As I approached my home last Saturday, I saw her point in my direction, interrupting the discussion she was having with the gatekeeper. When I stepped out of my car, she came to me: “Do you have a few minutes? I need your help,” she yelled as she stretched her hand out to me. Having no time to exchange pleasantries, she explained everything. She was beat, her tears flowed endlessly and the pain inside could not be concealed from a blind person.
What happened thereafter forms part of our talk this week. I will also share with you my experience with Andrew. The two stories are real and are meant to shed light on what is happening around, which could also happen to you.
I set out to look for Billy only to find him curled somewhere in a corner alone with thoughts racing through his mind. I struck a conversation with him and within minutes, he asked me if I had spoken with his mum and when I asked why, he said he knew how much pain he has caused her. I sought to know how it started and his answer was simple: “Sample, a free sample,” he said with a distant look in his eyes. Billy is addicted to ‘crack’, the street name for cocaine and constantly smokes ‘pot’, the street name for marijuana or bhang. Having gone through a national secondary school, Billy got admission to study Actuarial Science in one of the leading universities. He dropped out of his First Year and it has been two years since.
He could not go two days without a shot of crack, which is very expensive. He turned to stealing from his parents and when things got tight, he started selling off household items, which led him to be banned from entering his parents’ home. When I asked him if he wants to get out, he stared out into the open for a while then after a long sigh he said, “Oh yes…but I don’t know how.”
He is alone now; none of his friends wants anything to do with him because he ran out of money when he was kicked out of home and they don’t want to share their portion.
Andrew has been addicted to cocaine for three years. Coming from a middle-level background, he admired the latest fashion trends his friends were bouncing in. While waiting to go to college, he got involved with this woman, a widow in the neighbourhood, who gave him money to floss and bought him everything he needed. He was shocked to test HIV+ while doing his college admission medical tests.
When he went to confront her, he was equally surprised when another young man opened the door for him. He turned to marijuana (bhang) to ease his stress level and later to cocaine. I met Andrew after trying to talk him out of suicide attempt. We managed to break the door open just in time. He says there is nothing to show from the relationship with that woman apart from the HIV infection he got. He is currently going through a rehabilitation programme.
Lessons from Billy and Andrew
One, the bliss you get from drugs and other substances lasts as long as you have money, then it turns to torment. It only takes two to four instances of exposure for one to get addicted. This is where it gets murky because people will always give you free samples to start you off, but will never give you a free fix once you get on the bandwagon.
Another critical lesson is that friends who introduce you to these habits remain ‘friends’ as long as they are getting something from you. You run out of money, you run out of friends. Once you get hooked, you will do anything, including stealing for money.