A story of hope: Drug addict turns his life around

Randburg resident Jean-Pierre Devilliers Anderson (33), fondly known as JP, has been clean and sober for over 18 months, thanks to his full commitment to taking his life back and SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre’s Full Circle Recovery Programme.

JP, who grew up in Thabazimbi, Florida and Roodepoort, says while he had a normal childhood, he had a few demons in his closet.

“At 19, when I was offered khat, I went for it… I wanted to be cool. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be part of something. I wanted an experience to escape the reality of life.

“Once the addiction took hold of me, I needed to explore more and try stronger drugs. I moved on to crystal meth and ecstasy. In the beginning, it was good and fun, I felt fine,” he says.

As the years of addiction passed, JP says he reached a point of no turning back.

“Sadly, instead of getting the help I needed, I carried on. I hit absolute rock bottom a few times. I was completely alone. I lost my family and friends, as they all rejected me. I lost my job. I was not getting anywhere in life. I was going backwards. This lasted for nine years.

“I was filled with hate and anger and blamed everyone and everything around me for what I was going through. In my mind, I thought that I didn’t need anyone or anything. I thought I was good… I could still get a fix,” says JP.

Luckily, JP realised he needed help before it was too late.

“I was frail, skinny and daunting to the eye. This image frightened me. My family tried to help and had me admitted to SANCA Wedge Gardens,” says JP.

He was initially admitted in December 2019, but sadly relapsed.

“I no longer wanted to be a failure to myself, my son, my family and to God. I prayed. I tried so hard on my own to fix my life, but it was not enough. Eventually, I realised that I needed help and guidance. That’s when I called Wedge Gardens and begged to come back. By the grace of God I was allowed back there months later.”

Thanks to Wedge Gardens’ Full Circle Recovery Programme, JP is now a successful ex drug addict.

“The programme was truly interesting, helpful and helped me to succeed. I found my true self again… A man that I am proud to be,” says JP.

“I want so say a very special thank you to my psychologist and all the ‘sisters’ at Wedge Gardens. Without them, I don’t think that I would be where I am today. Their belief in me helped me to believe in myself again. It helped me to choose to turn my life around and I will be forever grateful to all of them,” he adds.

JP has been clean since 26 August 2019. “That’s 589 days and counting. I still struggle every day, but with faith and the love and the support of my family and true friends around me, I choose me and I will not go backwards again,” he says.

JP is now firmly focussed on building a successful business. “I would love for my son, Jayden, to join the business and take it over some day, if he wants to. I am now living my life for my son. I will do anything and everything for him. He is my world. I will prove to him the man I am, and I will be a dad that he can be proud of.”

JP now also enjoys cycling and training, which helps him to relax and reflect on himself and his life.

“The daily struggle is very difficult, but by the grace of God I have no cravings. My mindset has changed. I pray and my faith has helped to keep me clean. I choose to stay away from all substances, including alcohol. I will not go backwards, it is not fair on myself or my loved ones,” says JP.

His advice to struggling addicts is to keep trying. “You will only fail if you stop trying. You need to do it for yourself. We all have it in us to achieve our goals. We just need to believe and realise that we can be who we want to be. Remember your 12 Steps,” says JP.

As for the future, JP is taking it one day at a time. “I am thankful. I take each task and each day on with a sober, strong, Godly mindset,” he says.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens and the Full Circle Recovery Programme, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za.

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