Touch and Go

Schalk Neethling
3 min readFeb 23, 2022

A short tale of a day that could have turned out very differently

Photo by Zan on Unsplash

“We decide what we will make of each and every situation. We decide whether we’ll break or whether we’ll resist. We decide whether we’ll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve).” — from The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday

I have two things to celebrate today. The first is, I am at 5 days sober again! 🎉

The second thing is, to me, and even bigger celebration. Almost four years ago my father passed away from cancer. Since then we have been struggling to get the estate settled. With an incompetent government and COVID things have gone much, much slower than it should.

There are many challenges one faces when you live in a home that is not on your name and part of an estate that has not been settled. One of these was dealing with the municipality when it came to things like water and electricity and rates and taxes.

The first one I had under control but, the rates and taxes account seemed to have slipped under my radar. The debt piled up and about six or seven months ago a person stopped at our home, gave us a red letter and disconnected our electricity.

Under pretty much any circumstance this would be horrible but, the fact that I run a business from home made it all the more infuriating. After some back and forth with the municipality I ended up paying the entire outstanding amount. The electricity was reconnected and we thought that was that.

Turns out, the money somehow ended up being credited against the water and electricity account as opposed to the rates and taxes. And so began a almost three month long battle to get the money transferred to the appropriate account.

While the money sat in the wrong account, the municipality happily debited our monthly water and electricity bill from the amount in credit. This meant that by the time the money was transferred to the correct account, we were still in arrears.

Over the last month I kept in constant contact with them and started paying the now remaining outstanding amount. I think you might know where this is going. Yesterday history repeated itself. A person stopped at our gate with a red letter and wanted to disconnect our electricity.

Unlike the previous person, this agent was a bit more humane but, had a job to do. I explained the entire situation but alas, he was a outside contractor and was not even supposed to speak to us. As luck would have it, he did not have the right equipment for the job and would come back later to disconnect the electricity.

I immediately got on the phone and the frustration started. Now, this is where I am truly proud of myself. As I sat there, despondent, angry, frustrated and a bit defeated a thought went through my head, “This is one of those situations where I would totally have said fuck it, and drove to the bottle store.”

However, this time, another voice in my head said, “You know that will only make the entire situation worse and it will rob time from tomorrow. Also, you need a clear head to deal with this, not an intoxicated one.”

Wow! To be able to think this way in the midst of all of this, that is a huge win. It shows that I have turned a corner. It shows that this time, 5 days is going to turn into 5 years. I don’t want to be over confident and drop my defenses, but dang it it feels good!

Hope you all are having a wonderful day. Stay safe, and take care of yourselves. You all deserve the best life possible. ✌️

“Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them?” ~ from The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage Ryan Holiday



Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)