We Are Prisoners of Ourselves

By Amarachi Okpunobi

My name is Andrew and I am a drug addict. No, I think I just used the wrong words, I was a drug addict and I am learning how to cope positively without the substance.

I have been on hard drugs for years now. Initially I used to be comfortable with it. In fact I was cool with all the intoxications it gives. That vibe you get and the highness. Everything was cool till everything began to move from normal to abnormal. I too moved with the events happening. Like I said, initially I was cool with it. I loved myself that way.

I used to be a science student of the department of agriculture in one of the wonderful universities around till some years back. I had a minor issue with one of my lecturer and I pushed him from the staircase and the sight became dirty. I did not intentionally wanted to do so but I did it. I never denied the fact that I was so heartless to push my lecturer down the stairs and so the University had no option than to discipline me. I was given three years suspension from school. You could imagine, I was in my fourth year. I never felt bad that I was being disciplined but I felt bad I allowed a substance to be in control of me and my actions too. I was angry my plans for the future was thwarted and certainly my friends must have been graduates before I will come back.

But before this incidence, I was leaving in money so I could afford anything I wanted. Yet I couldn’t afford the freedom I wanted from this substance. I had wanted to be a cultist but had a rethink because I found out my freedom will be taken from me, the way you dress, what you eat, the places you go and stay, the people you had to stay with and be friends with will be dictated. I had hated being a prisoner of anybody but sadly enough I ended up being a prisoner of my own self.

After the drama with the lecturer and the University, I left to learn some handwork. I hate being lazy. I felt I was going to make some good time for the three years. So I bagan to learn hairdressing and feminine beauty in general. I believed that will be a big distraction for my ugly self. But guess what, it never did. I continued abusing substance. I still hanged around those who did the same act, so there was certainly no way out.

After my apprenticeship, I picked a JAMB form. I wanted to go back to school. I wanted to make the best of myself. By then, I was called back to school but I couldn’t withstand the shame. Lucky me, I got admitted again into another university not very far from the previous one. I offered human kinetics. I was happy I was back to school. But then, it looked like my addiction got elated because I found out I could virtually not leave my house without taking it. I began to notice something was wrong with me. I was spending so much on this substance. I gave it all my dime. I was making little money from dressing ladies hair but I used up everything to get these drugs. I was getting broke and broke from cash but yet I couldn’t get my freedom.

Family began to avoid me. Nobody calls. I felt lonely and empty. I knew things were no longer the way they were when my family will have a general meeting in the house and I wouldn’t even be aware. That was how bad it was. Then, I left home too, I stayed far away from them. I forced myself to forget my family. Though it was painful but the drugs helped a lot for this. I remember those days we stayed together, I was my Father’s favourite but I guess I have lost all that now.

Then, there was a time I went back to my mother. My mother is a nurse so I found the courage to tell her, probably she will know the right drugs to administer that will help me cope without those substance.. She did her best, I was getting better. But then I will fall sick and once I take that substance, I get well. So I continued.

Gradually, I lost everything. Money, good friends and family. Then I decided to sell my car. Yes, I had a car! I told you earlier I wasn’t poor. My family wasn’t poor too. We lived in luxury. I had persuaded my father to get me a car after my friend Patrick got his. I was my Father’s favourite so he did got me the car. I grooved all the nook and crannies with my car. I lived a big boy in school.

A night came when I had an accident with it. My friends and I were very high on drugs so we collided into each other. You could again imagine how stupid we were to have intentionally had a collision. The car got bad and again my father changed it. I had the wonderful lies to tell my family and they believed me. It was this same car I wanted to sell. Unfortunately, the buyer knew my Father and told him about it. Trust my Father, he seized it from me. There was no money coming around. I couldn’t continue begging friends.

I was deteriorating. So I began selling my properties. I wanted to stop.. I wanted to quit.. I knew I was destroying myself. But didn’t know how to. I needed help. I knew I needed help. So I went back to my mother. I submitted myself to her. I couldn’t continue to live that way.
By then I was already having my Teaching practice in one of the secondary schools around. My mother was supportive. She began giving me some drugs. They were helping but once I got better, few days I will go sick and not untill I take that substance I won’t get better. I lived that way till my mother took me to a psychiatric hospital. I was happy, I was going to get better. My sister came from Abuja to see me in the hospital on the day of my admission. I felt loved. I thought I have lost them all but no, they were all that way so I get back to who I use to be.

I had spent two weeks in the hospital and there was a tremendous change. Initially, I thought it was the drugs given to me in the hospital that was doing the magic, but I also realised that my wish to gain my freedom was playing a role too.

Did I forget to tell you how I started taking drugs? My friend sold a land and got a huge amount of money. Then we went to a hotel and that was it. I tasted it that night and ever since, my life never remained the same.

I really wanted to leave the hospital and go back to being the favourite son of my father if that would be attainable. I have come to realise that we are our greatest enemy and prisoner. Not until we free ourselves no other person can.

The above story is a true story. The earlier we give ourselves our freedom the better our lives will be.

#say no to drug addiction.