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When the pain of using drugs is greater than the pain of getting clean

Tue, 09 Jun 2009
Filming Felinda

I've confirmed the Felinda shoot for 2pm at her friend Dirk's boyfriend's house, where she is staying at the moment. Its in Bridgetown- Athlone. Her boyfriend's name is Muis.

Tue, 07 Jul 2009
Not looking too hopeful

I spoke with Felinda this morning, she's feeling okay; just trying to make it through each day, and has spent the weekend in Claremont. She can't remember her weekend or what she did – but she knows she spent it at the pub. Apparently Nicky and Felinda might be hearing from Stikland soon. Felinda is, by now, “gatvol”. It's been 7 weeks. She's trying to incorporate the SANCA teaching into her daily life: she gets up in the morning, makes her bed and baths... it's about the little things, it seems. Felinda may go to her sister-in-law in Strandfontein tomorrow (Wednesday) and stay till Saturday – she reckons that there probably aren't any pubs in the area. I told her to send us a Please-Call-Me if there is anything she'd like to talk about.

Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Chat with the councilor

Spoke to Cheryl, Councilor from SANCA, and asked her if anyone in the group would be interested in having a separate group therapy that could be filmed. She said she'd let me know, though she is hesitant about being on camera herself. I tried convincing her and said she should think about it. She was very surprised that Felinda has not gone straight to Stikland- says she's made referrals before and they turned out okay!

I have left a message for Felinda to call me. I can't seem to get hold of her for a while now.

Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Bad news and good news... Good news and bad

So I just tried my luck again at trying to get hold of Anita (Felinda's mom) and Felinda.

She answered! Anita had me call her back because she was busy. Called back. Asked her if Felinda was staying with her. No! Felinda is not staying with her. Felinda is in Kensington!

This is great! Only, no one informed us.

The story goes like this:
Anita prayed last Wednesday, and then directly afterwards, BADISA rang her to say there is a space for her at a new centre opening in Kensington. She says it's 3rd time she has asked BADISA for help. When she told Felinda, she yelled out in excitement. BADISA called her on Wednesday and let her that she was to come in at 10 on Thursday to discuss. They said they just had a space open up for admission on Monday. Nicky picked Felinda up that day and took her to Kensington and booked her in.

Anita has not yet spoken to Felinda in the centre, but tomorrow is her family meeting at 4pm. She is going to try her best to be there, but transport is a problem.

I asked Anita if we could interview her this coming Monday (the 20th), and she was happy to participate. I said we'd be there about lunchtime, but that I'd confirm beforehand and keep her posted.

Mon, 27 Jul 2009
Collateral damage…

Okay. Just spoke to Anita and she hadn't heard from either Felinda or Nicky. She is hesitant to call Nicky but says she will try this evening.

Anita is still going to Alanon meetings once a week, but transport is an issue for her.

And she's been feeling a little down. She says last night she was thinking how now that Felinda is on the right path she “feels ready to die”.... I told her that she should get to see Felinda and Zia (Felinda's Daughter) really find the right way and live on their path. She realised that she was just down, and genuinely wants to see them happy. Phew.

She was glad I called because of - well, the above! She said that the night that we interviewed her she didn't really sleep because her mind was working massively overtime. On the farm where Anita grew up, her dad was a police officer and travelled from town to town with her mother. Whenever they had a new baby (i.e. Anita and her siblings) they would send them back to the farm to live with the grandparents. It was a tight community, and everyone was nice to each other and they respected their elders. She said this thing with Felinda broke her heart as she was reared so differently, with such different attitudes.

Tue, 25 Aug 2009
Update on Felinda from Nicky

So, the conversation with Nicky this morning was actually rather enlightening. Felinda's weekend went well. She took herself to an AA meeting and all is well with staying at Dirk's. Apparently he is very supportive...although still drinking! Felinda mentioned to Nicky that drinking is always going to be all around her. On Sunday, Nicky took Zia to Felinda for a visit. They are trying to get her back into the swing of being a mother to Zia.

