MOTIVATION:Ashley Thaba

THE season finale of our TV show, Talking with the Thabas, is an episode on substance abuse. This show is really special because my father in law agreed to share his journey that for 42 years he was an alcoholic and did not seem to be able to shake the addiction.

He describes on the show that it was a prison he put himself in and didn’t know how to get out. Percy’s mom described how it was to have a husband, but know that he spent more time in bars than at home.

Percy describes the hatred he felt and subsequently the freedom he felt when he learned that forgiveness was the key to his survival and happiness.

It is a heart felt episode where we become vulnerable with the intention to really put a face to a real problem many families face.

Substance abuse is real and destroying many families. Sadly, due to social stigmas, many keep quiet and suffer silently.

There is a social norm that we don’t discuss these issues that might bring shame to our family. We put on brave fronts and pretend everything is okay when we are dying inside and our homes are in turmoil!

We need to stop this if we want to work towards solutions.

We need to support each other, pray with one another, get involved in each other’s messy lives if we want to work towards solutions.

I could not be prouder of my parents for choosing to do something that was unbelievably difficult!

They chose to speak out and risk humiliation and rejection for talking about that which shouldn’t be mentioned.

They did this in an attempt to help many families. They did this to open the door to honest conversations about what goes on behind closed doors in homes.

They bravely made themselves vulnerable to the nation in an attempt to share their story to bring others hope.

Change is possible. Restoration of families is possible. We know because we have experienced it. We aren’t sharing with you from a theoretical textbook. We are telling you from real life. Miracles still happen. Substance abuse can be stopped!

I don’t have the space in this article but in this episode, we pick apart some very practical and clear ways that can happen based on real testimonies of real people.

We also tried to share from Percy’s mom and his perspective because what we need to realise is that it isn’t only the person abusing the substance that gets hurt.

Those who love that person and live with that person suffer, quite possibly, even more because they have to watch helplessly as this drug or alcohol ruins their loved one and their family. It is devastating and damages many people in our society.

In this episode, we tried to paint the picture for you that innocent people get killed by drunk drivers. Children raised in this environment are scarred for lives.

Spouses deal with unthinkable emotional and physical abuse as a result of spouses who are abusing substances. Many of these abusing substances leave children in the hands of the state to take care of — again putting a strain on the society at large.

Then, there are the crimes which are committed while abusing a substance when one is so desperate for another hit that they willingly steal or even kill someone to get money to sell for drugs. Substance abuse is real and it affects us all, whether directly or indirectly.

For this reason, we strongly believe we must become more open in discussing this issue. Another issue we cover in this episode is the issue of prevention in our children. How can we safeguard our children from falling into this trap?

Again, we need to start talking! I do a lot of parenting consultations and work with a lot of youth. Youth say their parents never discuss drugs and sex with them until it is too late and they have already made life altering detrimental choices.

Parents say “my kids are too young for these things”. They are not! Our children today are exposed to more than we could ever imagine forcing them to grow up way too early!

We must face the reality and start having open and honest discussions before the world gets to our children and pollutes them. In this episode, we discuss some practical ways that can be done.

We hope you can watch the episode by downloading it off our website, but even if you can’t, please take away this point from this article.

Substance abuse is a real issue that affects more people than you realise and we must start to be more open about this issue if we are going to work towards solutions. Pretending it doesn’t exist won’t help you, your family, or your children.

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