Cheers! | Bikozulu

Cheers!

I’m seated at an insipid reception, below a massive painting of The Crying Shepherd. The settee is purple. There is a flower vase on the coffee table before me and some gorgeous flowers lean in it. I’m the kind of woos who loves flowers so, on my way to take my seat I sort of touched the petals of the flowers. Plastic. There are no magazines in the room. No calendar. No clock. The walls are bleached white and across from me is a huge window which lets in a flood of light. A rotating fan lethargically chops at the dead air above this ensemble.

To get in this room I had to write four emails, make five phone calls then I had to cajole and when that was proving fruitless I resorted to lying. At some point I had to meet some cynical lady at Java on a drizzly early morning and make promises I wasn’t sure I would keep. Then one morning – weeks later – I had to drive out along Langata Road, into Magadi Road then down past Banda School and some half hour further down that road to a location I promised the lady at Java I wouldn’t reveal on this blog or on any media. Then I had to stop at a nondescript gate where a guard checked his clipboard to see if I was expected. Now am here – in a green pristine compound, teeming with trees and birds – staring at the plastic flowers and feeling sorry for all those people who have sat in this very room and thought they were real.

The only other settee in the room is occupied by a woman and a man. The woman looks like she is in her mid 50’s but you can tell she is much older than that because she has money. Boatful of money. She sits upright, regally, defiantly. Her spine straight as a runway. She has an expensive watch, gold. I can smell her purse all the way from my seat; it smells like a cow. Genuine leather. It’s rich brown leather, with a nice simple golden buckle. You can tell a lot about a woman by the kind of purse she carries.

Her skin is like milk. Her hair is pulled back severely against her face which makes her look handsome. She avoids my eyes. But she is sad, I can tell. Sad and weary. I can tell sad people when I meet them. I can tell them even when they laugh (hollow) or from their eyes (windowless) and how the corner of their lips curl slightly in silent stoicism. But she looked like a woman who tried very well to keep her troubles under her hat; I could tell from her Victorian posture. She dignified her problems.

And one of her problems sat next to her.

The gentleman looked like one of those guys you will find at Tamasha Hurlinghum at 9am on a loose Saturday, having a hair of the dog. Those folk who look like they live from one hangover to the next. Those folk who wear Hush Puppy loafers and Lacoste polo shirts with collars constantly turned up.

This cat is light and a little heavy on the midriff. He looks 36 and broken. A thin gold chain dangles from his neck. It’s morning but he is perspiring. He cuts the imagine of those yuppies who follow safari rally to Nyeri in their turbo charged Subarus. Those fellows who drive down to Naivasha “for golf” even when their

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true handicap is not in golf but their untamed hedonism. You must know one, surely, those folk who will tell you in a raspy voice that betrays years of relentless bingeing, how last week he went to Naivasha for this exclusive party at a country home belonging to his buddy. You must know these out of town homes where Nairobians throw parties in; homes full of “imported” chicks (campus) that mill about the swimming pool, their perky breasts, yet to be persuaded by gravity and age, pushing against their flimsy bikinis while spoilt, self entitled middle-aged yuppies ogle at them with beers in their hands and the sun on their potbellies.

He has a wedding band, this chap. One of those thick white gold jobs that costs and arm and a toe. He slouches on the chair next to the lady who I could have bet is his mom, or auntie. His eyes are red and he looks like he hasn’t slept a wink since he got his national ID. He looks knackered. Smashed. Wasted. Effed. And he looks sadder than his mother. He looks like he has been crying, or is just about to. They don’t say a word to each other; the lady stares ahead at The Crying Shepherd and he sits next to her, staring at the floor and sometimes sighing loudly.

In my head (and perhaps because on my way here I was listening to it) the song Stop this Train by John Mayer offers the soundtrack to this bleak tableau. It’s one of those songs that will certainly play during the Second Coming. It’s a song that splits your heart, and those two had their hearts asunder.

I was in a rehab center.

It’s one of those exclusive posh nosh rehabs where the rich go to hide the shame of the family. It’s where the upper middle-class go to hang their dirty linen to dry; 80k the first month and then 50k for a month for the next three months. I was there to do a story. I was there because I was naïve; naïve at my expectations of what a rehab was, naturally informed by television and books.

