By MAGDALENE WANJA

Recovering from any form of addiction can be tough. Without concerted efforts and support, it gets even tougher to overcome addictions such as drug addiction.

25-year-old Tony Kibet is a recovering drug addict. He struggled with addiction for two years before seeking help from rehabilitation centre in Limuru.

He started taking alcohol in 2010 at the age of 17. He had just joined Utalii College to pursue a course in hotel management. His parents had high expectations for their son whom they had raised with strong Christian values.

Catching up with the new lifestyle in college included making new friends. Friends who introduced him to the high life of reckless partying. After abusing alcohol for a while, he gradually moved to hard drugs.

“I preferred marijuana and alcohol but would occasionally use other narcotic substances when I was with friends.”

In 2012, Kibet started showing signs of chemical dependency. He became violent. Anyone who tried to talk to him about changing his ways was met with hostility.

Efforts by family and friends to reach out to him were futile. He was in a world of his own. A hazy drug-induced life whose reality had not dawned on him yet.

Kibet was in denial. He had no idea of how firm a grip drug addiction had on him.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

In September 2012, his parents managed to get him into a rehabilitation centre where he received treatment for three months.

“When I left rehab in December, I had mixed emotions over the new life that I was about to embark on. A drug free life. Drinking was my solution to everything. When distressed or depressed, I would drink to forget my troubles. When discouraged, I would drink to boost my self-esteem. Moreover, if I had reason to celebrate, I would do it with a bottle of alcohol. How then was I supposed to handle my emotions or even live day to day life without my drug of choice?”

After rehabilitation, he decided to take a different career path hoping for a total turn-around. He enrolled at Daystar University for a Diploma course in communication.

“I did not go back to finalise my course. I felt it would take me back to addiction because the nature of the hospitality industry exposes one to a lot of alcohol.”

Kibet has been sober for five years now.

Kibet has been sober for five years now. PHOTO | COURTESY

GIVING BACK

In 2013, he embarked on a music career.

“I was faced by immense challenges in the music industry. These almost jeopardised my sobriety. I was nearly falling back into major depression. My family stood by me and supported me all through.”

In 2017, Kibet produced Road to Recovery, a documentary based on his personal life.

This also led to the founding of an outreach programme called Triumph Ministry. It reaches out to recovering addicts to give them support such counselling, outreach through visiting of rehabilitation and treatment centers, team building and research. During their weekly meetings, Kibet often shares his personal story of overcoming addiction so as to motivate other recovering addicts.

“Triumph Ministry was launched in partnership with CITAM Urban Missions with the aim of helping recovering drug addicts. CITAM Missions Head Office funds our meetings and facilitates weekly support-group meetings. We however appeal to potential donors and partners to help us do more outreach.”

The programme has helped more than 200 people, mainly youth, since its launch in November 2017.

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