By Michael Wesonga
She was only 12 when she discovered the taste of alcohol and loved it. Out of curiosity, Vicky Kones took a few sips of a whiskey on Christmas Eve of 1990 when she was in Standard Six.
Within no time, she was drawn into alcoholism — and later drugs — for more than 15 years. The good news is that Vicky is now rehabilitated and is helping other addicts find value in life.
After that first sip, Vicky never stopped drinking. By the time she was in Form Four at Moi Girls’ High School in Eldoret in 1996, she had become an alcoholic and unfortunately, no one noticed.
The school suspended her twice over misconduct and eventually expelled her in third term. She only went back to sit her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams and scored a ‘C’ grade.
Her parents, Beatrice and Kipkalya Kones (the late Member of Parliament for Bomet), tried to help her to qualify for admission to university by enrolling her at the Eldoret Polytechnic to upgrade her weak grades in June 1997.
It was while she was at the polytechnic that they found out about her drinking and promptly transferred her to Northwood University in Florida, USA, the following year.
The parents erroneously thought her friends made her start to drink and what better way to remove her from the bad influence than send her as far away from them as possible.
“My parents thought my peers caused my drinking. This was wrong. I was actually the one influencing my friends,” narrates Vicky, 34.
But Northwood was a place of much freedom; a mere change of venue, adequate finances and the same old habits. Immediately after the first semester, she dropped out of college and spent her days hanging out with like-minded addicts.
“I sourced money from home for seven years without being questioned what it was for until guilt and shame set in after seeing colleagues graduating and getting absorbed in key government positions back home,” Vicky regrets.
Driven by guilt, she assured her father all was well to allay his worries over the extended stay and asked for more money — some $12,000 (about Sh960,000 then) — that she hoped to use to start a new life but she wasted it all on her addiction.
Soon, her study tour came to an end and she was faced with deportation for lack of papers.
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