Monday 19 April 2021
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From journalist to homeless street dweller

By Staff Reporter

Hope – hope that tomorrow will bring positive changes in your live – that is all one has when finding yourself unemployed, homeless and without family, friends and love ones surrounding you, with only alcohol which deceivingly soothes the pain in your heart, drives away the cold on the streets of Swakopmund and also in a way fills an empty stomach.
This is the story of millions around the world finding themselves in the claws of bacchus and drug abuse. Losing your job is never easy and coping with the effects thereof is the biggest challenge, especially if you have children.
First of all depression sets in, followed by self-pity and a feeling of powerlessness and also a sense of hatred towards society and life itself. Getting drunk or high for the time being gets your mind of your worries and soon enough you are dependent on that “cure” and the addiction sets in.
Being an alcoholic strips you from everything – your self-confidence, your pride and dignity, your common sense, but most of all it casts away your family and loved ones.
Suicide seems like the only option at the time, because “nobody cares for you, nobody wants to help you, life is not fair to you, God has forgotten about you, you are not worthy to be alive as you cannot even take care of your children and family,” etcetera, etcetera… . I’ve been in that stage more than once, but fortunately never succeeded.
Rowing this boat for a while took me from a senior journalist to a homeless street dweller, looking in garbage bins for valuables to sell and sometimes also for food – right down to the gutter. Scrap metal and empty beer or wine bottles are also a definite source of income. These “valuables” are sold primarily for alcohol, with only a small portion used for fat cakes and “osoppa” (soup) and occasionally a piece of “matangara.”
The unquenchable thirst for alcohol also made me lie, deceit and scam loved ones and family for money.
I it made me sell all my valuables, clothes, shoes and even toiletries at a stage, leaving me alone on the streets of Swakopmund, sleeping in very harsh conditions without even a blanket to cover me from the cold and mist.
I’ve even sold the clothes my family bought me, after selling my own. Every day was “zula” to survive, with some days not even a slice of bread to eat.
Living on the streets and at drinking holes I’ve met many a people struggling with almost the same scenario and it made me realize how easy it is for someone with a good job and successful career to become a victim of bacchus. Most of the people I’ve met are qualified in one or other field, but find themselves jobless and homeless as a direct result of alcoholism.
My story certainly is not unique, as many professionals out there suffer from the same malady, but very few will ever admit that they have a problem and need help. In my case I’ve always told myself “you can control your drinking habit, it’s all in the mind; you can stop any time you want, bla bla bla…”
Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that one day I will have to write something negative about myself.
Throughout my career as journalist I’ve written my fair share of stories about other people’s lives and through my stories tried to help and uplift these people. However, this time around it’s my turn and this is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. This is only a glimpse in the life of an unemployed and homeless alcoholic, with hope as your sole companion.. Through this writing, my wish is to spread the word that alcoholism destroys families and lives – for real. Admit that you have a problem, seek for help and listen to your family and loved ones before you end up in the gutter…it can happen to anybody – believe you me.

A letter to my kids,
My dear children, you are my reason for living, for keeping the hope that one day the Almighty Father will smile upon me once again. I know that I have neglected you in so many ways, but trust me, you were never out of my mind or heart. I can only pray that one day you will learn to forgive me and try to understand what I was going through.
I am not making any excuses for my wrong-doings, as I am the only culprit and made all the wrong choices by myself.
There is no way I can express in words how my heart aches for you guys – after all action speaks louder than words. I thank my Heavenly Father for grabbing my right hand and telling me, “Do not fear, I will help you…” I am busy taking it one day at a time towards recovery and I know that very soon we will all be together again, living the live God had cut out for us even before we were born. Keep the faith.
Love you always…

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