Jody Van Jaarsveldt
Jody Van Jaarsveldt is an individual who has over the last decade committed himself to his own personal recovery as well as those who suffer the same affliction as he does.
I was born and raised in the south of JHB in the 80’s and 90’s and brought up by my hard working, take no nonsense mother Jessica after the death of my father at age four. I found little to no value in role models outside of my neighbourhood and was naturally inclined to source rebellious, antiauthoritarians such as me to associate with. While in standard 4 (grade 6, and after failing two school years already) I was diagnosed with ADD (now known as ADHD) and made to attend a “special school” which, to me, was a major blow to my already negative outlook on the world and society as a whole.
By the early 90’s I was a disillusioned young man with no direction or ambitions and would continually find solace in friends, “jols” and anything that was counter culture or extreme, by age 13 drug experimentation had already become everyday use with Marijuana, LSD and Ecstasy. By age 16 Mandrax became an everyday habit. As a teenager from a middle class home money did not come freely and the culture of lying, stealing and manipulation became honed skills as I slipped into a world and life of petty crime ranging from theft, fraud and drug dealing. By age 17 (and helped by the country’s borders opening after the fall of Apartheid) new drugs had rapidly taken hold of the Johannesburg streets, namely Crack cocaine and Tia white (Heroin) which became the closest thing I had to a “spiritual experience” and would ultimately dictate that following 11 years of my life.
Over the next decade the cycle was destructive and predictable, death of friends, demolition of my family life and relationships. There were alarming physical consequences, Jail, lawyers, financial implications (for family mostly), loneliness and all that came with the life I chose. After attending numerous rehabilitation centres (both long and short term, both faith based and secular) I found myself living in a high jacked building in the JHB suburb of Berea with little to no contact with family and totally isolated from any friends, I was tired and physically sick (after contracting a chest infection from unsanitary conditions I was living in). I was given a lifeline from a family member, to go into a long term rehabilitation centre one last time. I understood one thing from my time in previous rehabilitation centres, and that was that I had a choice to recover, and if jail, institutions, loss of family and friends and sickness was not my “rock bottom” then death certainly was. I have maintained my sobriety over the last 11 years. After making the tough choices I found the need and have dedicated my life to helping those with the same affliction I suffered, just as others helped (and are still helping) me. After working in primary rehabilitation for a number of years, I was called back to Johannesburg along with my wife to start St George’s addictions reintegration centre and the new chapter in our lives and personal recovery’s.
Bronwyn Van Jaarsveldt
It is an honour for me to be in a position where I can put this into words. My life has taken a direction from active addiction, through long term recovery, to a place where I am working with individuals who are living in recovery and watching them thrive. While in my own life this still feels like a miracle, I am convinced that the formula to sustained sobriety and freedom from drugs lies in humbly deciding every day to be consistent and in that to make good choices.
I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. My adolescent years were filled with rebellious behaviour and destructive choices. I spiralled into a life of devastation which left me (and my loved-ones) hopeless and desperate. After years in addiction to stimulants, prescription medication and self-harm, I was admitted to Healing Wings long-term rehabilitation centre in Mozambique. Having had numerous admissions to psychiatric hospitals and short term programmes without success, the holistic long-term approach to treatment proved effective and provided a sustainable life plan.
I attribute my sobriety and growth to the support, love and guidance I was shown during my challenging treatment programme, I also found a passion in working with those going through rehabilitation. I spent the next 10 years working in the primary care therapeutic treatment environment. Moving back to Johannesburg in 2016, together with my husband, we have spear-headed the St Georges Halfway House and Reintegration programme. We are fortunate to work with and witness the lives of, once broken, individuals develop and grow as they reintegrate into all aspects of family and society.