The lady I meet, the one who “speaks” for the rehab is a motherly, almost grandmotherly, lady whose first words to me when she meets me are; “Do you drink?”

“Yes, but not in the mornings,” I say tongue-in cheek as if she was about to offer me something stiff. Of course I mean it as a joke but she doesn’t crack a smile. She is cold; a talking ice cube. I almost feel sorry for making light of something like that, especially in a place like this.

“What do you drink?” She asks as she leads me to her office.

“Wine or whiskey, depends on the time of the month, where am drinking it and who’s buying, ” I say, taking another stab at light humor but my efforts are thwarted when she ignores me again. I then make a point not to say the first thing that comes to my head. I stare at the back of her white hair as we walk into her office which is as cold as her.

“How often do you drink?”

“Uhm, not much. Three glasses of wine…four?” I say and then add quickly, “My job demands that I attend cocktail dos and what not. Plus I review bars, so…”

“Let me guess, you have it under control,” she says. Oh, okay, so she’s allowed to be sarcastic and I’m not? I say nothing because I assume that statement was rhetorical.

Every month, she tells me, they receive about eight men and women to the center, most of whom they turn away. The facility holds 25 people at any given time. They don’t advertise. They don’t make noise about what they do because to shadow their door, is a private decision. You have to want to be there. You have to ask for help. “Do you want to be here,” is the first question they ask their “patients” during the pre-admission interview and if the answer is no, they will thank you for coming and see you to your car.

They receive broken men and women. Men sick from alcoholism and drug addiction. They receive men who are at the edge of hopelessness, where what remains for them is the ultimate fall; death. They are brought in by their mothers mostly because only your mother would take you when you are broken and written off. Because only your mother would want to fix you when everything else has failed. But sometimes they are brought by wives or brothers or sisters. Hardly ever by friends, she tells me, which should tell you something. And once in a long while, she told me, a man will drive through their gates unaccompanied and ask to be saved.

As she showed me around the facility (as she calls it) I saw these guys and I felt like I knew them. I really did and later it occurred to me that I felt like I knew them because we are in the same age bracket. They are the same guys you would see seated at Slims in their work shirts, fiddling with their Blackberries. Or at Pitch and Butch, still in their Ksh 35k suits, loosened ties and a cigarette burning between their fingers. Or at Porters House in town, nursing a whiskey as they watch the 7am news. I know those guys because we all grew up together, we all drink in the same bar, we all have dated the same chicks at some point, we all go to the same carwash and we all try to reconnect with God every Sunday.

“The biggest problem is in the age bracket between 25yrs and 42yrs old. You people drink too much, smoke too much. You are headed for a painful reality in future,” the lady told me glumly as we passed two guys seated on a lawn playing chess. One was smoking a cigarette. They looked normal but their normality on existed within the confines of that compound, if they step out of the gate before they have completed their program, they will no doubt head straight to the bar, she informed me.

The sobering truth, one that I left the facility with, is that we are dying slowly. We are all dying from booze. We are drowning in hedonism. We spend too much time in the bar washing down our lives. We imagine that tales of drunkenness are medallions that we should hang on our walls and show off to our friends. We drink because we fear who we are, who we have become and we can’t confront that reality sober. We hope that at the bottom of the bottle lies redemption, or validation, but soon we realize that at the bottom of the bottle lies nothing. That when we look at the bottom of the bottle, we will only see our bewildered reflection.

And booze, as I witnessed at the facility, strips a man down to nothing. Booze turns you into a zombie, with red lips and watery eyes and sad pathetic eyes. But it doesn’t walk up to you, it sneaks up on you. One day you wake up and realize that you want a drink at 9am. You know you are in trouble when you realize that your hands shake slightly when you hold something. When you stop looking at your watch when you are in the bar. When you eat less and drink more. When you smell like a brewery when you belch. And you know the first thing that will go? Your hard-on. When that flies out the window your self esteem will follow next and after that your boss will call you and ask you to do something about your work. Then from that point, it will all go to hell in a hand basket. Quickly. The lady walked me through this process slowly, like you would a child, and when she was done, I truly needed a drink.

