Category Archives: Inspiration

Revovery IS a Reality – Letter to the Editor

Letter published in the Cape Argus, Monday June 29th 2009, pg. 11.

The Editor                                                                                      27June 2009

Cape Argus

Dear Sir,


We all know about the destructiveness of drug abuse, and every week we read about more horrors, more violence, more crime that is directly attributed to drug abuse.

The disease of alcohol and drug abuse – described by some experts as a ‘social health nightmare –  is an epidemic of global proportions affecting millions of individuals, families, work places and communities.

The number of young people engaged in drug experimentation and regular use is alarming and demands urgent attention.

Addiction wreaks devastation, and respects no boundaries of income, race, occupation or geography. Crime is out of hand, and more than 80% of reported crime is drug related. Violence is entrenched in our families and more than 70% of gender abuse is drug related.

A conservative estimate of the health and other social cost associated with drug abuse in South Africa is R 12 billion per year. Drug trafficking also continue to foment corruption, one of the most formidable obstacles to good governance.

Yet, having just observed the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking last Friday, the silence about addiction is entrenched in communities, workplaces, our churches, and in our homes.

This monster is living in our homes, yet we still ignore its presence.

It is easy for people to talk about their heart disease or kidney disease or diabetes or hypertension. Yet, the Disease of Addiction?

Generally our society still views drinking and drug use as a behaviour of choice or a moral failing instead of a health issue.

People impacted by addiction are reticent about asking for help as society at large still perpetuating norms that foster shame and stigma.

We tend to think of alcohol and drug problems in terms of junkies and alcoholics who need to be treated to overcome their addiction.

Of course providing treatment is important because it is likely to benefit treated individuals, yet it is not enough.

No matter how effective treatment is for the individual, if the family and community dynamics contributing to these problems are unchanged, it will do little to reduce the overall level of harm experienced at the family and community level.

Our health system traditionally addresses addiction when a crisis occurs: car wrecks, violence, criminal arrests, or firing from a job.

We act as though entry to a treatment centre is the beginning of the disease. The illness’s emerging symptoms and the remarkable fact or recovery remain below society’s awareness level. Both aspects of this inattention breed the ignorance and misinformation that cost us all so much pain and money.

Responding to the symptoms of addiction when they present themselves is consistent with the fact that alcoholism and drug addiction is a primary, chronic, and progressive disease.

Early awareness and early intervention lead to early recovery. Better education and life skills are needed to inform young people about the devastating effects of drugs, and to help them resist the pressures to experiment.

Efforts need to be in place to raise awareness.  Drugs are illegal because they are a problem, and not a problem because they are illegal. Drug education is HIV/Aids prevention.

Governments, NGO’s, schools, the workplace and the media must work hand-in-hand. Our collective efforts must focus especially on young people through education, outreach, peer-to-peer networks, and using platforms such as such as sport, music and entertainment that inspire young people.

Equally important is to engage parents, teachers and employers to play their part in full. Our efforts also require working to reduce supply. The light of science and not the darkness of fear and ignorance should guide these efforts.

Individuals and families who have survived addiction should now become visible and vocal stakeholders. Recovery is a Reality.

The good news is that today we enjoy a generation of people in recovery that is ready and willing to speak out and take on the role of mentors.

History teaches us that the voices of survivors, their family members and allies drive public responses to major illness.

Addiction is no exception. Recovery from addiction is happening for thousands of South Africans – rich and poor, young and old, executives and school drop-outs, women and men, black and white, country and city dwellers.

Achieving a stable, productive and fulfilling life is, in fact, a reality when proven solutions are applied. Appropriately diagnosed and treated cases of addiction yield many happy outcomes: Recovery happens. Families heal. Money is saved. Life gets better. Recovering people give back. Everyone wins.

We need to take responsibility to heal ourselves, our families and our communities. We need to embrace the hope of recovery, and  the spirit of courage, knowing  that Recovery is a Reality!

Yours Faithfully,

Jurgens Smit

Executive Director




The Heroes of Recovery

Beyond Addiction: The will to change

It seems as if people will do just about anything to garner attention, fame or fortune. But those weren’t Aron Lee Ralston’s goals when he sawed off his hand with a makeshift multi-tool after becoming pinned by a boulder in the backcountry of Utah six years ago. All he wanted to do was live.

His true grit has made him a celebrity, a best-selling author and a motivational speaker. In The New York Times recently, Ralston said the experience has changed him. “It was a blessing in a way,” he said. “It made me think about the way I was living.”

Ralston’s case is a prime example of the opportunity that comes from adversity. By cutting off his hand, he changed his whole life. Courage can’t be quantified. Ralston deserves everything he’s got today.

