When Alex was in the process of attempting to quit, it became difficult to detach myself from the turmoil he’d ooze every evening.
Like clockwork, every night around nine, he’d get this vacant look in his eyes and begin to pace around. It was like a dark cloud had come over him and I wasn’t even there anymore. I began to feel that I wasn’t enough for him.
The love I had for him and the idea of us kept me in that relationship for several months after the revelation about his addiction, and I eventually realized why Alex had admitted his meth use to me. He thought he could rely on me to be the “strong one” in the relationship, since I was sober, but in actuality, I was just as fragile as he was.
And I felt too awkward setting boundaries for this recovering addict, afraid he’d feel infantilized or patronized every time I questioned him about his drug use or nagged him to stop. I felt like I lost myself again, when just months before I was so certain about my identity.
Alex continued to relapse for the next six months, never staying sober for more than a few weeks at a time, and I began to feel extremely helpless.
by Donald McRae December 2016
Three years ago Luvo Manyonga was a crystal meth addict. Now he is an Olympic silver medallist. This is his journey from the tik-addled townships to Rio glory, with the help of an Irish former street-sweeper turned strongman. Luvo Manyonga has already created my favourite story of the year but, on a gentle summer afternoon in Pretoria, the South African long jumper is just getting started. At the Rio Olympics in August, Manyonga conjured up a dizzying leap when he transformed the desperate grind of poverty and drug addiction into a beautifully shiny silver medal and soothing redemption. It proved he had overcome the bleak hold that crystal meth once exerted over his township life.
“…I worked with him in the gym and wherever I went, Luvo went. It was a slow process – with lots of relapses...”Manyonga kept sliding back into the dark clutches of addiction and McGrath, three years later, sighs. “You had to have the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job to work with Luvo then. You never knew from one day to the next where he would be. But you had to make peace with that and believe things would get better.”