You are probably thinking, hell, I don’t want to read this glob of glum on a Monday. If it’s hard to read this on a Monday I can assure you it was harder to write it on a Sunday. I bet it’s even harder to read it when it doesn’t speak to you because you know how to handle your drink. But we all know someone who isn’t handling their drink well. Share this with them; maybe, just maybe they might be tempted to get help, or another drink, who knows.

95 thoughts on “Cheers!”

  1. Chem says:

    Great piece, really touching, thoroughly moving…we all know someone who should be there, or is headed there. My sympathies to the ‘common mwananchi’ who cannot afford to get the ‘clean up’ because as it is these rehab centres are very expensive.

  2. hardened mama says:

    Thanks for uploading this on a sunday…. hope this reaches out to all the people out there who know just what you’re tking about. Have a blessed week

  3. kip says:

    Positive post Biko !We need to confront reality heads on once in a while

  4. farmgal says:

    I’m just glad I quit!
    Did you actually get a drink after the that?

  5. Dragoness says:

    Hope you had a great Easter Biko! great piece, alcohol is killing, alocohol is turning men/women into nothing, people need to be informed, this piece might save a soul tomorrow, this piece might stop someone from taking that final sip to death, This piece might just be a wake up call to all of us…..that even the addicts, were one time just like us…..occassional drinkers, able to handle their drinks….. and then things fell apart…..

  6. ihuoma says:

    Kudos Biko!!!!!!! This is a very good piece and Thank you so much for taking the time to write on this subject and for sharing your inner thoughts on it. Shukran.

  7. cheruto says:

    i gotta give it to u biko..uve got me hooked to this blog…ive been moving frm one blog to another but when i stumbled upon this one i knew this was exactly what i was looking for..uve got amazing talent!!!!….so this rehab, do they also have therapy for sex addicts because i know a person who could use professional help??

    • Blessings says:

      That’s one kind of rehab centre Kenya needs; for sex addiction. This is a topic that is not even openly discussed though so a rehab is probably pushing it*sigh* Anyway, I don’t know any but I know this site which has a self-help program: http://www.recoverynation.com/ Hope it helps.

  8. Seeking_the_path says:

    Don’t say ‘Purse’.. Say ‘Ng’ombe’?

    Many people take religion to be a joke.. They talk of hypocrisy; I say, why not give it a try? What do you have to loose?

  9. nyar rusinga says:

    First….thanks for posting so early….second, this post has so much truth in it. I will definately share……

  10. tony says:

    Such a sober read. I’m sharing this with two guys I know, Jimmie and I. Hopefully not over a drink

  11. Radio says:

    Every man warns to believe they are handling their drink well! How do you share this without them thinking you are judging!

    Damn, I need a drink!

  12. Nixy says:

    Thank you for writing this piece. Alcoholism sadly is the destroyer of our time. Our generation has embraced it only to be ensnared with no game plan of quitting. I salute all the champions of this cause and the courage of those who overcome addiction. I say thank you to the Chaplain of Mathari Hospital, Nairobi for the support he gave me while I was trying to get out of my addiction.

  13. Really? No comments? This is a first.

    Thank you for writing about this Biko. I don’t drink and I find the Kenyan drinking culture scary. It’s scary when you don’t consider yourself entertained if there was no alcohol involved. I always wonder, what’s the attraction in responding to the question “What did you do this weekend?” by ” I got so drunk” every week? Your days start falling into each other and become one long drunken stupor interrupted by trying to work with a hangover.

    Not cool.

  14. kbaab says:

    Sobering post this one.

  15. Robarazz86 says:

    This is an honest question. How can we ever thank you Biko? You not only make our weeks but also give rich insights into everyday issues that we brush aside. Once again, thank you.

  16. anonymous says:

    You must be talking about Nairobi Place. I have been there and spent a fortune taking care of someone who cant seem to undersatnd that they are destroying a family with their addictions.

    It took me years to understand and accept that this is a middle class disease and one of manipulations. Whats sad really is not the money spent but the impact on families.

