Durban North support structure helps overcome alcohol addiction – Northglen News

Durban North support structure helps overcome alcohol addiction – Northglen News

AS the festive season approaches, many families will be looking forward to spending time with loved ones, while a few others will be anxious about what the season may entail.

According to the counsellors at Project Exodus, an addiction recovery NPO, the reason behind what is traditionally known as “the silly season,” is an increase in the abuse of alcohol and other substances.

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This can often lead to domestic abuse, including emotional, physical and even sexual abuse.

Project Exodus, based at Anthem Church in Durban North, deals with these and other situations on a daily basis. It offers counselling to those who want to overcome their addictions, as well as the family of alcoholics and substance abusers, who seek support.

The founder of the programme, Conrad Cooper, who ran a recovery centre for 17 years, said there are various levels to rehabilitation.

“All of our programmes have been developed and adapted over the years,” he said.
The project’s counsellors asked victims which abuse they felt was worst and many said it was the emotional and psychological abuse that stayed with them the longest.

“It’s an emotion. You are made to feel less than. You can’t act out in certain environments because you’re afraid of how the abuser will react. That is definitely still abuse, even though it is not physical,” he said.

Kerry Janse van Rensburg, an addictions counsellor, said sexual, emotional or physical abuse is often exacerbated by the abuse of alcohol or drugs, but reiterated that help is available.

“Those who are battling substance abuse disorders often can’t afford rehabs. Our heart is in making recovery resources, skills and tools available to as many people as possible. We work with many different organisations throughout the province to run recovery groups,” she said.

Gareth Evans, also an addictions counsellor, said recovery doesn’t only involve abstinence. Sustainability of the recovery process is also imperative.

“Once someone has stopped using drugs or alcohol, the question is: ‘what is he or she going to do next?’ It’s important that they don’t go back to what led them to substance or alcohol abuse,” he said.

Sade Lee, another counsellor at Project Exodus, shared her personal encounter about growing up with an alcoholic father.

“My dad died of alcoholism, but he never felt that he had a problem. Everyone around him could see that he had a drinking problem, but he was in denial. He felt that because he was still able to meet his job, life and social requirements, that he didn’t need to stop drinking,” said Lee.

If you would like to join a session, or for more information, visit


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