‘Hello everybody, my name is Adora and I’m an alcoholic’
‘Okay, the first time I took alcohol, it was dry gin in my mother’s hot room when I was 13. I was in Jss3 then and it was during the junior WAEC school extension. I had listened to the boarding students talk about how they got ‘high’ the previous night. One of them had even asked me if I had ever had that ‘out of body’ experience, to which I shook my head and adjusted my glasses.
My transportation that evening was peer pressure… it drove me straight to that hot room. The room was my father and mother’s before my father died. Now it’s just my mom and when dad died the room began to fall apart on her. My mom lived in a bubble in her head and in that bubble, her husband was still alive, he still loved the dull colored curtains, he enjoyed the torn linoleum on the floor, he loved the noise from the slow and creaking ceiling fan, he loved all her dresses on her although they now sat big and awkward on her shoulder and yes, he knew that the Air Conditioning was damaged but he was taking his time to fix it.
My mom always kept a long bottle of dry gin by her bedside. She once explained to me that she took little sips when she had a sore throat or a cough or when the room was too cold. I knew she was lying when she said, ‘when the room is too cold’. That place was hell.
Anyway, on the day I was pressured by my peers, I stood over the bottle, memorized its exact position and then picked it up. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I carefully opened the bottle, poured some of its content in the cap and stared at it. If I could not perceive the strong spirit, I’d have argued that it was water; innocent water sitting in a cap. I closed my eyes, not knowing what to expect, and downed it fast. Oh! My! God! My chest was on (hot) fire. I was so taken aback by the fiery sensations that shot through my blood that I jumped up and flung the bottle on the floor, emptying its content on the linoleum.
My mom came in just in the moment and stood at the doorway. We stood there looking at each other like those two guys in Sunny Neji’s ‘face me I face you’ music video until she suddenly charged towards me like a tiger and beat me ‘finish’. Just when I thought I was going to die, she marched outside and I heard the gate of the compound swing open and shut. She returned 5 minutes later, carrying 3 of the same bottle of dry gin – only difference was that these ones were full and unopened.
She looked at me and said, ‘Since we have a drunkard in the house, how about I provide for your needs ehn Adora? Since you want to kill yourself and kill me, ehn let’s start with yourself now. Take’ she handed me one of the bottles, ‘oya pop na! Open and drink. Fill yourself and be drunk Dora. Kill yourself!’ She was crying.
It suffices to say that I almost died that day. Of course I did not finish the three bottles; heck if I could even take up to quarter of one. My chest and throat burned; my nose was breathing alcohol; my tongue was numb, and my teeth felt harsh against themselves. But those were just at the beginning. After a while, I could no longer hear what my mom was saying; I mean, I could hear her but it did not matter anymore. Her words were just… words. When she hit me, I thought it was funny and laughable – no pain. When I managed to make out that she was crying, my brain went on a philosophical journey on the Ideology of Tears, and although I don’t remember what I came up with, I know that it was deep enough to make me not even feel any emotions towards my crying mom.
It was since that day that I resorted to alcohol; to take me off this pedestal, on to a higher one. But I’m here in this gathering today because I have admitted to myself that my relationship with alcohol is an abusive one. It takes me so high (unrealistically high) and then without warning, flings me so low to this state of horrible depression; depression so bad that I can only crawl on my weak weak knees begging my next swing to take my soul and my health in exchange for some few more minutes of high.
I can’t take that anymore and that’s why I’m here today’
‘Wow, thanks for sharing Adora. That was brave and you have done well. You know, to get a clearer strategy on the future, one must understand the past. Thanks once again Adora.’
‘Hi everyone, my name is Faisal and I’m an alcoholic’
‘So, mine was a little weirder….’