    We watch as these people drink , party and we accept it as fun… until it becomes a problem.

    • OtienoHongo says:

      I don’t think that this is only a middle class disease, it’s just that the middle class can afford to splash money for these rehabs. Go to the rural communities and see the rural poor who wake up at 6 am to go look for a drink!

  17. muri says:

    ‘we all know that one person who isn’t handling their drink’ … awesome post biko.

  18. masido says:

    whoa!this post is just it! i was out partying with pals jana and some couldn’t wait for nighttime. they begun drinkin since morning. i too drink occassionally but i fail to understand how someone gets hooked to alcohol! i have had bad experiences with alcoholics in my life n i dnt want any of my pals to fall into it too! sharing this pap!

  19. Neno Sang says:

    A must share.Good read!!

  20. kidikibudi says:

    Been to that place, to take a friend… a not really… my boss in a way. Used to do the maths for some lady who owned a bar and she had the sort of a son you just described up here. So I had a convo with him urging him to go for rehab. Turned out he wasn’t ready for the place. Well, the story has not a so-fine ending.

    Just this, like aah–aahlwayz sayz down here buddies, aaahlcahal is nobody’s friend. Bikoman, you still reviewing bars? Let not take a Pharisee’s route to Damascus.

  21. Nyakeruw says:

    Thanks for this post. Very sobering read. I’m glad alcohol has never appealed to me. This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my brother. He said:

    “We are a poor and very bored nation. These vices: alcoholism, casual sex, violence et al have their roots from there.”

    “Look at us, what do we do for fun? We hang out in pubs. We dont even dance, we just sit there and drink. And yet, we are the elite.”

    “We have the money. If I have a loose 5k like this,I call up my friends for drinks then we talk about our problems. Yet, we are the problem”

    The minute we admit we have a problem and we are the problem, then we can get the solutions.

    • Sue says:

      Indeed “we are a bored nation . Hobbies fall away after college or even after high school for some. Pubs are full of patrons watching sports but how many actually play soccer, basketball, tennis or maybe cycle or swim on a regular basis? Very few. I suppose it does not help that many residential areas barely have suitable places for such activities.

      It does not help that drinking has been normalized and glamorized in many ads. For a long time, the EABL slogan was “Tusker, baada ya kazi”. The people in the ads never look haggard and beat up, they look vibrant and healthy which is the exact opposite of what happens with substance abuse. Even when someone is clearly overdoing it, they can still asy they are unwinding after a hard day. It’s the same thing with tobacco ads. These images have an effect on the public psyche even more so when the young grow up seeing them.

      People have become numb, this dysfunction has become accepted as a matter of course. The truth hurts and maybe that’s why this article has fewer comments than usual-it hits home for all of us.

      • Jere says:

        I agree wholly with you…

        ive lived in a placewithout clubs, no bars and basically controlled(mostly culturally) access to alcohol…and i really think that’s one of the reasons i have met an overwhelming number of talented people here. photographers, farmers, hikers, campers, instrumentalists etc…they use their time better.
        in kenya, any socialing at least with our generation involves drinks.even our ‘activities’ involve bingeing, e.g. rally,rugby,roadtrips, camping etc.

        i don’t drink much, but i think am going to quit altogether…

  22. Kutz says:

    This is so true. I pray the intended eyes land on it :-)

  23. Wilmaa says:

    Wow!!! This is really deep…. Really really deep!

  24. Tangy says:

    wow thanks Biko…i could almost hear you speak.deep stuff

  25. Asterix says:

    Sobering. For sur,e it is not what we want to hear on a Monday morning- what with the hangies and what not. But we need to take a hard look at ourselves. It’s easy enough to look at the guys in shags on Yokozuna and think,”That can never be me.” Truth is, we are getting there, maybe not on the cheap stuff….KUDOS for the piece

  26. Asterix says:

    Sobering. For sure it is not what we want to hear on a Monday morning- what with the hangies and what not. But we need to take a hard look at ourselves. It’s easy enough to look at the guys in shags on Yokozuna and think,”That can never be me.” Truth is, we are getting there, maybe not on the cheap stuff….KUDOS for the piece

