Debra’s Story

I am writing my story for one reason only, and that is to give others in a similar situation hope. I would like everybody to know that no situation is too big or too hopeless for God to handle.

I am 32 years old. I want to tell you of the miracle that took place in my life, but first a bit of background. I was raised in a dysfunctional home. Continue reading

Marius’ story

Sharing you painful experience with others lightens the burden. Finding out that your child is a drug addict is any parent’s worst nightmare coming true. We had no reason to suspect that it was going on in our house. We had the ‘normal’ upheavals of having a 17-year old adolescent, typical fights about get-your-act- together went on continuously, but not in a million years did we believe he was on drugs. Much later we realised that we were in denial’, because we were not able to acknowledge the possibility that our son was using, while the problem was staring us directly in the face. Continue reading

Philip’s story

God answers prayers through people who make themselves available to help others. One of the main goals of SOS is to get help to those who need it as soon as possible, says Gertina van Eeden, founding member of SOS West Rand.

A group of our Church members went to a local hospital to do reach out work one Saturday morning. Here they met a young man, Philip, who after a second attempt at suicide was being tended by nursing staff. Philip’s drug problem has lead to a hopelessness, wanting to make an end to his life because he was not able to come clean. The group spent time with him and prayed with him before moving on to the next patient, says Gertina. Continue reading

Do you, or a loved one have a substance addiction and need help? Complete our form below and tell us your story and we will contact you to discuss the ways in which we can assist you.
Please note: All information provided will be treated as confidential.

What does it mean to hit rock bottom?
Reaching that point where one have no further means – physically or emotionally to continue on the path of self-destruction and realising that one has to turn towards God for help.

What is Christian psychology?
It is a development in the field of psychology calling for the reconstruction of psychology from a Christian worldview perspective. The conceptualisation of Christian psychology started in the 1950s in America in reaction against a humanistic worldview. It is an attempt to provide a ‘method’ for integrating Theology and psychology. It is an approach that takes into account the spiritual needs and functioning of Christian clients and psychologists by explicitly formulating and addressing these needs. Christian psychology postulates that humans are holistic beings, implying that humans have a physical, psychological and a spiritual dimension of existence. It exerts that all dimensions of existence influence mental health and should be taken into account in the helping process.

Who or what is a “Higher Power” to Christians and what should it be?
A vast number of people seeking psychological counselling are Christians who believe in the healing power of God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Holy Spirit can lead us in counselling, bring comfort and work emotional healing in people. Named I AM, the God of Israel is the only living God and Creator of this Universe, there is no other Higher Power.

Why psychological help?
Psychological knowledge has a lot of value for understanding issues and treating mental illnesses. Although the power of prayer is not disputed and God can heal any situation supernaturally, He often works through his servants, medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists.

What causes drug or substance addiction?
Peer pressure, low self-esteem, the need to be accepted and dysfunctional families are some of the main reasons for drug abuse. It is also normally the symptom and not the root of the problem. Substance abuse or any other dysfunctional behaviour is merely an attempt to cope with issuese of the heart. Close to 90 per cent of the people we work with have issues regarding unforgiveness and rejection, says leaders at Nieuwefontein Empowerment Centre .

What contributes to the use and abuse of alcohol?

Social drinking (habit forming), psychological distress (substance abuse as coping mechanism), boredom and pursuing a lifestyle that the media portrays as desireable. Poverty also plays a role for drug abuse (escapism) as well as the persistent use of medication (both prescription and over-the-counter). – Prof Charless Parry, SA psychologist

Why Christian Psychology and how does it differ from secular psychological theories?
In short, a Western humanistic worldview differs radically from the Christian principles which apply knowledge in a God honouring way. Biblical principles and truths are our point of departure but it doesn’t mean the total exclusion of the application of knowledge Source- Prof Nicolene Joubert, of the Institute of Christian Psychology.

More Questions? Pose your questions via email on

Alcohol causes weight gain/loss, high blood pressure, depressed immune system, liver disease, heart or respiratory failure.

