A mother from Darwendale has shared her 22-year journey dealing with her son’s alcohol addiction, highlighting the devastating impact it has had on her family.
Nkululeko Sibanda (63) said her son, who started drinking in 2002, is now 38-years-old, has a wife and two children, but is unemployed and relies on sporadic jobs and stealing to buy cheap, illicit alcohol.
The financial burden, emotional abuse and physical danger caused by her son’s addiction has left Sibanda suffering from depression and low self-esteem. She has sought help from various organisations, but the cycle of addiction proved too strong to break.
Sibanda is calling for a collective effort to address the root causes of addiction and provide support to affected families, including education and more rehabilitation facilities.
“He is popular in the community and his friends buy illicit alcohol for him. He drinks tumbwa and other hot stuff,” said Sibanda.
She said the worst case was when he sold an inherited house and squandered all proceeds on alcohol.
She said counselling had not helped.
“When he was 26, I took him for rehab, he relapsed, as he would miss sessions.
“I once got a protection order against him to stay away from the family home, but he came back after five years and is refusing to leave, saying we would have to kill him instead.”
She called for a collective approach in dealing with drug, alcohol and substance abuse.
“The Government must deal with producers and suppliers of illicit alcohol. Communities must also be educated about alcohol and drug abuse because they are also enablers.
“There should be more rehabs and skills development centres for the addicts so they have something to do after rehab,” she said.