  27. OtienoHongo says:

    Quite interesting and sober. It is really difficult getting up once you have fallen into addiction and it is sad thinking about the lives of our talented buddies who have been ruined because of this. Unfortunately most of us fall into the trap of “we can handle our drinks” which really is the beginning. All said, very difficult to sit in a pub drinking fanta though…

    • A Follower says:

      Mr. O, how about venturing beyond the pub. As a community, going to the pub is one activity we don’t complain about no matter how many time we go. With excuses like ” si I took the kids out last weekend, why do they want to go again?” or any other excuse and never, “si I went to the pub yesterday, I don’t need to go again today!”

      Addiction of any kind is the great equalizer, it knows no class, race or boundaries.

      It is high time we learnt and adopted new and healthy lifestyles. Be blessed all!

  28. fuzzball says:

    Very sobering read. Great piece, should enlighten all those who think they have the excesses in check. Booze & drugs will be the end of the Kenyan populace!

  29. Kash says:

    ”Those fellows who drive down to Naivasha “for golf” even when their true handicap is not in golf but their untamed hedonism.”’…
    ‘……homes full of “imported” chicks (campus) that mill about the swimming pool, their perky breasts, yet to be persuaded by gravity and age, pushing against their flimsy bikinis while spoilt, self entitled middle-aged yuppies ogle at them with beers in their hands and the sun on their potbellies..”

    Biko, you do have a way with words…this piece is so close to home, i was getting goosebumps just reading it, i fall in the category of those who can handle their drink, makes me wonder: at what point does a person realize that they are no longer in control? Some food for thought…thanks B!

  30. muthoni says:

    Thank you Biko for this post.I felt like you were talking to me.

  31. gitts says:

    good post.
    the sad bit is that we know friends with a problem but laugh it off when we hang out with them and ignore it. I’ve seen it way too often but like the lady said they have to want to get better. if forced into it they will just be in and out of rehab. oh and a good support system is vital – not to enable but to provide another avenue of stress relief away from the bottle.
    will definitely share.

  32. Tet's says:

    Sobering post.

  33. anonymous says:

    We make excuses for our friends sadly because we see part of ourselves in them and we hate ourselves for that and sometimes if not often that is why we fail to do anything and watch our friends waste their lives away. We fear we may be in the same boat and with time we come to hate what we fear because we can’t confront it and how do we treat something we hate, we antagonise and seethe which can only lead to destruction. In the end it becomes a vicious cycle. Stay sober and try as much to help those who for their lives can’t

  34. nikittacole says:

    This is heartfelt. Quite sobering (pun?) too. My mind goes to my 5yr 3mths 3wks old son. May God help me raise him [and all the others that may come after him :-)] in such a way that we never have to sit at the reception of any rehab centre.

  35. Ian says:

    Accountability to each other about our drinking is a rare thing. We have watched our fathers drink and as we grow up , binge drinking is accepted and glorified. It kills us menfolk through prostrate cancer , diabetes , cirrhosis and various other lifestyle diseases.
    I agree with Binti Mswahili that our definition of free time needs to change. Good work , Biko!!!

  36. apotene says:

    ‘everybody lies’ Dr. House. most people who think they have their drink under control are actually under the control of their drinks. it pains me to see many people rot away cos of their drink

  37. Ndiransh says:

    I’m often railing (in my head, silently) against folk that declare your every offering to be your best yet but you really outdid yourself on this one. The topic. The writing. The works. It’s not everyday that you come across such a serious piece and you don’t want it to come to an end.

    Unfortunately, since I was dropped on my head when I was a bambino…you can’t tell nada from the kind of purse a lady carries. You can’t tell shit from the shoes a guy wears. Like really really.

    @anonymous. Abuse of alcohol is not a middle class game. You only need to walk into your local chang’aa den or switch on the news when every so often the women in Central Kenya decide enough is enough and rout drinking dens. Alcoholism is Kenya’s monkey and sadly we’re too sloshed to even notice or care about getting it off our back..

  38. The follower says:

    Great piece. The truth is alcohol is slowly crippling Kenyans.

