Yesterday, I was invited to be a guest on the Daily Maverick podcast, Don’t Shoot the Messenger. (This is not my chat with them, but a link to find the podcast). The topic of discussion was lockdown and the ban on the sales of alcohol and cigarettes. They wanted to hear my opinion on the ban within the context of addiction. It dawned on me during the talk that I have never posted the Alcoholics Anonymous: Are you an Alcoholic questionnaire. So, here it is.


On 6 April, I was privileged to talk to the folks of the Kaboutjie Facebook Group about Mental Health during Covid-19. Lynne Huysamen and I talked about strategies to keep us going and stay mentally healthy and happy, while also considering listeners’ input and taking their questions. This blog summarises the 15 tools of mental health I brought to the table for discussion.


I just finished Freddie’s book. I absolutely love it! Really practical, personal, and true to the 12 steps. I learned several new things from it, even after 34 years sober in Alcoholics Anonymous. Here’s a list of my favorite quotes. (Gigi Langer - Author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now)


Simply honestly answer Yes or No to these 15 questions.


Researchers have found that Honeybush contains antioxidants (polyphenols and mangefirin) which neutralise harmful free radicals. In addition, The Agricultural Research Council has found that it may have applications in the alleviation of menopausal symptoms.

A friend recently sent me a flyer about a talk that was going to take place at Beaumont Primary School. The topic was “Digital Cocaine”. As a recovering addict and a Holisitc Counsellor, speciliasing in addiction, I was extremely interested to attend the event. I am aware of the extent of what we call “screen and/or technology addiction” and was interested in learning more.

I have discovered a new meditation app, called Insight Timer. It is definitely the most user friendly meditation app I have come across. I still have to use one of their meditations that I did not enjoy doing and think most of the ones I have done so far are excellent.

So, I wrote a book! It was printed by professional printers and is being sold. It feels as if I am adulting successfully! If people buy it and work through it, their lives may get better too. So, I might be helping people. That feels awesome!

There is a not so new drug being introduced into South Africa. It is cheaper than cocaine, extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. It is popularly known as “flakka” but is also called “gravel”, “bath salt” or “the zombie-drug”. In America it is often referred to as the “$5 insanity drug”.

I love getting new stuff. I get excited before I buy it and am very disappointed if I cannot immediately get what I want. I love the feeling of instant gratification. But, I do not like shopping.

I do not know much about ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), but I know a few people who have been diagnosed as suffering from one of these disorders and who are taking medication for it. They seem to be coping well.

What is meditation? Wikipedia describes it as follows: “Meditation is a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”

The fact that we are in recovery for addiction, does not absolve us from getting sick.

The problem with illness is that it normally makes us feel weak with consequent vulnerability and more prone to relapse. We cannot just take any medication though. Many medications contain addictive, or mind- or mood-altering, substances that we need to stay way clear of. When I was in rehab, I was taught that the following must be avoided at all cost:

  • Ephedrine,
  • Pseudoephedrine,
  • Codeine and
  • Alcohol.

People from all walks of life are being diagnosed and treated for burnout these days; but it is not a modern phenomenon. It was first identified in people in the helping profession in 1970, by American Psychologist, Herbert Freudenberger. I have been noticing it more and more these days. When you ask someone how they are doing, the inevitable answer is most likely: “Tired” or “Stressed out”.

I can get childishly excited about something new in my life. I am one of those people who, when buying a new shirt, would like to put it on in the shop and walk out wearing it. Apparently that is not okay. From my excitement perspective, I do not really grasp the social non-acceptance of it. Seeing that I am neither Martha Stewart or Emsie Schoeman nor Nataniël, I do not get to make the rules. I only get to live by them.

We try to fit some form of cultural experience into our lives each month. We mostly end up going to Cape Town. Living in Somerset West, I call it the “big city” and actually get dressed up for the occasion. We normally see a theatre production of sorts.

In this article, Janine gives a lot more detail about her session with me and explains a bit more about what happened and why she did certain things. I trust you will enjoy it and find it useful. All discrepancies between her and my articles are due to my lack of memory, as I was too “involved in being healed” to recall everything clearly. This is written by Janine and published with her permission.

As a Psychological Counsellor, I mostly apply some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques in my practice. I do enjoy to explore other therapy techniques, mostly those on, what I would refer to as, the alternative end of the therapy spectrum. I love having them used on me so that I can see if I gain any benefit from them. I then feel safe and confident to offer them as additional therapies for my clients. I do not believe that therapy is a one-fit-for-all solution and am open-minded enough to know that I am not the alpha and omega to a better life for my clients.

Ek het lanklaas geskryf. Baie lanklaas.

Ek kon eenvoudig aan niks dink om te sê nie en dit wat ek wou neerpen het net eenvoudig nie belangrik genoeg geklink om die moeite mee te doen nie. Dit wat die moeite werd geklink het, het dan weer na te veel moeite gelyk. ‘n “Whatever”, “Who cares?” houding het my beetgepak.

Ek lees nou die dag ‘n artikel op News 24, geskryf deur Clem Sunter, getiteld: “The Economic Liberation of the Afrikaners”. Daarin maak hy die volgende stelling: “I was told the other day that the fastest growing element of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are companies owned and run by Afrikaners.”

It is Sunday afternoon, just after lunch, and I have settled down for a refreshing nap. I have imminently turned on my side and sighed that last contented deep sigh before sleep overwhelms me, when my phone rings. I am wide awake and instantly furious. The person who called has disconnected the call when I answered and when I called back, my call was left unanswered. I am beyond pissed off and fall into complete self-pity for “poor-exhausted-me-who-cannot-even-get-a-few-minutes-of-rest”.

I have been doing some “soul scratching” work the past few weeks and the concept of bullying came up a few times. So, I have been thinking about that quite a lot recently. As you know, I do not write scientific papers. I write about what is going on in my head. Taking into consideration that I am quite an emotionally driven individual, when I say I “write what is in my head”, I actually mean that I capture what I am feeling. No science here.

I have recently been spending a lot of time and energy in my own head, debating the concept of happiness. Forgetting in what a dangerous neighbourhood I find myself in when I am in my head.

I am proud to have received my Addiction Counselor Certification South Africa (ACCSA) membership.

What is this thing called fear? Is it just a physical reaction to an outside stimulus or is there more behind it?

I was sitting in this group, sharing my heart out, when the Counsellor suddenly stopped me and addressed the group: “What is the group hearing Freddie say?”

I do not know about you, but I am quite easily overwhelmed by the demands of life.