My eyes were white, my face glowing and skin so smooth. There was a twinkle in my eyes and a spring in my gait. I was a pretty freshman girl with the whole world before me. I had just landed a role on MTV Base Shuga 2 TV series, was modelling for Strut It Africa and was running a growing show on campus radio. My life was perfect.I think a lot of people were jealous of me. Who wouldn’t be? I was talented, smart and one of the hottest girls on campus, and on top of that I was making my own money.
He came into my life in the form of a striking, dark, handsome bad boy. I was smitten. I had never met anyone who told it like it was, who did his own thing and went against the norms. It was so appealing, so damn irresistible! We spent most of our days in my off-campus room, drinking. At first I would have a quarter litre of vodka since I hated the brown stuff. He would have similar quantity of whiskey. As time went by and it became a habit, my alcohol tolerance grew. I was soon able to down a half litre of Russian Vodka, then graduated to a mzinga (750mls) a day. I don’t remember spending an entire day sober. I was constantly drunk – or was it drunk on love?
One night, while at a night club located in Westlands, I realized I was out of cigarettes so I leaned to the guy on my right and asked him for one. As the guy was fumbling in his breast pocket to get me a smoke, in one swift move an open palm landed hard against my soft left cheek, smacking me senseless. The music in the background was muffled by the ringing in my ears. I turned around, thinking it was some jealous chick and ready to beat her up, only to find out that my assailant was my knight in shining armour. His friends were trying hard to restrain him as he struggled to come at me again while throwing all kinds of expletives at me: “You deserved that, bitch!” And a lot more.
That night, something within me snapped. I simply stopped caring. Any trace of the ‘nice girl’ I had been simply died inside me. I pulled away from all my friends and family because, crazy as this sounds, he became all of those things to me. I felt like he had uncovered the ‘real’ me; the one that could be bad and live without apologies to anyone. The abuse continued – and I stayed. His punches would keep my face and body warm during the day, as my other best friend, alcohol, kept me warm at night.
I finally left him. Not because of the physical, verbal and emotional abuse; I busted him cheating on me. It took me a while to find my identity without him and it took a string of flings to get him out of my system. When I was finally happy alone, I began to depend on alcohol like it was my lifeline. As a result I became sloppy on set. I had a different excuse each day. My drunken lifestyle came with a carelessness that brought me a string of new bruises, and the need for endless eye drops as my once white eyes had turned a disgusting brown due to the beating I was giving my kidneys.
Convinced I was larger than life and that the production house was exploiting me, I quit acting. One day, I just never went back. At school, I was on an academic warning since I had missed so many classes and exams.
I remember a class during a third year advertising module run by a lecturer who had also taught me back in my first year. He could not comprehend the kind of person I had turned into: scrawny, dishevelled and always, I mean ALWAYS, reeking of liquor. He forced me to sit in the front, right under his nose, hoping that would discourage me from drinking before his class. His well-intentioned efforts were futile. You would think that I would get a clue at that point. I did not. That semester ended and I did not even bother going for the end of sem exams.
I began hanging out with people who came to school, yes to the environs, but never actually entered the school grounds. We were all entitled brats living a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. Or should I say attempting to live a Jameson lifestyle but actually drinking Blue Moon. Rachetivity became my name, my identity and my title.
In 2014, I started dating a nice guy. An intelligent, loving, humble, sweet, mind-blowingly nice guy. I fell in love like never before. So I made a serious attempt to sober up. You know how you try and change and become a better person because the person you are dating is influencing you in a positive way and you really want them to stay so you change? Well, I did. And for a while I was winning again. I was cool with my bag of mugoka (a type of miraa), cigarettes and water as I watched others drink into the night. As long as I had my boo, I was good – or so I thought. This lasted for three months.
Addiction has a way of creeping back into your life and rearing its ugly head so that you just can’t stop. So I drank. Harder than I had before. At this point I was now getting a notorious reputation as an overall piece of crap delinquent. My life had descended to the level of the gutter, I marinated in the gutter and at some point I physically lay in the gutter.
He stayed as long as he could, then he left. Completely. Again I was on my own. By this time my family had figured out that I was in a bad place, although since I was never home, they didn’t get to see the full impact of the alcohol abuse. Like the violent outbursts. How I couldn’t hold a pen because my hands were shaking so badly from withdrawals. The hallucinations. They received the drunken calls, saw the irrational thinking, the lack of hygiene and the staggering weight loss. I was hardly ever sober, so I never got to really feel the pain, the grief, the gut-wrenching agony of what my life had become.
Finally, my parents decided to take me to see a “psychologist/psychiatrist” for a “consultation”. I had a bad feeling about it, but I went with them that morning. The ever winding roads, the fewer and fewer matatus on that road, the high walls and the isolation… it did not take long for me to realize that I was being taken to rehab.
I was checked into rehab on the 5th of March 2015. I completed four months and two weeks and came out 20kgs heavier than when I went in.Everyone thought I was going to be ok… little did they know that the PROBLEMS had just begun.
Written by Waihiga Mutero
PS: Waihiga is a really cool lady with a charming personality. I met her over the weekend for coffee in one of the malls along Thika Road. She is a happy soul thus by looking at her you wouldn’t know of her tribulations with alcohol dependency. She narrated to me the troubles alcohol has gotten her into, the agony it has caused her family and how she wants to raise awareness and encourage other young people hooked to alcohol & drugs to get over their addictions. Therefore, I asked Waihiga to put up a piece on her battle with liquor. This is just the first piece, more will be coming from her. Thank you Waihiga for sharing out your story!
If you would also like to share your story on how you got over your addictions, kindly send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.