  39. Moe says:

    We need to make this article go viral.Someone somewhere need to read this and make a life changing decision,for the better.Biko,I salute you for being candid.

  40. Bee says:

    Thanks Biko for the great piece. I will definitely share the link and hope that the people I share it with will not think I am judging them but only trying to make them think about what they will get themselves to once they won’t be able to handle their drink…

  41. wayward foe says:

    alcoholism is one of my biggest fears, i am scared of needing it not just wanting it. i am scared of having to have a drink and not just wanting to have a drink and paradoxically i am scared of being an alcoholic because it means no more drinking.

    the thing is it starts small and you can almost chart your downfall, i wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic but not many people do not at least until its too late and i think that if i just let the people around me regulate it, they can see if its too much can’t they? i ask. and i think that if i can go a week, 2 weeks, 3 and be doing ok, still laughing and smiling. if i can go into a bar where people are drinking and not drink myself then am ok.

    alcoholism is one of my worst fears i know i have the potential, i know and maybe i should just stop, but what i fear most about it is not being able to drink any more,

    so i guess am asking if they gave any pointers on regulation or things you can check to see if you are veering out of control so that its not too late?

  42. Janet says:

    Great Post Biko, completely thoughtful. Just awesome!!!!

  43. T. says:

    Just seen how far down I am in that path, let me start talking measures before things get thick. Nice read Biko.

  44. Cynthia Ogembo says:

    Thank you for this… Seeing someone you care for so much feeding themselves this disease, is like a dagger being stuck in your side everytime they are ‘wasted’, know they have a problem and don’t realise the impact it has on others, until THEY have lost EVERYTHING they hold dear to them!!!

    Unfortunately you can’t force someone to get the help that they require. They must WANT it to get better, and to become a productive individual in a society that is waiting to bring you down!!!

  45. Novia says:

    This is powerful! Thank you for sharing it. You’ve made me pause and think about my drinking for real.
    Also, to the person who said that it is a middle class problem, I would like to disagree. It is very prevalent in every class in this country.

  46. TinaK says:

    We drink because we fear who we are, who we have become and we can’t confront that reality sober. We hope that at the bottom of the bottle lies redemption, or validation, but soon we realize that at the bottom of the bottle lies nothing. That when we look at the bottom of the bottle, we will only see our bewildered reflection.

  47. Manyala says:

    Methinks people who over-do-it are either too poor (our Nyerified brothers) or those rich kids (like the one you met at the reception). Real hustlers drink but most have to stop somewhere, that place where the hustling will pick up tomorrow. I might be wrong but that is what methinks!

  48. wachera says:

    We all indeed know someone is not handling their drinks too well. Glad i switched from drinking to reading.

  49. Atom says:

    About alcohol Shakespeare wrote: “O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!”
    This post just brings that out; that and the fact that in the end we’re all accountable for the consequences of our drinking, however ‘moderate’ it may be…
    Else, great post!

  50. Mad Woman says:

    Too close to my heart this one…

  51. Project 44 says:

    A well written piece Biko, you have a way with words and life’s issues…. so relevant a piece that I felt like the title should have had an inverted exclamation mark.

    I have been made to understand that when one starts drinking as a teenager, it is difficult to stop the habit but I guess there is hope out there for those ready to embrace being ‘clean’.

  52. LM says:

    Great post Biko. Do a follow up by attending an open AA meeting. I’m 3 years sober and still an alcoholic. I was surprised to find that I can go rumba and still have a great time. At every party someone offers me alcohol and when I say I don’t drink they get shocked. They always ask why and I say i’m an alcoholic. Everyone laughs till they see i’m dead serious. I attend AA meetings and its nothing like the expensive rehabs coz you get all sorts. Alcoholism is the greatest equalizer.

  53. Wabba says:

    It is a spiritual issue! Alcoholism is real. I quit after 20 years of heavy indulgence. You can’t do it by yourself. You need to understand that you are not in control but there is one (a God of YOUR own understanding) who can redeem you. Remember it is NOT religious but spiritual!

