Giving others a second chance

2019-02-05 06:20
William Cupido (left) with one of the schools he works with.

William Cupido (left) with one of the schools he works with.

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William Cupido (61) from Retreat runs the Second Chance Outreach non-profit organisation to help others learn from his mistakes and avoid taking the path he took.

The father of three says that for 40 years he was addicted to drugs and slowly but surely the drugs ate away his body.

“I started experimenting with drugs when I started high school and I was just 14. I got hooked for years to an extent that drugs couldn’t do anything to me. To get a proper high I had to mix it with alcohol and in the process I became alcoholic. My life was going down the drain but I didn’t stop. I continued using drugs and it destroyed me inside,” he says.

With continued use of drugs and alcohol his body couldn’t take it anymore. “I was in and out of hospital and X-rays showed that my stomach was being eaten away. I had to have an operation and 70% of my stomach was removed I was told I had only between three to six months to live. As a normal person this was supposed to be a wake-up call. However, I was not moved. Years later when I was in and out of hospital, I just decided enough is enough,” he says.

“My family went through the worst. I was so thin I had to wear baggy clothes to look a bit bigger. I just told myself this is not the life I wanted, and I never went to rehab. I just stopped using drugs. I won’t lie, it was difficult. My body couldn’t take it. There were days I wanted to give up and go back to drugs, but I told myself that won’t be my life gain. That was my turning point,” he says.

Because of what he have been through he is now using his experiences to help others. He has been clean for over seven years. “I go to primary schools, high schools and churches and I speak at community gatherings. Drugs are bad and they can easily destroy you without knowing. Kids are using them so I focus a lot at primary schools and high schools so that they don’t even think about taking that route,” he says.

He works in Steenberg, Retreat and Hillview and he has started a support group in Ocean View to help drug addicts there. The support group in Ocean View meets from 19:00 to 21:00 every Thursday.

“When I go to these places I talk about my experiences. I show them my pictures of how sick I was so that they don’t do it, For those that are addicted I encourage them to stop before it is too late. I also hold talks with parents on what to look out for to see if their children have started with drugs. They are a lot of signs parents have to pay attention to.”

Cupido says he wants his story to be a lesson to others. “It breaks my heart when I see people that are addicted. I try my best to help because drugs can totally destroy you. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone,” he says.

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