When Was The Last Time You Were Sober?

As Suicide Prevention Awareness Month comes to an end, here is a mental health piece I wrote a while back. 


Damn I hate being sober.

No, those are not my words. They are lyrics to one of Chief Keef’s hits. In the song, he represents the sentiments of most campus students.

When was the last time you were at “heaven”? What did you to take to get there? Did you drown an ethanol product? Did you snort the white powder? Did you chew some leaves and stems? Did you light up a tree, an Al Fakher goodie or a Mastermind product? Did it involve a syringe? Or was it a pill and a portion?

Some of us can’t remember the last time we went a whole 24 hours without being in cloud nine. A day without drugs is the perfect example of a nightmare for such people. Just imagining about such a day sends shivers down their spine.

Kuna wengine… akiamka asubuhi…

In campus, drugs are part of a student’s everyday lifestyle. Some have even integrated them into their diet. A blunt before breakfast, a cigi with lunch and a bottle after dinner. A truly nutritious diet for a trippy mane.

It is important to note that not everyone who abuses drugs is doing so willingly. A bunch of us aren’t assertive enough, easily giving into peer pressure. Ladies can’t consider you to be the Man Of The Year if you don’t smoke something for your nerve.

I ain’t got no type

Men don’t regard a lady to be attractive till she’s part of the A Team. The title of Bad Girl (the only thing that we like) is reserved only for ladies who get faded till they trip.

Others just take their love for celebrities (mostly musicians) a tad too far. Religiously living out their favorite artiste’s lyrics to the letter. When they are offered these substances, they shout Hell Yes (Gucci Mane) like Bobby Shmurda they are Hot Niggas, living fast and dying young is their choice (Tinashe).

Then we’ve got those with underlying issues. The one’s who use drugs as an escape route. They would rather forget their problems momentarily instead of finding ways to deal with them.  Once they get back to sobriety, they are embraced by their old problems and new one’s as well.

Hurriedly, they set off for another trip to the clouds but the outcome remains the same. Madre double as the cause and solution to their problems, taking them one step forward and five steps back.

What day is it? What time is it? It does not matter, I’ve got to get high!

If your stock is over you quickly go through your contact list looking for someone who can sell or share their stash with you.

“F@#! Class assignments, F@#! Class attendance, F@#! Graduation. What’s so exciting about going to class, doing assignments and graduating anyway?”

The drugs make us feel free, invincible, successful, (place the feeling you get). Once you’ve gotten your fix, you Ain’t Worried About Nothing (Haan!).

We have forgotten what brought us to school in the first place. That our parents are paying an arm and a leg for us to pursue a degree here does not seem to trouble our conscience at all.

By our own volition we have decided to pursue a doctorate in drugs and substance abuse. That unexplainable, out of body, out of this world experience is far more important than a degree in Communication, Engineering, (insert your major). Too bad no one is hiring junkies, but who cares? We surely don’t!

Those who are concerned about our wellbeing keep asking if we will ever quit.  Yes we will. Once we have had enough of our poison we will automatically quit. But do we even know what quantity constitutes “enough”? What if someone told you that you are way past enough, would you believe them?

Of course not, we know ourselves better and there’s no way we have reached our limit. In our defense, we mention one of our friends (we all have one) or a famous celebrity (we all know of one) who has undoubtedly gone past his or her limit. As long as we haven’t gotten to that level, then We Alright.

Little do we know that slowly but surely we are following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps who literally did not stop till he’d gotten enough (pun intended). I don’t need to remind you where the King of Pop is right now, do I?

So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed. We just having fun…

An optimist will argue that the Young, Wild and Free generation does not know the fate they condemn themselves to. Weed happily gives you Alzheimer’s disease, liquor will drown your liver in cirrhosis, tobacco gives your lungs the cancer rush, khat makes you shoot blanks, cocaine turns you into a crack head and heroine? With heroine nothing seems important…not even life – Alexander Shulgulin

If that’s not enough, we have personally witnessed what these turn up pre-requisites have done to our dear friends.  Armed with this knowledge and eye witness accounts we still carry on with our behaviour. No, we are not ignorant neither are we blind. We are confused and in denial.

We simply do not understand how these happiness enhancing blessings double as life ending curses, or to paraphrase Junior Kelly’s hit song, If drugs so nice, tell me why they hurt so bad?

Of course, there at times we turn into nervous wrecks.  We worry that we won’t see the sun shine tomorrow. We fear that our loving parents (who are unaware of actions) will go through the traumatic experience of burying us six feet deep. We wonder if we will live long enough to see our kids get to this age let alone see our grandchildren (we have already given up on that one).

Unfortunately, these thoughts of guilt are not enough to deter us from our pursuit of happiness. Like Kid Cudi, we believe we’ll be fine when we get there. Wherever “there” is.

I am sure by the time our kids get to this age they will understand why we were unable to live long enough to see them get to the same age. Actually, during their time things will be pretty much worse. They will classify ecstasy and cocaine as soft drugs and will campaign for the legalization of heroine. While we are praying that God keeps us till sixty (at most), they will fast to get to forty (at most).

Right now, you might seriously be contemplating on changing your ways. This article has got you thinking twice about your future and left you wondering about who trained me on How to Save a Life. Maybe I am trying to get you off the ledge but you and I both know that you are still going to jump.

NACADA can spend billions of shillings on adverts, crack downs and implementation of Mututho laws, we can spend eternity with the world’s best counsellors in state of the art rehabilitation centers, but nothing and no one can get us to go from Saul to Paul without our willing consent. We are still intent on not dying sober.

Therefore, after reading this, the Dunhill will be switched; the Hookah bong will be held; the blunt will be passed; the liquor will be poured; the taxin will be formed; the blue, yellow and purple pills will be popped; the codeine will be mixed with soda; the nose will be powdered; and the fresh vein will be utilized. What can we say?

I’m in love with the CoCo!

In the event that our drug habits permanently take us to “heaven” or heaven then we will not help but arrive there in a blaze of glory, having “lived life to the fullest”.

After all, You Only Live Once, right?


An edited version of this story first run in July 21st 2015 issue of CAMPUS CRAZE in The Standard.

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