It’s now been two years since he last let a drop of alcohol pass via his lips.
Interestingly, before the incident that put paid to that habit for him, he’d intended stopping severally to no avail. There sure comes a point in a man’s life, when he has to decide to live or not live, and if yes on what terms.
So it came to be two years ago at a friend’s wedding reception where he’d fed (having had nothing to eat all day, and arriving with friends at the time, the organizers had run out of food, save spirits) on different alcoholic brands of varying strengths, gotten embarrassingly drunk and then lucky to have friends who covered his shame by bringing him home safely, then tucked him up in bed, then left.
Maybe he wouldn’t have stopped drinking if he hadn’t woken up with a start the next morning, throwing up what looked like the whole of his innards and the contents thereof, with each bout seeming to want to snuff the life out of him. Maybe also, he may not have stopped if it had been a one-off, unfortunately it wasn’t and it was now occurring more frequently, though the last episode was the most intense. It was a situation he would never like to find himself in, ever again!
He was lucky that in this particular travail the “Mother of All Hangovers” he’d suffered till date, he was spared major embarrassment as his wife wasn’t home when he was “brought” back (by good friends to whom he remains eternally grateful), and while his ordeal lasted for the next twenty-four hours, though she suspected something was amiss more than fifty missed calls after (he would tell her what happened a year later).
It was time he began to take responsibility for all his actions. One of the indicators that signalled to him that he was treading on the dangerous and harmful was when on the third occassion of been introduced to a friend’s fiancee he couldn’t yet recognize her because on the other occasions he’d been blindly drunk.
He didn’t even have an early introduction into drinking. Up till his one score years on earth, he’d never sipped a drop of alcohol, and also never touched nay held a stick of cigarette in his hands (he never got to smoking one till date). He was a romantic, romantics are mad people and often get their hearts broken.
His was broken by a woman he truly loved, his friends thought alcohol would help, and it did.
For hadn’t it been for alcohol (you’d usually find him saying) then he wouldn’t have survived that heartbreak, enough to plunge into his books to pass three of the four papers he wrote that year in school, though that assertion remains debatable since he could’ve achieved the same result or better had he sought counselling though one might also argue that considering the paucity of time, alcohol provided a faster means to aid forgetfulness and stimulate the urge to “move-on”.
In all he drank for about “Nine Years”, and having done two years off it, he feels it’s an achievement that’s worth celebrating. He lives a more responsible life now, having nothing to blame on the alcohol anymore. He still makes mistakes as many a man would wont to, but none is made under the influence.
This was someone who decided against taking a job on a platter in the Northern part of Nigeria (though well-remunerating) after completing his National Youth Service Corp, NYSC programme, simply because he felt alcohol will continue to be hard to come by there because of the “Sharia Compliant” nature of the state, with their hard stance on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
He would forego that for a job in the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Niger Delta, where alcohol appeares to compete with water in terms of availability. This was where he grew his burgeoning torso that’s refused to remit despite religiously followed sit-up’s many years down the line. Ah! He went totally bacchanal for the twelve month period he spent in Bonny, and many things happened there that he’s yet to find the mouth to express fully.
One thing his decision to stop drinking has taught him is that he does have the ability to end any behaviour he finds harmful to his being, and in applying the same concept, he’s managed to stop another habit of his, while hoping to do same to many others, till he becomes the better man he’d always hoped to become.
Economically, he’s been able to garner enough spare change in his pocket, a near impossibility in his bacchanal days. Sobriety has made him more prudent, making affordable lots of things he would rather put off back in the day.
In his case, it’s been all gains and no losses, as he now attempts to regain all he’d lost to alcohol over the years.