13. Matrix Graduate family member M

In October 2010 our family life came to a standstill in 1 second, when we discovered that our beautiful, talented and gifted 22 year old son was battling with drug addiction. He was a 4th year university student at the time and changed his course earlier that year because he felt that what he was doing wasn't for him.

Unbeknown to us at the time was, that he couldn't cope with his course, that his marks dropped to below passing rate and that he hardly attended classes that year due to his addiction. He also battled with severe depression and every time we tried to talk to him to find out what the problem might be, he became aggressive and withdrew even more. We hardly ever saw him. When the addiction problem came to light, it explained everything.

We were told about Dr Pierre Louw from Scienza in Paarl, who is very successful in treating drug addiction through a program called the Matrix Model, a 4 month out-patient treatment program. My husband, myself and our son went to see him and the whole concept of treatment outside of hospitalization, over a longer time period and on a one on one basis sounded like the right option for us, because my son wanted to carry on with his studies.

The battle to recovery started in December 2010! For me it was a hard, exhausting, emotional, traumatic, devastating, chaotic and embarrassing time, not to even mention the aggression that went with it. It was like losing a loved one to an incurable disease. With the help of Pierre and his program we came through it. The emotions I experienced in my son were aggression, paranoia, mood swings, depression and not trusting anybody. Pierre knows exactly what emotion will take place during what stage of the recovery process in both the patient and the family.

He could point it out, talk us through it, sympathize, empathize, and was there for the whole family 24/7. The respect and trust that my son has for Pierre is absolutely admirable. Pierre always treated my son with respect and supported him throughout the whole process.

We have learned that addiction is an illness, not a shame, and that it has to be managed for the rest of the recovering addict's life. The positive side is that my son realizes it, respects it and is taking full responsibility for where he is. We take it one day at a time, we trust and we believe. Life is going on, and when needed, we know Pierre is there and will carry on helping us for as long as it takes.

My son has taken control of his life again. His studies are on par and he has definitely come out of this whole situation a much stronger person, thanks to Pierre and Scienza.

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