Our South African cultural arts and crafts industry produced by indigenous peoples is under threat as a direct result of increased gambling, alcohol and substance abuse.  Gambling and alcohol are habitual and over time progress into an illness. First it begins as an amusing or leisurely activity and ends up doing damage to the person involved and to their families. This form of addiction affects the gambler and drinker mentally, physically as well as spiritually. The first indicator for this addiction is denial and this manifests itself as complete loss of control. South Africa has become a world renowned destination for its professional drug rehabs in Cape Town.

  • The alcoholic is not satisfied with the occasional social drink but progresses until it is impossible to control no matter what the cost.
  • The gambler is not satisfied with the smaller successes but leads to higher and bigger risks as time goes on. Just like alcoholism, gambling is an illness and needs to be addressed as such.

Both these forms of addiction is not only damaging to the person involved but has devastating consequences to their families and loved ones. Past reports show mothers have left their babies in the care of their children to pursue their addiction. These children are still minors. This situation places a huge responsibility on these children, who are far from prepared and ready for this type of responsibility. With increased competition, particularly from Zimbabwean immigrants, our local South African craftsmen are struggling and many are beginning to turn to gambling and alcohol abuse.

This inevitably leads to the families being torn apart and the lives of these children irreparably damaged. It has also been stated that the addicted individual can become extremely violent. This is especially true when they learn that their spouse or family members have purposely hidden money from them in order to help them. Another aspect of addicted individuals is that they become compulsive liars which cause tremendous problems in the home. This also results in them losing their friends.

Although the addicted persons family want nothing to do with their addiction, they are automatically involved in their financial problems. Gamblers and alcoholics often resort to criminal behaviour in order to feed their addiction. They can even resort to selling their possessions and making large loans form loan sharks. This leads to large debts that they are not able to repay. This situation can weigh heavily on the other partner or family member as they become responsible for the debt.

Gambling and alcohol addiction increases when they become more readily available. Alcohol can easily be purchased at the local store and gambling can be done on your mobile phone.  These problems can start from as young as 12 years old. It has also been proven that those who are addicted to gambling may also be addicted to alcohol. There are many fine treatment centres in South Africa, even some rehab cape town that will make special allowances for unique cases and subsidize struggling artists.

The question that we now have to ask ourselves is:

Can gambling and alcohol addictions be treated and is there a cure?

  • The first step in treatment is for the addict to admit that they have a problem. They need to admit to needing help and that they cannot cope on their own. If they continue to live in denial the addiction will not stop and can only get worse.
  • Get professional help, you don’t have to go it alone.
  • The gambler and alcoholic must be determined to stop gambling and drinking. The only really effective way is to never gamble or drink again. This means that the addict must be prepared to not only stop their behaviour but make an entire lifestyle change.

This means that they should not gamble or drink again. They must not drink or gamble even on a small scale and must try to avoid going to those venues that will present a temptation. Sometimes the need for medication will be necessary, such as antidepressants, as the addicts often suffer from depression and ADHD.

One of the most effective means of help for the addicts are “Groups” as many people find it helps to be able to talk to others who are in the same situation. You must understand that there is no complete cure for the addict. They will always be an addict but, with help, they will be able to effectively manage their lives against the addiction.