Barbiturates and tranquilizers are commonly abused prescription drugs. They can cause hangover-like symptoms, nausea, seizures and coma. Overdose or mixing these drugs with alcohol can be fatal.

LSD causes depression, disorientation, paranoia and psychosis.

Heroin can bring on respiratory and circulatory depression, dizziness, impotence, constipation and withdrawal sickness. Overdoses can lead to seizures and death.

Stimulants such as amphetamines have health effects that include high heart rate and blood pressure, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, impotence, skin disorders, tremors, seizures and psychosis.

Alcohol – The Most Dangerous drug of all time in SA plays a part in

• 61% of all arrests
• 90% of all assaults
• 33% of all suicides
• 75% of all divorces
• 45% of all drowning
• 85% of all homicides
• 70% of all fatal falls
• 90% of all campus rapes
• 50% of all battered wives
• 65% of all child abuse
• 67% of all attempted suicides
• 86% of all deaths due to fire
• 50% of all juvenile delinquency
• 40% of all industrial deaths
• 55% of all domestic arguments
• AND is LEGALLY available in every neighbourhood.

The new drugs in Gauteng are: TIK (Anhydrous Nitrate, Ephedrine, Red Phosphorous, Lithium, Antifreeze & Lantern Fuel) CAT (Drain Cleaner, Paint Thinner, Muriatic Acid)

If you think someone you know may be suffering from an addiction, here are some important things to bear in mind as you try to assist them:

• Be attentive and keep track of their behaviour and what they do
• Share your concerns with them, but try to stay away from lecturing them or making them feel forced
or backed into a corner, this is only likely to alienate the person further
• Listen to them
• State your expectations clearly
• Pray for them continuously
• Be a really good example to them
• Offer help and support – be a kind but firm friend.

Source: Karen Els, Clinical Psychologist, SA

People caught up in addictions can often be very secretive about it and are usually locked up in SELF-DENIAL. They work hard to convince others and themselves that there is nothing wrong and can sometimes justify their behaviour and even be very deceitful to obtain the means to feed an addiction (like stealing to buy drugs).

Common clues to watch out for:

Absorbing focus: All addictions consume time, thought, energy and become all-consuming obsessions;

Growing denial: An addict will deny their enslavement to their dependency to ensure that this is not challenged and they do not have to give it up. Addicts often try to live two lives and are also convinced they can stop at any time.

Increasing tolerance: More and more is needed over time to maintain the same physical or psychological effect from the substance;

Damaging consequences: Addictions destroy and ravage one’s health, job, reputation, self-respect, relationships with others and God.

Painful withdrawal: The thought of giving up a dependency will normal evoke terror with much fear and anger. Addicts might feel that they cannot live without the substance.
(Source: Karen Els, Clinical Psychologist, SA)

How drugs affect the mind, body and relationships:

Usually addictions bring short term pleasure but there are long term consequences in terms of one’s health, relationships, psychological well-being and spiritually. In most cases, addictions are progressive conditions that slowly exert more and more power and control.


• Becomes disrespectful-is verbally and physically abusive;
• Gets angry often, acts paranoid or confused, or suffers from extreme mood swings;
• Seems depressed and less out-going than usual;
• Secretive and lies about what he/she is doing and where he/she is going;
• Secretive about phone calls. Acts nervous, anxious or agitated with certain calls;
• Stealing or losing possessions;
• Seems to have lots of money, or is always asking for money;
• Withdraws from the family and family activities.

Physical Appearance:

• Not taking care of hygiene and grooming;
• Not sleeping or sleeping too much;
• Loss of appetite;
• Weight loss or weight gain;
• Too hyperactive or too little energy.

Social Activity / School Performance:

• Sudden new friends & activities;
• Skipping school or work;
• Loss of interest in school work and lower grades than normal;
• Sleeping in class;
• Loss of concentration and having trouble remembering things.

