FORMER SUBSTANCE USER ON THE ROAD TO DISPROVING NAYSAYERS

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By Madali Chibambu

  • Thabang Masia’s decision to undergo drug rehabilitation was driven by the realisation of the negative impact he had on his mother, the sole child of the family, as addiction took control of his life.
  • Despite initial reluctance and societal perceptions of rehabilitation, Masia now views it as a transformative journey and credits the Gauteng Department of Social Development for providing him with a second chance, enabling him to acquire welding skills.
  • To ensure a fresh start and prevent relapse, Masia plans to relocate from his current environment, highlighting the need for welding equipment for his business while expressing a desire to share his experiences and knowledge with unemployed youth to deter them from substance abuse.

Opting for drug rehabilitation marked a significant decision for 28-year-old Thabang Masia upon recognising the adverse effects he had inflicted on his mother, being her only child. Masia, from Sebokeng in Sedibeng, said choosing rehabilitation over his friends was never easy as death was knocking on his doorstep. The grip of addiction had taken control of his life. He also expressed sorrow for his mother, fearing she would be left childless upon his death.

“I love my mom more than anything, she tried for me to be a better person but what she was getting in return was a useless child and that is something I am trying to fix. Rehabilitation centres are never viewed as a better place for substance users. To us rehabilitation is like an initiation school where we get tortured, this is until you are inside and can introspect, “said Masia.

Masia was speaking during the Hiking activity that was organised by the Gauteng Department of Social Development in Kliprivier Nature Reserve. “I want to surprise my mother with an N3 Welding certificate as evidence that I am now a changed man. I do not see myself as a drug addict anymore, that is all in the past. I am now a new person who is willing to do anything to make my mom smile. She is a special person in my life and by hurting her I was also destroying my future. This is the beginning of a new journey,” added Masia.

Despite what he went through when he was still using crystal meth, Masia said he would like to thank the Gauteng Department of Social Development for offering him a second chance where he was able to develop skills in welding. His dream is to leave his current living situation with his mother, considering it unsuitable for a fresh start in life.

Masia adds that most people who have gone to rehabilitation centres relapse within a short space of time, due to going back to the same environment, hence he plans to relocate and have a fresh start. According to Masia, this is an achievement although some people out there treat them as failures.

Masia faces a hurdle in launching his welding business due to a lack of welding equipment. He expresses gratitude for any donations or potential employment opportunities. As for his future plans, he aims to share his knowledge with unemployed youth in his community, encouraging them to steer clear of drug use.

 

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