23 January 2018

I was paid with food, alcohol and dagga

Raised by his grandmother while his parents worked and lived in another province, Jeffrey took advantage of living with an elderly person and made the wrong choices in life.

It all started when Jeffrey volunteered to help a neighbour who sold dagga and alcohol. "I was 12 years old at that time. I would spend my weekends working in my neighbour's tavern. She did not pay me because I smoked her dagga and drank her alcohol for free. I also got free food and lodgings. I only went back home on Mondays and my grandmother never asked me where I had been," said Jeffrey.

He continued to volunteer at his neighbour’s tavern until he got a job on a farm.

"I did not help my grandmother financially. I used every cent I earned to feed my alcohol and dagga addiction," said Jeffrey.

He later moved to Johannesburg and lived with his relatives. "I got temporary jobs and I continued drinking and smoking. I became despondent because my life did not improve and I knew that my addiction was the reason for my misery. I sometimes wished I could die because my life was going nowhere," said Jeffrey.

In 1995, Jeffrey was invited to the Universal Church where he took part in the chains of prayer on Fridays and asked God to deliver him from his dagga and alcohol addiction.

“I started to lose interest in smoking and drinking until I completely stopped smoking and drinking after a year in the church. I realised I needed to depend totally on God’s strength not to go back to my old habits.

I invested more time in my spiritual development and attended Wednesday services where I learned how to be faithful to God and serve Him with my life. I am now free from my addictions. I was able to save money and build six rooms which I am renting out to earn money. I can now afford the things I could not before," said Jeffrey.

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