*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.
First published on Inkanyiso.org
For more on mental health and depression read the post It Never Ends.
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