“The Sip That Ruined My Life’’
By Elishifa Wangeshi
Wilson Njoroge Ndichu was born and raised in Umoja Estate in Nairobi
He says 2021 is a special year to him since He marks five years as a sober man. He also says that it also amazes him how time in sobriety has passed quickly.
Njoroge schooled in Nairobi and later joined a rural secondary school in Machakos. He then pursued a Diploma in Automobile engineering. Life was good, he recalls. Immediately after he graduated he got a well-paying job and later married the love of his life with whom they were blessed with two beautiful children .
He recalls by then he was a very disciplined social drinker in fact, he says that he only used to drink on Friday evenings adding that he loved enjoying a cold tusker with his friends and ‘Nyama choma’’ Little did he know that his life was about to take a turn…
While still working he managed to buy two tracks and also set up a garage in Umoja
‘’Maisha ilikuwa fiti, nilikuwa na kila kitu , my wife was happy, my kids were happy and my brothers admired my achievements,’’ he says
Gradually, he noticed that his drinking habits were changing quite fast. He would drink from Friday to Sunday, and spill over to Monday morning when he was supposed to be working and that cost him his job .
Njoroge was then left with no option but to start working at his garage in Umoja. He was a well-known Mechanic and his influence made it easier for him to get clients. But at that point he had already become dependent on Alcohol and his drinking was exceeding day in day out.
“My relationship with my wife, both emotionally and physically, was absent. I was unable to participate in any kind of family activity, especially if it interfered with my drinking,’’ he says
He remembers that for the 1st time in their 10 year marriage, domestic fights became the order of the day. They were kicked out of their three bedroomed house in Githurai due to rent arrears and had to relocate to a cheaper house.
A few months later, his home was no longer a safe place for his wife and she opted to leave with their children. He had been reduced to drinking ‘’Changaa’, His garage was deserted , he lost close to all his clients and had nothing left
‘’Nilikuwa na fika home nikiwa mlevi, naanza kuchapa wife , hapo akaamua kwenda na watoi nikabaki bila chochote, kutoka msee nilikuwa na pesa kwa account nikabaki nikilala kwa garage yangu for 6 months,’’ he narrates.
Life became terrible, he recalls. He became a perfect example of a drunkard who had ruined his life/family
‘’Wasee mtaani wakaanza kuniita mlevi,kazi ilikuwa kuomba pesa day in day out nipate tu ya makali ama changaa,’’ he says
Life in the city became a nightmare for Njoroge and sadly he had to go back to his parents’ home In Kiambu , the son they were once proud of had been reduced to some dirty/skinny drunkard.
’’Ma bro wangu waliniangalia wakanihurumia , walijaribu kila kitu waweze kunisaidia but at that point kitu nilikuwa nadai ni pombe tu’’ he says.
‘’I began to need to drink just to feel normal. I was sliding down a very slippery slope without a solution. I was unable to ask for help. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t’’ Alcohol had, over many years, become my higher power, fully taking over my life,” he narrates, with regret written all over his face.
One fateful day at a local drinking den in Kiambu, Njoroge was approached by a friend, and he says that the only thing the friend told him was that He is sick and he needs help, and luckily the guy organised with his friends and he was taken to a Rehab facility in Ruiru.
“I never thought that I would end up in a rehab facility,’’ he says.
He recalls the 2nd Sunday at the rehab facility when he was peeping through the window , he saw two children walking towards the institutions information desk accompanied by a thin lady only to be summoned by his counsellor to go meet his wife and children who had come to see him .
‘’Niliwaona ,machozi ikatirrika, my wife had lost weight she looked miserable and my kids did not look any better. I said a prayer that day and told God, I ruined their lives, just give me one more chance to make things right’’
“Three months in the rehab facility, I learned and internalized that until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober. I needed to concentrate not so much on what needed to be changed in the world as on what needed to be changed in me,” he says.
That fateful Sunday morning when I left the rehab , I had Ksh. 500 only to walk out of the institutions entrance to find my wife waiting for me.
She told me, “Let’s go home because I need to prepare a very special meal for you.”
I am now a very grateful recovering alcoholic. My life is full of surprises all the time. My wife has been and will forever remain as my greatest pillar of strength.
I am grateful to my experience has helped me grow through life’s challenges. I no longer regret being an alcoholic since it is through my alcoholism that I have been able to grow and integrate a wonderful set of principles into my life.