But his story is not unique, though it isn’t often that people resort to chopping off limbs to free themselves of what otherwise might kill them. I know scores of people who, like Ralston, faced adversity and were desperate to live — who were pinned down by circumstances unforeseen and unjustified, who made it because they had the courage to cut off those parts of themselves that held them back from the freedom of life.

They’re called addicts and alcoholics who have embraced recovery. And like Ralston, they survive day after day only because at the moment of their deepest crises, at the bottom, they discovered the strength to reach deep into themselves to tap a superhuman ability to make tough choices. By giving away parts of themselves, they’ve been restored. They survive.

But you won’t read about them in the newspaper or online. They don’t garner five-figure fees for speeches or write books that are bought by millions of people. Heck, rarely do they even seek public attention. Yet I believe it is time for people in recovery to stand up and speak out and for the public to pay attention.

Ralston made a conscious choice to hike in the Utah wilderness alone without telling anybody where he was. And while a few critics call him a “heedless fool” for not weighing the life-threatening risks of his deliberate choices, to most of us he is a genuine hero, somebody we admire.

Addicts and alcoholics made conscious choices, too — to drink or take drugs, usually without telling anybody. Their critics call them “bad” or “evil” or “weak-willed” and wage a “war on drugs” against them. Nobody admires them or calls them heroes.

Why? Because while Ralston was ready to tell his story — even admitting his foolishness — people in recovery remain invisible or silently anonymous or in the shadows of addiction’s stigma, preferring to share their stories only among themselves, usually in 12-step meetings. The result is that the public cannot grasp the indiscriminate power of addiction or what it takes in terms of sacrifice, personal responsibility and hard work on the parts of addicts and alcoholics to make recovery a reality by changing their entire lives. How can people admire or be inspired by what they can’t see?

Every day in this country, addicts and alcoholics make decisions to cut off essential components of their existences: the alcohol or other drugs that defined their lives. Like Ralston, they don’t do it to become heroes or make money or sell books. They do it simply because they want to live. What they give up in those moments comes back to them in what they gain from the rest of their lives. It is a lesson too many others who struggle with addiction have yet to realize because nobody has told them.

William Moyers

Wisdom on resistance

“Pain exists only in resistance

 joy exists only in acceptance

 painful situations which you heartily accept

become joyful

 joyful situations which you do not accept

become painful

 there is no such thing as a bad experience

 bad experiences are simply creations of your resistance to what is”


 –          Rumi  

10 Steps to an excellent life ….

I was emailed this excellent article by Ronya Banks.

Practised on a daily basis, what an amazing tool to

stay in the NOW. Read on: …

Quote:  “Its never too late to be what you might have been”  



Top 10 Ways to Raise Your Consciousness

By Ronya Banks 

Life can be a GIFT or a NIGHTMARE, depending on where you choose to operate from consciously. Practiced regularly, the following 10 tips will assist you in shining your beautiful unique light so brightly that your resulting raised consciousness will be a GIFT to yourself, humanity, and the Cosmos.

1. Forgive yourself and others.

 Life is too short to hold on to regrets, grudges, miscommunications, or disappointments. Free yourself by forgiving and letting go of any negative energy you’re holding on to about yourself and/or others. There are many ways to do this. One way is to write down anything you’re ready to let go of and ceremonially tear it into small pieces and throw it away as you forgive. You may even choose to verbally forgive anyone you’ve been resenting. Either way, the process of forgiving yourself and others will result in your feeling light and free, and consequently raise your vibration.

2. Practice gratitude and appreciation.

Whatever you focus on grows. So, when you focus on every thing in your life you have to feel grateful for and all the wonderful people you appreciate, the universe hands you more to feel grateful about. It’s a wonderfully reciprocal consciousness raising process.

 3. Live each day as though it were your last.

If today was your last known day in this lifetime, with what type of people would you surround yourself? What would you say to the people you care about? What personal gifts would you make sure you imparted to humanity and the earth? Live each day as if it was your last, and you will be living in a state of light, love and unconditional contribution.

 4. Meditate/Pray.

You open up a direct link between yourself and the spiritual realm when you meditate and/or pray. Meditation and prayer can be used to bring you closer to your creator energy, raise your vibration, bring you peace, clarity, joy, and connection, as well assist you in experiencing a perfectly balanced state between your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies.

5. Suspend judgment.

This world is laden with judgment, irresponsibility, and finger pointing. One judges another to feel less guilty about one’s own misgivings. Judgment energy is dense, dark, and heavy. On the other hand, unconditional acceptance is light, free, and accepting. Let go of judging and criticizing yourself and others. Everyone is on a different path, and some appear to be further ahead on their path than others. Neither path is better nor worse than another. Raise your consciousness to one of acceptance.

