I tried to commit suicide

*Trigger warning: Suicide substance abuse*

I didn’t write this because I had nothing better to do.

I didn’t write this because I want recognition.

I wrote this because I’m embarking on a self-discovery journey.

I want to share my experience with the hope that you learn from it.

I wrote because I want to warn people that relate to my story.

I survived RAPE more than once!

I know how it feels to be an addict.

I wrote because I know how it feels to be given a second chance.

I want to let you know that you’re not alone, God is always there.

Lastly: Because I’m grateful to the Almighty, Mother, my better half and friends.

 

HERE IS MY STORY

My name is Sibahle ‘Steve’ Nkumbi, I’m a recovering alcohol addict. I was never able to say “No” to alcohol, until I had to make a choice to kick the habit or die trying.

I never thought I had an addictive gene.
Growing up I hated alcohol with a passion.
Five years later since I started drinking I realized where my problem with alcohol came from. Some say an addictive gene is just an excuse to abuse substances, some say it is real and I say “It is scary and destructive”.
Hear me now beautiful people. The ones I’ve hurt through my addiction, hurting you was never my intention. Far from it!

As a child after matric I left to study with a dream of owning my own production company one day.
My first year at varsity was a breeze and I saw my future from there. Little did I know that I was my own biggest enemy.
I became weak to peer pressure and couldn’t stand my own ground. I resisted until mid-2009, everything changed from then up until now.

It all started with an innocent sip ‘to have a taste and see how alcohol made me feel’before I knew it I was on my 4th glass of wine and from that day onwards I was hooked.

My first drunken stupor was an adventure; my friends and I plus my girlfriend from then drank and went to a bash on campus.

That’s where things started to get confusing, I felt dizzy and the lights plus the music did something to my movement and balance. All was a blur after that.

I woke up the next morning, realized I was in my room but there was someone next to me, my heart started to beat faster as I took the covers of their face. I felt a sense of relief when I discovered it was my partner.
I couldn’t move my feet, there were traces of blood on the floor and then my heart started to race again. The infamous question followed ‘what happened last night?’
I couldn’t remember anything and I discovered that I got so drunk the previous night to a point where I walked bare feet on broken glass so that explained the pain when I tried to move my feet.

I vowed to never touch the substance again.

It wasn’t long before my next drinking session and then I got used to it so much that it became a weekend thing from a weekend thing to every day drinking. I couldn’t go to class without a glass of wine. I still wasn’t aware that it was getting dangerous, I got introduced to different kinds of alcohol made drinking buddies and even went ekasi in taverns. I realized I had a problem when my alcohol intake created problems in my relationship. I started to not care about my schoolwork, the girl I claimed to love and the mother that worked so hard to send me to school.

Through alcohol I became the devil’s advocate. I have always vowed for sober habits and monogamy…
Oh wait, that was before I became a substance abuser.

In a blink of an eye, the Steve I knew was gone. I started flirting occasionally with pretty girls in the club and on campus until it became cheating. I cheated until I got caught. I promised to change but I kept going back to alcohol until she left me (my partner). I started to resent Baby Eyes (the woman I got caught with more than twice).
I became lonely and alcohol was my only comforter, I then made friends with the wrong people and drank some more until one of my male friends tried to rape me; I managed to fight him off and made a run for it.

Instead of letting alcohol go I distanced myself from male friends and continued drinking.
It wasn’t long before I had my second attempted rape and I was saved by my period, he managed to take my pants off but after seeing the blood he couldn’t proceed. I survived that too.

Trauma made me drink more, eventually I became depressed. The depression took three years, after three psychologists, I became destructive again. I had an affair with one of them and we started drinking together instead of having counseling sessions.

A near death bike collision with a car brought my senses back and I stopped drinking for a while.

I started again the minute I got off my anti-depressants thinking I had it under control but I didn’t.

I knew I relapsed when I lost my job but I was in denial, by 2012 I bounced back and took control of my life and drank occasionally, it went well until mid-2013. I picked up where I left off, I had a bad year and stress was overwhelming and so I drank, it hurt my current partner again and I saw the pain in her eyes. I was on and off alcohol but I still had my partner on my side.

It is now 2014 and a life changing event took me off alcohol, I tried to commit suicide but I was caught in time. I could not deal with the guilt, shame and pain I was feeling. I prayed until I cried so hard that it took me two hours to stop the tears.

Right there and then I decided to stop, it is not easy but it can be done. I was not going to let history repeat itself, I took charge and shamed the devil.

 

You might be asking why it took so much for me to stop

I had Daddy issues:

I grew up with both my parents and my dad was an alcoholic, he still is. I resented him for putting alcohol first, I am 24 years now and I don’t remember seeing him sober as a little girl. He had empty promises. My inner child was still bleeding. I never forgot the day he was supposed to get me a bicycle, he drank the money and came back to me with only 4rands without the bicycle and he was drunk as a sailor. I was only 11 years but I remember it like it was yesterday, it broke my heart.

The fact that he could buy me beer now that I was older, but was never able to pay for my tuition fees hurt me again because I realised he will never put his obligations first.
I lashed out at my Mom for marrying him, knowing exactly that she did it for my siblings and me so we can grow up with both parents.
It was a scar for life, I sat and realised I was becoming like my Dad and I got up and prayed for strength to stop. My little brother is a drug addict at the age of 19, I’m afraid for him. I was also 19 when I started drinking. Still, my father sees nothing wrong in his actions. The moment I made peace with my life was the exact time I healed inside and decided to turn my life around. I’m still working on it. I’m positive about the future and strong again. I thank God for the strength. All I had to do was to accept the past, face my demons and deal with my inner child. It took me 5 years of destructivity and addiction to come to this point, life is never easy. We live and learn. I’m planning on getting myself a bicycle soon.

Throughout my addiction I did things I never thought I was capable of:

  • I stole my Mother’s hard earned money for alcohol
  • I neglected my Partner’s tears, feelings and Love
  • Hurting my Mom to a point that she wanted to leave her own house
  • I had anger management issues
  • I physically hit the woman I claimed to love (I’m not proud of it)

No amount of apologies can make up for all the hearts I have broken, people’s sanities I’ve destroyed and my Neurological problems. Because of substance abuse I developed a brain tumour but was detected in time. I admit I was wrong and I sincerely apologise to all my loved ones from the bottom of my heart. Mother blamed herself, thinking she never gave me enough love and all along I had my demons to face.

Addiction is not a life sentence. If you are addicted please seek help. It’s never too late I testify. I am not proud of my past but I have forgiven myself. I am moving on now, in pursuit of my production company.

P.S. Substance abuse is deadly. I’m speaking from experience.

2014-aug-14-sibahle-christie-parktown2

First published on Inkanyiso.org

For more on mental health and depression read the post It Never Ends.

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