Fairhills Heroes (1)

20 Jul

The entangled history of the wine industry in South Africa and the rampant alcohol abuse still prevalent in rural areas, is well known. Fairhills has, since it’s inception, been working very hard to make a meaningful contribution to curbing this problem with an extensive Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program. So far we have:

  • Acquired the services of a clinical psychologist who is on 24h standby
  • Counseled 47 individuals
  • Reached an agreement with a mental treatment facility in the Western Cape to have swift admittance at minimal costs for individuals who want to be rehabilitated
  • Have had a 97% success of those admitted
  • Have weekly AA meetings and after care meetings for rehabilitated individuals
  • Started bi-monthly prevention talks which reaches all 1200 individuals in project
  • Regular medical controls by a nurse

And very soon, we will launch a Alcohol Abuse Treatment Center which will put all the activities under one roof. But these are the dry facts. The reality is beating alcoholism is a  tough job. We are featuring two people in the project who managed to turn their lives around against all odds. For this, they are our Fairhills heroes. Here are their words.

Dawid Kiewiets (37)
Farm: Florence
Family: Married with three children
Sober since October, 2008

“My life was desperate. I was at the point of loosing my job. My partner, now my wife, was going to leave me and take our three kids with her. My home life was falling apart. I couldn’t help myself. Friends couldn’t help me. I went to Alitha (clinical psychologist in the project) and laid down my problems with her. I went because my wife was leaving me. But Alitha told me I should look at the actual problem, my drinking. I agreed to the process and I have to say that it all went well for me. I learnt how to motivate myself and how to keep away from this problem. As you know alcohol is a nuisance in the community of Rawsonville.

Ever since I came out of the rehab center, I only keep the company of those people who focus on the positive things in life. About a month ago I joined a church congregation and I am actively involved in the after care program for rehabilitated people. We are a tight group. We are people who really want to do something with our lives.

I have regained my dignity. My sense of self-worth took a big dive in the time that I was drinking. But I have learnt how to be a good family man. I used to rule the house with, how can I put it, my gang mentality. I drank because I wanted to see myself as a grown-up, but that just led me down the path of crime and straight to jail. Three times in fact. I grew up in jail. Friday nights were rough! I was the man. Putting everyone down when I was in that state. When I came out I knew I had to take care of the rest of me that was left. But the alcohol was still part of my life. Alitha’s support helped me a lot.

Now, I can help others, motivate them. I recommend two crucial steps to them: call on God’s help, and take the help of this program. Some people think they can just walk away from alcohol on their own. But alcohol does not let you walk away that easily. I know that my life is a testimony. I am a different man towards my wife, and father to my children. We are, if you can say, one happy family. These days my wife gets the money and not the drink.

My employer Mr. Stofberg also supported me. He took care of my family when I went into rehabilitation. He is always the one motivating me. I believe he doesn’t want to see me fall back into my old ways. But I don’t even miss the taste of drink or tobacco. It is not strange for me to work on a wine farm. Let me tell you, when it was harvest time a few months ago, I went to another farm to help with filling-up the wine. I didn’t have a problem. I think I have (sighs heavily) I have learnt to appreciate life. I have God in my life. I see things differently. Please, don’t forget to write that will you? I have God in my life.”


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