6. View every experience as a GIFT.

If you look back at occurrences in your life, you can easily see how even the worst situations you experienced in your life ended up teaching you invaluable lessons and therefore ended up putting you in the perfect place for your continuing development. When you view every experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly as a GIFT, life flows more like a gentle, inspiring breeze.

 7. Stay consciously aware of all of your thoughts and feelings.

Until you raise the consciousness of the entire human race, it is extremely easy to fall back in to all pervasive negative patterns of complaining and feeling like a victim of society and a victim of your life. To stay out of these patterns, check in with yourself your present thoughts and feelings several times a day. When you catch yourself in the Negative zone, don’t feel badly about it and beat yourself up. Simply choose to switch your consciousness to one of gratitude and positive thinking. Remain conscious.

8. Treat your physical body as your temple.

Your body is the only vehicle you’ve been given for this ride called “LIFE.” The better you care for your body by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by implementing a regular exercise routine, and by giving your body the rest it requires, the more you will experience increased energy, vitality, joy, and freedom. Honor, love, appreciate and take extra good care of your body, and you will be raising your energy and your consciousness.

9. View the world through the eyes of a child.

Observe a baby or a young child. It won’t take you long to notice that young children are constantly totally enthralled by the process of observing and experiencing the wonder and beauty in every single thing, color, texture, and person they meet. They can’t get enough! Look at every tree, sunset, cloud, and human being as a child would and you’ll be in a constant state of wonder, joy, surprise, acceptance, and enlightenment.

 10. Give LOVE, LOVE, LOVE from your heart.

 It’s all about love. Do you remember the feeling of being in love for the first time? Why was it so wonderful? That’s because love is the highest vibration. Allow yourself to receive love unconditionally from others. Give love from your heart unconditionally to yourself and others, and you will experience the highest state of consciousness possible.

– About the Submitter:  This piece was originally submitted by Ronya Banks, Degrees in both Psychology and Computer Programming, as well as certification in extensive leadership trainings, Life coach, trainer, business owner, entrepreneur, mother, writer, and mentor, who can be reached at, or visited on the web.



Living the NOW

I read this quote last night: ‘Honour the past and the future as points of reference, not as places of recidence’ and it reminded me again that all I really have is this NOW, this moment.

The past is gone, and whatever happened I cannot change it. I take responsibility for it, I learn the lesson and then I move on. And tomorrow? It’s going to happen, with or without me. My challenge is to stay in this moment and be the best I can be moment to moment. It doesn’t mean that I have to be perfect, only that I am doing my best, every minute of my day.

This is the theory behind staying centered and living life on lives terms. Yet we all know that the Miracle is in the Doing. I have found the following actions helpful:

Deep breathing. Whenever I notice some tension in my body, I stop, and take a couple of deep breaths. I use the words ‘Slow down’ on the in breath, and ‘Let it Go’ on the out breath. I do not resist the tension, rather I will ask questions of it, for instance, ‘What is going on, what do you want to tell me?’ I then let it go on the out breath, blowing the tension out as a child blows soap bubbles.

Mindfulness. Focusing my mind on what I am doing in the moment is also a great help and I will engage all my senses. If I eat, I will really look at whatever I am eating and see what’s there to see. I will listen to any sounds as I eat, feel the feelings as it food enters my mouth and travels down to where ever it goes. I will smell what ever smells there is in that moment. I do not judge these sensations, I just notice them and then let them go. I love to touch objects and really feel the texture, see the colours and press it against my body.

Daily readings. My early morning reading is a special time for me. I look for a word, or a sentence that resonates with me in that moment and I write it down. During my day, whenever I feel off balance, I will read and reflect on my daily message.

Routine and Structure. I plan my day in advance and it is one of the most powerful tools I have. Every night before I go to sleep I will look at my daily planner for the next day and so plant the seeds of success in my unconscious mind.

Positive Affirmations. On a daily basis I use a selected positive affirmation and repeat it whenever I can. My current favourites are ‘Whatever happens, I can handle it’, ‘Every moment in every day I am getting better and better’, and ‘The quality of My Life depends only on me! I choose to be the creator of powerful and loving thoughts.’

Giving back. Doing something nice for someone else is a way of giving back – and it sometimes is just small things like greeting a stranger, give someone a gap in the traffic, compliment someone, etc.

– Gratitude. An attitude of Gratitude is such a centering exercise and I practise on a daily basis to give thanks for the abundance and blessings in my life. Every time I think I’ve really got nothing to be thankful for, the saying that ‘I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet’ pops into my mind and my gratitude flows for all that I have.

Success at anything is simple – it is just a matter of repetition of little thoughts and little actions. Simple steps.

I am curious to know what you are doing to stay in this moment. I am looking forward to your replies.

Love and light,