  54. Nkirdizzle says:

    Alcoholism does not discriminate, it can affect you, me, the rich, the poor.
    I went to visit someone at a rehab in January, and the patients who were there were diverse. From a South African priest, to a young university student, to a mother of two.
    Some of them had been dragged there, like one lady whose family had to take her to the rehab with an ambulance since she caused so much fracas while being driven in the car.
    Others, like my friend, volunteered to go to the rehab.
    There was a room where previous patients had left messages to encourage other patients who go to the rehab.
    What I learnt from that visit was that for rehab to work, you must accept the fact that you have a disease, and accept help and embrace the treatment fully. There were patients who were there to just pass time till they can get access to alcohol smh.
    We have become a drinking nation sadly and alcoholism is well on the way of becoming very rampant..

  55. Teesoh says:

    Well put Biko, am actually reading this on a Tuesday morning. Nice post about how we drown ourselves in booze trying not to face reality.

  56. mufasa says:

    I read this early Monday morning….felt like i had just come from a sermon….it was a very touching piece this one…just caught me….got me thinking…got me thanking whatever fate that got me hooked to this blog…whatever got me reading you religiously….you make me laugh biko, but your writing also has a greater impact in my life than I guess you know. we are what we read, and for that I thank you for such great material….

    • bikozulu says:

      Humbling, coming from a the lion King. Thanks Mufasa.

      • mufasa says:

        “…..But the vanity of blogging is you always assume people are so idle that they would want to do nothing than to read your thoughts. That your life is so engaging and sparky that everybody would stop living theirs, albeit temporarily, and read about yours. You assume that maybe, by some wild stroke of luck, they will stumble upon some brilliant pearl of wisdom in your blog that isn’t in the bible already. That their “aha” moment will be borne in your rumblings that masquerades as fine literature…..”

        Biko Feb 28th 2010

        you were such an unbeliever…

  57. Butterscotch says:

    Biko, you have written a piece that speaks to many of us in more ways than you can imagine. All that is left to say is asante. Remarkable writing as well.

  58. James says:

    Biko I have battled with alcoholism for 5years now, on and off, I’m now 39. As i read this I have been clean for one year. Only last week i almost relapsed but i managed to come out of it, but that experience shook me so much that i called my therapist at 2am and she helped me get my head back straight. a friend of mine shared your blog last night and i have read this article about 5times, shared it with three guys i met in rehab. This article could have been writen by an alcoholic because it’s speaks directly to what we go through and what alcohol has done to us and the people we love.
    I dont know how i can describe what you have down here, the magnitude of your power. You have a gift to sway people with words, I’m not much of a reader, especially not blogs but i have been reading this blog nonstop for several hours now and im in awe.

    This is God’s gift to you and don’t squander. I still attend AA meetings and if you are interested, I can invite you to come for one and see the struggle we go through to stay clean. My email address is attached. Thank you for reminding me where I don’t want to go back to, sometimes i need it. Thanks

  59. ManBolite says:

    Wow. quite a profound piece…am sure most of us were a bit tongue tied as we recognised bits of ourselves and our lifestyles in the story…thin line between being on the “right side” and dropping of into an abyss.

    Reminder to always thank God because i think we can all fall into the same hole…one tiny sip at a time!

    Great as usual!

  60. Pinkbutterfly says:

    I have always been a lurker even though i make sure not to miss a post but this one really got me thinking about my life and that of people around me, this subject is really close to my heart and i will definitely share and i’m sure it will change someone’s life!

  61. BloodMoon says:

    BintiMswahili, you be spot on! this piece speaks in many ways, the comments in even greater ways for this liqour thing isn’t a joke. for the love of the demon drink, the elixir of the gods, we transform ourselves into beasts and unfortunately, we have the option to choose not to. but we go ahead and sip, then comes the bill. from the counter and from life, both fugures that rival phone numbers complete with area codes!

    Darn! i need a drink! and the cycle goes on….
    I am in control. or so i think….

  62. Miss Sunshine says:

    This sits too close to the heart of anyone who knows someone who is struggling with handling their drink while pretending and hiding behind a confident, arrogant front. ‘Running away from who they are because they are afraid to face what they have become’ – very true. i got some forwarding to do… Thanks for Caring, Biko.