Social Behaviour Problems:

• A need for money (Long term: Deal, Steal or Prostitute themselves)
• Binging behaviour – out all night & sleeping all day, sometimes for days
• The person will start taking a lot more risks
• A dramatic change in behavioural patterns
• Will slowly become more and more emotionally unstable
• As the loved ones enable the addiction so disrespect grows – often verbal to start with and as this is tolerated it moves to physical and more and more abusive
• Weight loss
• Disregard for hygiene and dental problems over time
• Bi-Polar


Substance abuse puts strain on relationships. Problem abusers tend to change social circles often and are unable to maintain long-term friendships. They alienate themselves from others to hide their excessive/illegal consumption.

Peer pressure, low self-esteem, the need to be accepted and dysfunctional families are some of the main reasons for drug abuse. Alcohol abuse is contributed by factors such as social drinking (habit-forming), psychological distress (substance abuse as coping mechanism), boredom and pursuing a lifestyle that the media portrays as desirable. Poverty (escapism) and persistent use of medication (both prescription and over-the-counter) also plays a role.

Definition of addiction:

An addiction is any thinking or behaviour that is habitual, repetitious, and very difficult or impossible to control regardless of the consequences.

There was a time when addictions primarily referred to a dependency on drugs, such as heroin, but the word now has a much broader meaning. The list of addictions has grown: addictions to alcohol, pornography, sex, nicotine, eating, sports, internet games, shopping and the list go on. This website focuses on drug and alcohol related addictions.

Facts and Stats:

Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm (UN World drug report 2009). Statistics have also shown that SA’s population has a drug problem and that our nation is one of the drug capitals of the world.

According to SANCA (SA National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence) 45% of South Africa’s youth experiment with drugs and up to a third end up abusing and become addicted to drugs. It is a fact that drug dealers are targeting younger children (ages 6-14) to get them addicted and also to become pushers (selling drugs). The SA Association for Social Workers in Private Practice (SAASWIPP) estimates that 6-20% of the workforce is likely to be drug-dependent.

Government Statistics 2008

• 50% of school children have experimented with drugs
• 1 in 4 become addicted
• 1 in 6 kids are stealing to support their addiction (Tough Love stats)
• R1 out of every R4 in SA is spent on drugs
• In 2008 it was a R20 billion a year industry
• 60% of national crime relates to substance abuse (80% in Western Cape)

The United Nations is extremely concerned as West Africa and South Africa are the biggest two growth areas in the world today.

Addiction is clinically known as a brain disease with social behaviour problems.

As an abuser or addict uses more and more drugs, the brain adjusts to the surges in neurotransmitters (dopamine) by producing less neuron transmitters or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive and transmit signals. (Similar to turning down the volume on a TV that is too loud).

As a result, neuron-transmitter’s impact on the reward circuit of a drug abusers’ brain can become abnormally low and the ability to experience any pleasure is reduced. This is why the abuser eventually feels flat, lifeless and depressed. They are unable to enjoy things that previously brought them pleasure. They then start to take drugs just to feel normal again. This is better known as tolerance.

Why a brain disease?

Drug abuse causes major damage to the following 3 areas in the brain:

• The Frontal Lobe – (your reasoning & brakes)
• The Dopamine Cell – (your pleasure & survival)
• The Control Centre of feelings and emotions


Like many prescription drugs, illegal drugs come with potentially harmful side effects that can have serious short and long-term effects on your health.

High dosages of many of the drugs, or impure or more dangerous substitutes for these drugs, can cause immediate life-threatening health problems such as heart attack, respiratory failure and coma.

Combining drugs with each other or with alcohol is especially dangerous.

Is someone close to you struggling with substance abuse?

Do you need advice in how to handle the situation?

As disciples of the living God, we need to be aware of the pain of those around us. We cannot take a passive stance while the enemy devours our children.

You are most welcome to contact Danie on 071 672 9806 (South Africa) or to join our support group. We want to assist you with information, support and a sympathetic ear.

Would you like to start your own SOS group in your area?

Churches and Christian faith based organisation are welcome to contact us.

Address: Simfonie AGS (AFM) Church, Witpoortjie, Krugersdorp, Gauteng

Contact detail:

Cell numbers of committee members:

  • Danie – 071 672 9806
  • Quintin – 072 812 4027