Alcohol addiction is not a new word to anyone. From our Television stations to radios, newspapers and tabloids, you will come across a panel discussing alcoholism, drug addiction or just a well written article talking about the same.
I slept with a knife under my pillow – Tonny Kibet’s struggle with alcohol addiction
A broken relationship drove me into alcohol addiction – Tonny Kibet
Drug addiction is a disease that if not taken care of, will blow out into a national disaster with the recent rising calls from some of our leaders to have marijuana legalized in Kenya.
Tonny Kibet, who is a recovered alcohol addict, says he did not at one point think he was addicted to alcohol and marijuana. As we sit down for this interview, he reminisces how he transitioned from a social drinker into an addict.
This in turn got him suicidal to the point that he slept with a knife under his pillow, anytime he had an argument with his parents and threatened to take away his life.
“Suicidal thoughts were a major characteristic of my addiction. At some point I used to sleep with a knife under my pillow. Family was the most affected and anytime we got into an argument, I threatened to kill myself. Any time I had a bad feeling, I would think about suicide. The only thing that would stop me from committing suicide is fear of the unknown but I always thought of it as a solution,” he says.
Break up with girlfriend
Tonny, who is a graphics designer and video editor, describes his first encounter with drugs as bad, because he was too scared to the extent that he thought the person that introduced him, wanted to rob him.
This was back in High school. However, in 2010 after joining Kenya Utalii College, he started drinking and smoking marijuana because he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted and was away from his parents. For some time he was only a social drinker until the day he broke up with his college girlfriend.
Being a popular student in the college, he imagined that the whole institution knew he had been dumped and all he wanted to do was drink to forget all his troubles.
“I never knew it was addiction, I just wanted to drown my sorrows, I just wanted to stay high and forget my problems and again I would say music had a lot of influence on me because I used to listen to a lot of Hip Hop music which gives the perception of being high and not caring about what is really happening."
“My drugs of choice for the two years that I was addicted were alcohol and marijuana but then I would still use anything that would come my way, things like Kuber and anything my friends brought including pills,’’ Tonny tells this journalist.
To sustain his addiction, Kibet would steal anything that he would sell just to get money for marijuana and alcohol.
Admitted into a psychiatric ward
This according to him, is when his parents got to know of his addiction and was advised by the school counselor to see a psychiatrist, and without knowing the depth of his drinking, was admitted to a psychiatric ward for two weeks. He was later discharged and put on antidepressants which Kibet says caused stigma after he went back to college and his peers thought he was taking ARVs.
“I would stop taking the drugs and from time to time I would mix with alcohol against doctor’s advice and sometimes I would suspend alcohol and smoke weed,” he said.
He was again re-admitted into a psychiatric ward after he took a whole bottle of vodka and on his way back to college, he started throwing stones at passing vehicles. Operators from one of the public service vehicles stopped and started beating him in a mob. A police officer from the Traffic Headquarters came to his rescue. He was arrested and after his parents bailed him out, he was taken back to the psychiatric ward.
“I could see that I was really hurting my parents like when I got arrested, a lot of money was used to bail me out and even my mother developed blood pressure problems because of my actions,” he said.
On September 19, 2012 Kibet got tricked by his parents into going to rehab. Despite not knowing where they were going, he had a bad feeling about it and was ready to run away the minute he saw any sign of a Rehabilitation Centre, this, however, was not to be.
“They told me we were going somewhere but they took me to rehab,” he said.
During the three months he stayed in rehab, Kibet discovered his passion for music and his ability to write songs.
Asked if he faced any challenge with relapses, he boldly said that even after seven years of being free from any drugs, he still faces many challenges and relies on God to overcome them. The biggest challenge he faced as an addict was finding someone to talk to about his troubles.
“I think that time, I lacked a mentor, someone to talk to someone who had been through the same road as me. I had to bottle my feelings. Had no one to tell especially my broken relationship,” he said.
After he left rehab, Mr Kibet says he had so much expectations from people because he wanted them to see that he had changed and whenever he was not treated as a changed man, it really affected him.
“I still had a lot of anger issues, throwing tantrums you know, not understanding that we are human beings and we have weaknesses and flaws,” he states.
Tonny Kibet currently works with Triumph Ministry, a ministry that mobilizes former drug addicts to engage them in Christ centered activities.
“To any young person boy or girl, if you are affected by drugs, alcohol or any other challenge I want to share with you (1st Corinthians 10:12-15) No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others and God is faithful, he will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you will be able to endure it,” he says as his final word to young people struggling with addiction.
“That’s word that I use to face any challenge in life. Nothing is big that has come to us that God does not know let’s face it with courage and know that God will not forsake us. Stay Triumphant!” Tonny adds.
You can reach out to Tonny Kibet, contact him on +254 731 496 489. He can also be found on social media as; (Triumph Ministry on Instagram, Triumph Ministry on Facebook and Triumph Ministry on Twitter)
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