Nicky's found some job options for Felinda and she is going for a couple of interviews: one is a canvasser for MSF, which Nicky thinks will be good as she would spend time talking to other people and divert her focus to them. The other is a waitressing job in Sea Point.

She also said that Felinda kept a journal, which she gave to Nicky. This could be really good to incorporate if Felinda agrees!

Wed, 26 Aug 2009
Looking good!

I rang Felinda this evening. It's the fist time I've spoken to her since she left rehab. I have to say, she sounds totally different. She has an upbeat but realistic sense about her. Her voice actually sounds better than it used to. She is staying in Rosmead Ave with Dirk and is very grateful to the people at Kensington. She says she feels like she had a family there. She felt like it was the first time she had connected with people and had a relationship that didn't revolve around, “what alcohol or drugs can you get me?”. Now that her 6 week program is over, she has aftercare every Saturday for the next 6 months. Felinda saw some of her friends there who were in treatment and just wanted to go over and hug them.

She said she is supposed to attend 90 meetings in 90 days, but transport is a big issue and she has outdated meeting lists. She is also considering attending the NA meetings instead of AA. She feels she can relate to the people at NA as they are closer to her age and that addicts are all addicts: they look for the similarities, not the differences. She is happy to be out and cannot wait to get into the “norm” of things. Over the next few weeks Felinda will be job hunting! I told her I would ring before the weekend and get an update from her.

Overall she sounds really positive and keen to get back into life, although she really misses Kensington and the people she met there.

Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009
Slight setback

There have been a few dramas with Dirk getting arrested and some other strange events. We have re-scheduled the shoot for Wednesday this week.

Mon, 14 Sep 2009
Two Sides to every story?

Oh boy. So we're starting to deal with some snags.

Felinda's Story:
She is not doing so well in that she is unhappy she's moved in with her mother, who gets on her nerves and doesn't understand her. Currently Felinda is training for HQ, a shoe store in Claremont, and has also registered to do her matric for next year; exams will take place around May 2010. She has been in touch with BADISA to apply for training in a social worker course, which councils convicts through Pollsmoor. She is still not keen on doing AA meetings as she doesn't feel she fits in there, but is trying to attend NA meetings. She's still attending Saturday morning aftercare at Kensington. Some people from her group have not been showing up at her aftercare. Felinda has yet to find a sponsor.

Tue, 15 Sep 2009
First day working!

I spoke with the Felinda today; she's starting work this Thursday at the Cavendish Shoe Store. I suggested that we follow her getting ready and going to work: her first day working! She was unsure about it and said I should give her a ring tomorrow to confirm once she's had a think about it.

I spoke to her about filming her and Zia together. She said she would have a chat to Zia about it. She and Zia apparently don't do many activities together, but she does do homework with her and on Sunday mornings they walk on the beachfront in Sea Point.

Wed, 16 Sep 2009
Regular Mom!

It is Zia's birthday today. Felinda tried to make party packs for Zia to take to school but ended up just throwing the sweets in a bowl…we had a laugh about that. She has not yet spoken to Zia about us wanting to film them, and is waiting for the right time (she didn't want to do it on her birthday). I said I'd ring her tomorrow to check in. Would have loved to have got her on camera assembling the party packs and getting ready for first day of work. Ho hum.

Tue, 29 Sep 2009
Felinda Update

All good with Felinda. Today she is going for another job interview in Sea Point and said I should ring her at about 5:30 to see when we can interview her again. Zia is on school holidays at the moment and her cousin from Vredendaal is with her. They are quite bored as Claremont is not much fun without money.

Felinda hasn't really attended meetings, but is still going to her aftercare at Kensington. The group's gotten smaller, she says, and doesn't know whether it's because her fellow patients are using again.

Things are still hard for her living with her mom, but overall she seems quite positive.

