Dear T,

With the festive season unfolding around us, I find myself within the peaceful confines of a rehabilitation centre in Benoni, a world away from the familial Christmas cheer we used to revel in. This traditionally joyous time now reminds me of a painful memory, an incident on Christmas Eve that our son may still painfully recall.

It’s difficult for me to put into words what happened that fateful night, but it’s a step towards healing, they tell me, to confront the consequences of my harmful actions. It was an evening where benzodiazepine addiction and alcohol consumption led me into such a profound stupor that I felt distanced from the real world.

Our family Christmas tree had been decorated meticulously by you, each ornament a symbol of your care and affection. It proudly stood in our living room in Johannesburg, a symbol of festive joy. Even now, I can hear your voice intertwining with the melodies of the carols, the sounds of our son’s laughter intermingling with the flickering crackles of the fire. It would have been a perfect evening, if not for my intoxicated clumsiness.

Crashing rumble of the tree being torn down by my unsteady body still rings in my ears. Decorations, tinsels, cherished ornaments – all scattered around, broken. Similar to my self-worth at that particular moment.

Surrounded by the shattered remnants of our Christmas spirit, I felt a prickling sting of the fallen pine needles against my skin – an apt punishment. An image etched in my mind is the look of fear in our son’s eyes, a view no child should have of their father.

During my recovery journey here in the East Rand, I reflect upon that memory as a moment of intense pain, but also as a catalyst for change. The compassion and guidance of the dedicated counselling professionals here have served as my constant support.

Guided by insightful therapy sessions, I have learnt how the duality of benzodiazepine addiction and alcohol had overpowered my better judgement. I mistakenly believed that I could escape life’s harsh realities by falling into their numbing clutch.

The silence of our son’s reproach and the memory of his terrified gaze that night have become my main sources of motivation for sobriety. That particular Christmas Eve was not only a testament to the devastation addiction brings but also to the resilience needed to overcome it.

With every passing day in this tranquil sanctuary, far from the hectic urban lifestyle of Johannesburg, Boksburg, and Kempton Park, I find solace in the fact that I am steadfastly working on never reverting to my former self. The shared commitment to recovery against the picturesque backdrop of Gauteng’s blue skies embodies the resolute human spirit’s capacity to learn and grow from its mistakes.

My dear T, each of these letters peels back the layers of my past and makes it possible for me to look forward to a future where Christmas memories don’t reek of addiction. My quest for redemption lies in this raw honesty and fuels my determination to chart a new course, one that can make our son feel proud, and not fear.

With love and introspection,


[Disclaimer: All characters and events in this narrative are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.]

Amid the holiday season, our rehab center in Benoni becomes a reflective space for those battling addiction, removed from festive celebrations yet deeply connected to their memories. We offer guidance through past missteps towards a brighter, sober holiday future. If you’re seeking to create new, cherished memories without the presence of addiction, reach out to us at, or call +27798378484 / +27828863996. Let the gentle skies of Gauteng witness your transformation and healing this festive season.