By Jadini who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

It was a Thursday evening, and I had a date with my boyfriend at a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi.

Usually, I am at my best behaviour when he visits. I cook and take flowers to his apartment and make sure the place smells floral and ready for his arrival.

This Thursday evening, we had a dinner planned as it was his last night and he wanted to introduce me to his colleague.

In my lack of wisdom, I did what I don’t normally do when he’s in town.  My friends had invited me for a drink in the afternoon, and instead of turning them down, something inside of me said I could manage just one drink before dinner.

One became two and two became four. When I realised time was moving fast, I opted to take a « quick » Tequila shot, to give me a buzz and confidence. « Have one more » my friends said, so I did, not wanting to disappoint.

Shot after shot, then I looked at the time and I was already running late. I paid my bill and dashed out to make it to dinner.

Oblivious of my state, I staggered into the restaurant with my chin up, maintaining, what I felt was my regal look. As I got to the table, I kissed my boyfriend and said hello to his colleague. I was drunk! They had ordered dinner and I found myself fighting with the sweet and sour chicken with my chopsticks in an attempt to be romantic and feed my man. He was embarrassed, though I found myself very humorous and cute. I wanted to use my chopsticks which I was fumbling on but as the restaurant was full, my boyfriend indulged me so not to be even more embarrassed.

After dinner, we left. He didn’t utter a word. Got to his apartment and all I remember was crushing out! I woke up with a banging headache. My boyfriend was already awake and dressed. He looked at me, almost with disgust, I felt, and offered me tea. In the last three years of dating, he had never offered me tea as I was always the one who would wake up and make us coffee. I knew it was bad. In his culture, West African culture, women don’t get drunk. It’s shameful to get drunk and out of control. “It’s unladylike”, I had shamed him.

I appreciated his kindness but feared his silence. He kissed me goodbye and left for work.  Once I saw him enter his uber, I dashed to the kitchen, poured out my tea and looked for the wine that was always kept on the kitchen counter. I couldn’t find it! I ravaged through the cupboards, fridge, bedroom and to no avail. I felt like I was going crazy! It was then I realised, he had hidden the booze. It was then it dawned on me that I had a problem.

After leaving his apartment, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed about that evening and shame on myself. Needless to say, he left Kenya without saying goodbye. We didn’t talk for months. I was too ashamed to address that evening so I didn’t communicate. He was probably angry with me and he didn’t call. So we left it at that.

In those months, I was forced to face my truth and ask myself what it was I was hiding from. I went on a spiritual journey that started with giving up alcohol for Lent. People who I used to hang out with, told me I wouldn’t last two weeks without alcohol. I was offended then though when I look back I find it funny as that became my driving force that I needed.

In my thirty years of drinking, I had never succeeded in taking a month off to detox. Yet once I put my mind to it, I not only managed to completed my forty days of no alcohol during the month of Lent but proceeded to carry on for another sixty days. I managed one hundred days just through the power of the mind! In those one hundred days, I discovered peace, joy and happiness. I felt Inner peace, inner joy and inner happiness. I felt confident, smart, beautiful and even lost weight, which I realised alcohol contributed greatly to.

Six months later, my boyfriend got in touch and though I wanted to snob him, I decided I needed to make peace with my past. On arrival at his apartment, he took one look at me and said « something good has happened to you ». I had raised my vibration and I was the real me. Not masked in alcohol that brought me shame, low self esteem, self doubt, zero confidence. I was ME! We never spoke about that night but I acknowledged to him that I had been abusing alcohol.  We both knew I was healed.

I am now at a place of control. I drink on occasion to celebrate but I stay off more often and don’t drink just for the sake of drinking. I have filled that « drinking » time with other fun things that I have learnt to do. I have learnt to enjoy my quiet space and family time.

I realised how much time I wasted and the damage caused to me and my loved ones but that’s now all in the past.

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