAW A GIRL SMOKING A CRACK PIPE.I SAW HER INSTANT HIGH AND TOLD HIM I WANT SOME.HE SOLD ME SOME AND I SAT THERE AND SMOKED.THAT WAS IT I WAS HOOKED.I LEFT THE NEXT EVENING AFTER SPENDING R5000.FOR THE NEXT 12 YEARS IT WAS HELL,I SMOKED UP TO R3000 PER DAY SO I HAD TO STEAL ALOT.IN 11 YEARS I SMOKED OUT 9 MILLION RAND.I WAS ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.I REMEMBER ASKING MY BROTHERS FRIEND TO TAKE ME TO MY AUNT TO MAKE A SCORE.WE WERE 5 IN THE CAR TO JHB,WE SAT AT HER HOUSE SMOKING AND I GOT 5 BANK PACKETS WEED,7 MANDRAX AND 5 LSD.AS WE WALKED OUT THE GATE THE COPS PUT A GUN TO MY HEAD.MY AUNT MANAGED TO GET BACK IN THE HOUSE.THEY FOUND THE DAGGA AND TOOK US ALL TO YEOVILLE STATION.WE ALL STOOD IN A LINE AT THE CHARGE OFFICE AND I MADE A STATEMENT IT WAS MINE SO THE OTHERS COULD GO.I THEN REMEMBERED ABOUT THE OTHER DRUGS I HAD .NOBODY WOULD HELP ME TAKE IT SO I HAD TO TAKE IT ALL.I WAS VERY HIGH FOR 3 DAYS.

BETWEEN AGES 19-29 I WAS ENGAGED 6 TIMES .AT THE AGE OF 30 I GOT MARRIED FOR THE 1ST TIME.I WORKED FOR 7 YEARS FOR A COMPANY AND THEY CLOSED DOWN.I GOT R75000 OUT.I WENT TO MY DEALER IN JHB AND SPENT IT WITHIN 2 WEEKS I WAS BROKE.AT THE AGE OF 42 I WEIGHED 42 KG

AND MY HEALTH WAS DETERIORATING.I SAW A DR AND HE GAVE ME A MONT TO LIVE.I REALISED I HAD TO STOP AND WENT TO REHAB I STAYED THERE FOR 3 MONTHS GETTING BETTER.I WAS BARELY OUT AND I STARTED USING AGAIN

I SUBSTITUTED THE CRACK WITH KAT.ALSO AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE THAT IS SNIFFED.WHILE MARRIED TO MY SECOND WIFE HER SON IN LAW WAS A METRO DRUG SQUAD AND HE LIKED ME SO I USED HIM FOR DRUGS.

THINGS WENT SO BAD I WENT TO REHAB AGAIN.I WAS 3 WEEKS IN AND WAS OUT FOR A WEEKEND AND GOT NEWS THAT MY BROTHER 18 MONTHS YOUNGER THAN ME PASSED AWAY IN A CAR ACCIDENT

I JUST STARTED USING MORE AND ENDED THAT MY FAMILY DISOWNED ME AND MY WIFE LEFT ME.I WENT TO A HOMELESS SHELTER FOR 6 MONTHS.

MY FAMILY STARTED GETTING CLOSER TO ME AND I DECIDED TO GET OUT THE SHELTER AND GET A JOB WHICH I DONE.BUT I DECIDED WRONG AGAIN AND THAT WAS THAT I STILL WOULD USE DRUGS BUT NOT STEAL FOR IT.

IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR ME TO WRITE ABOUT EVERY REHAB, COP STATION,THERAPISTS,SUPPORT GROUPS ETC.I WORKED HARD AND PLAYED HARDER.I ROBBED A NIGERIAN IN HILLBROW WHEN I WAS 26 AND SHOT HIM AND THE COPS EVOKED MY GUN LICENSE.LATER IN LIFE AT 47 AFTER ROBBING MANY MORE I HIT A JACKPOT.I GOT ENOUGH DRUGS FOR A ARMY AND NEVER SLEPT OR ATE FOR 2 AND A HALF WEEKS.AND SO MY LIFE CARRIED ON HIGH AS A KITE DAILY .I HAD NO FRIEND AS I DIDN’T WANT TO SHARE MY STUFF,AND HAD THE ODD SHORT RELATIONSHIP.AS MY STORY GOES THAT FOR TO MANY YEARS I PUT MYSELF THROUGH HELL AND BACK.MY FATHER PASSED AWAY ON 22 JANUARY 2014.I PROMISED HIM I WOULD TAKE CARE OF MY MOM.I THOUGHT I WAS BUT IN REALITY I WAS TAKING MORE DRUGS AND ALWAYS ON MY OWN MISSION.IN THIS TIME I MET A GIRL AND WE BECAME FRIENDS AND SHE ACCEPTED ME AS I WAS .BUT A MONTH AGO I DECIDED I NEED TO STOP FOR GOOD IF NOT FOR MYSELF FOR MY MOTHER AND MY GIRLFRIEND.

I ASKED MY GIRLFRIEND FOR HER HELP AND SUPPORT.SHE DID JUST THAT AND I MUST SAY IN HER I HAVE A FRIEND FOR LIFE.MY MOTHER IS STILL SKEPTICAL BUT I HAVE MORE TO LOSE NOW IF I SLIP UP.I KNOW I AM NOT PERFECT BUT I KNOW I MUST BE SPECIAL AS GOD HAS GIVEN ME ANOTHER CHANCE AT LIFE.

I AM NOW 1 MONTH CLEAN OF HARD DRUGS.I CAN REALLY SAY THAT I WONT USE AGAIN IT HAS BECOME AN EVIL IN MY EYES AND I SEE WHAT A DIFFERENT PERSON I AM NOW.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY FAMILY AND ALL THAT HAVE TRIED TO HELP ME IN THE PAST.I WANT TO TO THANK MY BEST FRIEND MANDY FOR BEING WITH ME AND SUPPORTING ME THROUGH ALL MY PAINS AND HARDSHIPS.YOU MIGHT NOT REALISE YOU SAVED MY LIFE AND I AM SO GRATEFUL.

JUST REMEMBER JUST BEING THERE FOR SOME ONE HELPS THEM .

LIFE CAN NEVER BE EASY AND NOBODY CAN TELL YOU THAT YOU WILL STILL BE HERE TOMORROW.NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND ALWAYS HAVE DREAMS.

MY DREAM IS TO BE A DJ.I LOVE MUSIC AND MIXING MUSIC TO SOUND GREAT.I HAVE BEEN CLEAN NOW FOR 2 MONTHS .IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY AND IVE KEPT MYSELF VERY BUSY ON THE LAPTOP ON VIRTUAL DJ.I HAVE HIT 50 HOURS OF MIXES AND SOME ARE REALLY AWESOME.MUSIC HAS ALSO BEEN A GREAT PART OF MY RECOVERY.BUT MOST OF ALL ITS THE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT HAVE WORSE PROBLEMS THAT THAN WE CAN IMAGINE.IT IS THESE PEOPLE WE SHOULD SAY A PRAYER FOR.

SO LIFE.IT IS NOT AT ALL BAD IT IS WHAT YOU DO WITH LIFE.

I THANK AND PRAISE GOD FOR THIS NEW LIFE I HAVE.

THANK YOU FOR READING MY STORY

JOSE

 

 

 

 

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