Fri, 09 Oct 2009
Layered excuses

Felinda has no job.
She has left HQ, as they only wanted her to work Saturdays and this got in the way of her Saturday aftercare at KTC. In the very next breath, she told me how she was NOT enjoying the Saturday classes at KTC as they kept rehashing the past and they no longer do activities associated around setting goals and looking to the future. Hmm. Also, she went to see how her “recovery plant” was doing, and is wanting to do 2 or so days a week of therapy at SANCA. Her meetings at KTC have been reduced in numbers somewhat: some people only turn up occasionally.

Felinda is still struggling to live with Anita. Zia is apparently in a good space at the moment and her cousin came to visit, which was enjoyable for her.

Felinda did have the opportunity to work at Spar in Sea Point, but some shifts ended late and transport was a problem, so she couldn't take the job.

As for her counselling opportunity, her mother is dealing with that application for her and she is still waiting to hear about it. Never mind that she's not talking to her mom at the moment! She says that when Anita arrives home, it's like a black cloud fills the flat.

Dirk has been visiting and is, according to Felinda, “getting on my ass”. He is there in the mornings and evenings and it is interfering with her recovery. She says she doesn't want to be rude to him, but he is getting too much for her. Felinda is not going to any NA or AA meetings.

Tue, 13 Oct 2009

It seems that Friday might be a huge day!

Abi is in the middle of a relapse, Shahieda (a friend from Kensington) and Felinda want to stage an intervention. Abi is currently living with her ex-boyfriend in Kuilsrivier. Abi has been mentioned before by Felinda in another interview – she was one of her closest friends in Kensington.

Felinda is also in touch with Abi's mom.

Felinda asked if we would like to film the intervention. I said she should speak to her group members to see if they would be keen to do it. I think it might be a little hectic in that we can't really ask Abi beforehand if she would like to be involved. This may be good to see how Felinda has changed and is so actively involved, no longer only thinking about herself and becoming proactive within her community.

Thu, 15 Oct 2009
WOW! Shahieda

Shahieda went to KTC with Felinda and was her roommate. She had been using Tik for 7 years and had started on ecstasy – she is from Heideveld. Shahieda's family has apparently been very supportive and applied the “tough love” approach to her recovery. They've also provided physical and financial support. Shahieda has 3 kids; the threat of losing them gave her a monstrous wakeup call. Her brother locked her in the car outside the treatment centre while he went in to see if he could get her admitted. She then broke down.

She has apparently gained confidence and is loving recovery. Sounds like she is greatly involved with the H&I sub-committee of NA and talks at KTC and wants to be involved in the convention. She sounds great! Her family would always have karaoke parties and she never had confidence to participate, but in KTC during treatment she would fight for the mic as she felt there was no judgment! This shows how involved you can be if you choose to be!

As for the Intervention:
There is concern for how the boyfriend will react. Shahieda says that it is not advisable for them to stage an intervention and that they should rather see her and let her know they're there for her. They are taking some guys from KTC with them in case anything goes pear-shaped with the boyfriend.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009
Quickly going nowhere

Felinda still is not working.

She is living at her mother's flat, but her mother doesn't stay there anymore– her brother and sister-in-law are staying with her. They are having marriage problems, which is making it hard for Felinda who feels caught in the middle.

She's making no effort to attend meetings (NA or AA) as she finds them depressing. She is however still attending her Saturday after care, but again finds this depressing. She “kills time” by walking around the shops. Felinda wasn't keen on my suggestion to perhaps try other meetings.

Zia is doing ok – she has just been on a Christian camp. Zia will be spending the summer Christmas holidays with the sister-in-law out in the sticks.

Apparently Shahieda has relapsed since last we saw her. She is still using tik they think and is not communicating with Felinda and other friends. She was briefly on mxit. Out of the 3 groups that started with Felinda, there are a total of 4 people that still go to aftercare.

Felinda is in a bad space and feeling depressed and wants to be alone.

Dirk is drinking a lot and she is not having him hang around anymore.

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