Alcohol, drugs and detox … living in the shadow of the Covid


“He’s 12 somewhere in the world.

It was a favorite remark from Durban’s Jared Elliott when he needed a drink or a shot of cocaine during the long months of lockdown.

The 25-year-old spoke candidly to the Independent on Saturday this week about his drug and alcohol addiction which he said was exacerbated during the pandemic.

Elliott said that when the first hard lockdown level 5 was introduced, he was drinking and taking drugs.

“I started consuming more of it during confinement, I was stuck inside. I was working from home and you are starting to lose your ethics. Without a boss or coworkers, it’s easier to start drinking sooner. I mean “it was 12 o’clock somewhere in the world” and I would start during the day and get drunk by the end of the day. Then I would start with cocaine in the evening.

“The prices were extreme at level 5, but it was very easy to organize, and the drug dealers would deliver cigarettes and drugs to my door for a 50 R delivery charge. Of course it was lockdown. , but you could always bring in a friend or two, ”he said.

Things got worse because he had access to his company’s petty cash.

“My cocaine use was getting worse and I started breaking out of petty cash. It quickly escalated and the situation got extremely bad, “Elliott said, adding that by” borrowing “R100 that he intended to repay, the amount” borrowed “quickly rose to R40,000.

“I was like ‘how do I get through today? I would end up having another bag, I was an alcoholic and a functional drug addict.

He convinced himself that a glass of whiskey with his coffee, or champagne with a fruit juice in the morning, was normal.

“You can force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel like you’re doing something wrong. “

A friend advised him to be honest with his company and face the music.

“He said I had to show them respect and admit to them what I had done. It was so hard to write it down and face what I had done, but I couldn’t afford to pay it back, ”he said, adding that his company had asked him to follow. rehabilitation.

Before entering rehab, Elliott went to spend a weekend with friends where, “I had never taken so much cocaine, I felt dead at the end of the weekend. that my body would stop while I was driving those few hours, but I managed to get home.

“The next day when I woke up I looked in the mirror and thought ‘What have you done with Jared?’ I was like, ‘no I’m done with this,’ ”he said.

He decided to go to rehab without telling anyone, but then caught Covid and had to go home to self-isolate.

“I sat at home, still struggling and trying not to relapse. I felt completely isolated. I took 10 sleeping pills, took names off my phone and passed out, ”he said, recalling his lowest point.

He was woken up by his parents knocking on his door and was admitted to a rehabilitation center, Riverview Manor in southern Drakensberg that evening.

“There, I was able to identify with other patients. I will never forget the pain and torture that addiction has put me through, which helps me stay sober.

“It was hard to see the whole world in turmoil during the pandemic and with the world of remote working it was easy to get into a relaxed state of mind; you are hidden, you can do whatever you want.

“I was also worried about having Covid and eventually I would start at 8 or 9 in the morning with a glass of whiskey in my coffee, just to get over the hangover,” he said.

Now clean for several months, Elliott has been working with the marketing team at Choose Life Specialist Recovery Center in Durban (Riverview’s sister facility), where this week General Manager Matthew Young said: “There has been a massive increase in the number. of people seeking help since the pandemic struck.

“We are not only dealing with people with existing addictions, but also with those who are new to addiction and who use various substances to quash and cope with the pressures of living in the shadow of Covid-19.

“During this period, people were admitted for drug addiction, depression and anxiety. Alcohol problems, in particular, appear to be increasing despite the bans put in place. We have learned from our patients that despite the bans, illegal substances are readily available anytime and anywhere, ”he said.

The independent on Saturday

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