My husband, Brad, started experimenting with drugs at a young age. He was a full-blown addict in 2013 when he had the courage to go buy drugs for himself, thanks to his older brother sending him out to buy for him. We got married in 2005, and we have 2 girls (one from a previous relationship I had and the other I share with Brad). Things got worse in December 2015, Brad was admitted into the Addiction Recovery Centre (ARC), which is in Rynfield. He was admitted for 21 days and had to quit his very successful job a month later. After I attempted to have him admitted again, the bank approved a loan and credit card at the end of 2015, this allowed him to roughly spend R3000 a week on drugs and vodka. He started hanging out with Reece a so-called ‘friend’ in January 2016, Reece milked him for every cent and drug he had. Brad was eventually hooked on crystal meth and as his health deteriorated, his temper got worse. He even went as far as taking our girls with him to buy drugs and hide them in the boot of his car.
He and I were fighting all the time, calling each other terrible names in front of the girls. He would come and go as he pleased, and eventually, things started going missing in our home because he was pawning things off for money to buy drugs. I had him arrested for assault in April 2016, and he was sent to another rehab facility called Eden, for 3 months on a Diversion agreement (formal terms and conditions which a defendant must fulfil in order to have the charges against him/ her dismissed) Eden was fairly close to home, which meant the girls and I could visit him every weekend. During Brad’s time at Eden, I noticed how he would manipulate the counsellors, but they couldn’t see it, I started to believe I was crazy. Who was I to think the counsellors were not able to pick up on that? One week out of Eden and Brad relapsed, getting involved with Reece again. Now more things started going missing from our home as he continued to pawn off our belongings to feed his addiction.
By October 2017 things had gotten so bad that Brad raised his hand against me, this was a breaking point for me. At the time, had been going to church every Sunday, had joined a cell group, even though that I still believed that God had forsaken me. Why would God allow things like this to happen to me? I was broken. My girls hated being at home, and we become scared whenever Brad was around. He had lost everything, his car, his bike, and other things he pawned off. He was also about to lose me because we were on the verge of a divorce. I hated everything about him and could not stand the sight of him.
Brad’s brother had moved to Fouriesburg in October 2013 and was working as a counsellor at Jericho Recovery Centre. I had been in contact with him regarding Brad and hinted to Ralph that he should come to fetch Brad and take him to rehab. When it got to the physical abuse stages, Ralph started taking me more seriously. He took the opportunity to help me and get Brad into rehab because I had a planned business trip to Cape Town on Saturday 2 December 2017. Ralph would use my time away to fetch Brad and admit him into Jericho. I organised my girls to stay with my parents and left my car with them, so Brad had no transport while I was away. I was dropped off at the airport by my folks, but little did Brad know that his brother and two other men were on the way to take him to rehab.
Brad was forcefully taken to Jericho that day, and I only told my girls when I got back from Cape Town the following week. They were sad but relieved. Things could finally calm down at home, and the girls and I felt safer, although we were alone in the house, as long as Brad was away, we felt safe.
This was the time I started my quiet time with God. I would get up at 4:30 am and get on my knees, begging Him to change my heart, begging The Father to tell me what He wanted me to do. At church, I would get so confused, some services I would hear that I should be severing toxic relationships, other services I would hear that I should be fighting for my marriage. I was ready to divorce Brad and wondering how to buy him out of our home. I was concerned about how I was going to afford the school fees on my own. I was wondering if he would still care to be a part of the girls’ lives. I then decided to give all my concerns to God and leave them in His hand’s. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Although I was still concerned for the future, I knew God was working on it on my behalf. Things were happy at home and I still managed to have a decent Christmas with my girls. We were going to church every Sunday, we remained in our cell Group where we found the support of like-minded friends.
Brad’s breakthrough came at Jericho. He had been working hard on the Jericho farm and had injured his back. He said that while lying on his bed, knowing that he had lost everything, and was on the verge of losing me too, he just called out to God and asked Him to take over his life completely and to restore everything he had lost. He asked God to change him into the man God wanted him to be, to make him whole again. Brad said he felt something break away from his heart and felt an incredible peace come over him. He lay there crying, just talking and surrendering to God.
Back at home, God was working on my heart too. I was talking to God every day, asking Him to restore my marriage and my family. I realised that the change had to start with me. God softened my heart towards Brad and I started to miss him. After 8 weeks I was allowed to phone Brad at Jericho and receive a call from him once a week for 5 minutes. Brad was in Jericho until Tuesday 17 April 2018, when Ralph brought him home. He came home a changed man, a godly man, a man after God’s own heart.
Brad has been clean for just over a year now and still has his quiet time with God every day. He has read his Bible through 6 times in the last year, prays for his family, takes us to church, found a job and has become the man I prayed for. We are both completing as many courses that our church offers, and now we having discussions of us leading our own cell group. Brad was prophesied over during his time in Jericho and believes God has great plans in store for us. Our home is happy, and we give God all the glory, praise and honour. God is so faithful. He is a God of restoration!