Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I always thought that my Higher Power has a sense of humour and it is evident if you look at what I do for a living now. I broke up with my ex-fiancé thinking that he might be an alcoholic only to end up marrying one. In my defence, I honestly thought it was just a phase. He had an amazing family and was successful in his career. But after the kids were born I noticed things were going downhill fast. Four years into our marriage I got onto Google, and I still remember the words I typed in: “Help for drinking problem…” From there everything fell into place and my husband was admitted for treatment. But the biggest shock was yet to come to my first family meeting.
Your husband suffers from a chronic, relapsing disease. Say what? You mean this is not over? I never cried so much as I did that day. My whole world was falling apart and the voices in my head were telling me to run, far! But fate stepped in and throughout his program, I could clearly see that he had utter desperation to stay clean. My husband has never been lazy, but I’ve never seen him working so hard on something.
Our lives in his early recovery were tough. I was walking my journey with this family disease and trust me when I say, I had more than my fair share of doubts. I was so scared he would relapse and suddenly it felt like he was cheating on me emotionally because of his relationship with his sponsor in the fellowship. But I think what kept me going was the people that recovery brought into our lives. I heard truly inspiring stories and befriended amazing people. And the best part of it all, it opened me up to something that I suddenly felt passionate about.
You could say that the idea of PRC Recovery started shortly after Mart was admitted for treatment. I could see how the family property in Sabie would be an ideal setting for a treatment centre. But after what I can only describe as a spiritual awakening 2 years later, as I nudged into the right direction. I was scared to start something so out of my comfort zone. I grew up in corporate, need I say more? But the more research I did and people I spoke to I knew I could deny my destiny no longer.
I would be lying if I say everything just fell into place. I’ve never worked so hard on something and I often felt that the harder I work, the more obstacles I am faced with. But what keeps me determined, is the mere fact that I have this strange sense of calm through the turbulent times.
I grew envious of what Mart had through the NA program and started doing step work myself. I was amazed at how applicable a program for substance abuse could help me grow in my own life. So yeah, I know it’s not easy to work this program. I’ve never allowed myself to be so brutally honest and vulnerable. But I know it's damn well worth it. It’s helping me in my career, my marriage, with my kids and most importantly my connection with my Higher Power has been restored. Something I struggled with for most of my life.
I have been exposed to a lot since our doors opened in October 2017. And yes, there were times where I thought I was mad to think I can do this. Stubborn or ungrateful clients and difficult family members have left me wondering at times if what we’re doing is making a difference at all. Coupled with the challenges of having a new business and a husband in recovery himself, I think it’s fair to say that if I need excuses, I have plenty to choose from.
What makes me get up in the mornings is a combination of things. I have truly amazing and passionate staff that never gives up, I get to hear how well some ex-clients are doing despite challenges or set-backs still celebrating clean time, family members who keep in touch and clients showing tremendous progress despite the challenges they face. But most of all, I have a husband that is a testimony that this program works if you are willing to work it. He is my inspiration in so many ways. And with that, my cup runs over.
My hope when starting PRC Recovery with Mart was to afford an opportunity for other families to experience the same blessings we have today. Creating a platform for people to recover, families being reunited and that through a program that has helped my husband stay clean for over five years. And so far, we had over 100 families through our doors and that to me is a blessing.
The reality is not everyone is ready for recovery, and that is often a hard pill to swallow. We try to adapt our program, change strategies and revisit previous challenges to see where we can make a difference. And yet, it is not always enough. Bottom line is, we will continue to do so and my only hope is those not ready for sobriety will at least know there is a familiar place that believes in 2nd chances.
To the families of those still inactive, our family is a testimony that things can change. It is an extremely tough journey and you don’t have to walk it alone. Reach out to support groups or counsellors to ensure your emotional wellbeing. And remember, you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. Don’t lose hope.