  63. Mjuaji says:

    Great piece. I particularly like the part “The sobering truth, one that I left the facility with, is that we are dying slowly. We are all dying from booze. We are drowning in hedonism. We spend too much time in the bar washing down our lives.”. Maybe you should now visit hospitals and find out how many young men are being diagnosed with Pancreatitis and Gastritis… There is a major problem in the said age group 25 – 42

  64. Tech Man says:

    Enough said Biko you have spoken and the gang has had many of us pretend we might not be that bad but neither are we better its about time.

  65. Shiko-Msa says:

    I used to scoff at alcoholism as a problem acquired through habit. Maybe not deliberately acquired but through sheer carelessness and lack of direction. Something the concerned could just opt out of. Just stop going to the bar. Just stop buying these drinks. You know…… si you just stop. Cold turkey even. Until I witnessed a close friend’s struggle and eventual death as a direct result it.

  66. Frank says:

    Yeah, got several family and friends alike who are in this battle. Where I come from the rallying call of alcoholics is “chofi ni chofi ikekunda inbwaghe!” Booze is booze if it likes it can kill me. In the hospitality industry, alcohol has killed many careers, a lecturer in hotel school once said the bane of a hotelier is loose women, free flowing alcohol and easy money. I have had that “you have to do something about the qualtity of your work” discussion with people and 90% I have ended up parting ways with them. But then again any type of addiction is dangerous and destroys you and the people close to you; ask me am a workaholic.

  67. sgk says:

    great read. ….and so in point. ….

  68. Eh, Biko. Always on point. To say the truth, i hope my blog will one day be something remotely close to what you’ve done.

  69. Larry G. says:

    When truth is stated so bluntly it strikes at the mind like a club, inflicting knowledge on all who read it. The wisdom lies not in the words but in the reality that lurks behind them… There Lies the true terror!!

  70. MrsMwiti says:

    “…..Staring at the plastic flowers and feeling sorry for all those people who have sat in this very room and thought they were real.” :D

    All in all very sobering post.

  71. Dayvee vuvu says:

    It is one of those posts that you read on a Friday and think that your preacher came to the joint early.

  72. MzeeKijana says:

    Dear Waywardfoe :-). Some pointer are;
    1. If you experience blackouts (i.e. can’t recall previous night events.
    2. Sleep on the street after drinking.
    3. End up in jail for drinking.
    You know you have no gaols in life if you find yourself at central when your 40 hammering 4 KKs

  73. This story speaks to those that, at some point in their lives, have had alcohol sit at the bar every evening and take long sips of their souls.

  74. Asterix says:

    James, keep ur head up mate.

  75. nikittacole says:

    Just so you know Biko, some one copy pasted this post and e-mailed it to me. I don’t think it was plagiarism though. Maybe they just wanted to share a beautifully written piece and didn’t know how to paste a link. Hehehe.

  76. aaaaaw thank you Biko.wat a post i almost missed! This is post for my family my dad,my brother ,my uncles,my 2 cousins who have abused alcohol constantly in the name of ‘having fun’.will certainly share it with them.

  77. Waci says:

    I have battled with responding to this post because i did not know if to expose myself to Biko’s gang. He once described you (us) as crocodiles.. I decided i would anyway.

    You see, i do not take alcohol. I never have. Except of course in those brandy or rum ridden cakes in weddings. And i do not plan to start.

    But i have been in a position to see grown men & women battle alcoholism and drug addiction and often their many falls before the uncertain victory. I have seen it destroy families. It worries me sick how much of a drinking nation we have become. All around me all people seem to do after work is ‘catch a pint’.

    I wonder how i can help. As an outsider. I wonder who will warn Ian so that he is not a mess for Biko’s daughter.. I wonder who will talk to my son when he can no longer listen to his Ma. I do not smell of money like the lady Biko was with in the waiting room, so i best not get there.

    May God help us Kenya. Let us do our part, God will certainly do his! I trust He will.

    • Waci says:

      I meant “I wonder who will talk to my son when i will not be there to talk to him anymore”.

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