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Zoleka Mandela: 'I had my first drink at the age of 9'

Author and social activist Zoleka Mandela has revealed telling details about the humiliation her drug addiction caused her family and how she hopes her story will help other recovering addicts.
Zoleka, who celebrates seven years of sobriety later this year, reflected on her 17-year battle with drugs and alcohol.

"I had my first drink at the age of 9. By the age of 13 I was an alcoholic and a cigarette smoker, that led to experimenting with marijuana at 13, then laced weed, ecstasy, magic mushrooms, CAT, heroine, prescription drugs and a decade long addiction to cocaine that gave me the high I was looking for," Zoleka said.

Zoleka has openly documented her battle with drugs explained that when the 'high' wore off she became suicidal and depressed.


"I became violent and emotionally abusive towards others, participated in criminal activities," she said.

Even though Zoleka has turned her life around, she said that the pain she caused those close to her was irreparable.

"I may be well into my recovery but the actual damage, humiliation, disrespect and pain I have caused my family and children remains irreparable."

While she may never be able to change the events of her past, Zoleka hoped that her journey reminds people to make the right life choices.

"I know that although I may never be able to right my wrongs, I can use my life to remind people that they can make better choices - they can look at my life as a cautionary tale and be grateful that it is not too late for them. "

Khabza Mkhize

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