I remember I cried so much when he went away. I felt like someone so special to me has gone missing. The connection we had was true. Best Friends for life. It wasn’t easy for me to handle. He had promised me that he will only stay two weeks and then he comes back.
Rehab was not easy for him, new faces, new environment, no phone, no alcohol, no cigarettes, just him and a bunch of addicts. Simon did not go to rehab because he was addicted to alcohol or drugs. He went because his parents thought it was best for him. Because of the incident that had happened. He was depressed. They felt it would be safe for him.
I asked myself why dint they think of taking him to Kiambu, to stay with his grandparents? Or take him for vacation somewhere else? Why Rehab? But I realized that depression is disease. You can hurt yourself if not taken care of, if not watched. They had to make a bold decision.
He was in the same rehab as Waihiga, Shuga actress, model, radio presenter and a writer. She also shared her experience in rehab on her blog. She said, ‘Rehab was no walk in the park. Far from it. If you’ve ever been in rehab, you can relate, one never knew what to expect.’ She described the schedule they had to follow like ‘inmates’. There were different phases in the rehab. Each phase dealt with different issues that they had to master before they could be promoted to the next level. Each phase lasted a minimum of one month, after which one was eligible to move to the next one.
Phase one: Introduction, acceptance and acknowledgement that you are an addict. You identify yourself as an addict at all times and work through the first three phases of the 12 steps. You confess that you needed a higher power to change, then finally make a decision to change.
Phase Two:This phase focused on digging deep to find out the reasons why they behaved they way they did and why they fell prey to addiction. This phase was hard on most of the ‘inmates’ as they had to be approved by the counselor on to the next step. The approval was how much have you’ve opened up your closet skeletons. If one was not genuine about their struggles, they simply would not be moved to the next phase. They were convinced to make amends with people they hard harmed, if possible. If the wrongs they had done to others were so bad that it might lead to violence.
Phase Three: The final phase taught them how to reconcile with the people they had harmed. They talked about the short term and long term goals; questioned on how they intended to maintain their new life; one of sobriety and positive and they were given tips on how to reintegrate back into the society.
I remember after two weeks, his parents went to visit him. He called me, I thought he would be coming but he wasn’t allowed to.It was too early. He stayed in for 5 weeks. The longest weeks of his life. He told me how they shaved his hair, he was given drugs to swallow every hour. ‘Why are they giving you drugs?’ I asked him. He said, the drugs helps one to sustain his/her hormones so that there was no sexual intercourse. He had made friends, who kept his insanity normal. At least he was able to laugh and keep busy. Sometimes it was fun and sometimes he was homesick. They woke up at 5 am; as everyone had responsibilities to work on; cooking, washing up, cleaning the place. They had prayer classes, preaching classes and he told me how there were punishments when you don’t follow the rules.Rules like being found privately chitchatting with a girl or kissing another girl. Your days were added. He felt he was in a prison. His every move was being watched. He had missed his bed, his siblings, eating home cooked food. He wanted to get out.
On the second visit after another two weeks, he told his parents how he wants to get out of those walls. It wasn’t helping much as he expected. The drugs were doing something to him. Then after 5 weeks, he was out. He was hell happy. The first thing he did was to look for me.
Simon had lost so much weight. He looked like someone was scraping off his skin. His cheeks bones could be seen, his eyes so deep into their sockets and he had this weird walk, his shoulders bent forward, he would drag his feet like an old man. He looked scared of life. When he left rehab, Simon was given some drugs to keep swallowing when he was home to keep him away from alcohol. I assumed that. But it was like all the time he was taking this drugs, in rehab, he became addicted to them. If he did not take them, he would shake and drool as he spoke. And when he tried to drink alcohol, the shaking was worse. He would sweat all the time, whether rain or shine, he was slow when walking, slow to listening and slow when talking. He started stammering and he always preferred to keep to himself. He was a different person. But if he took these pills as prescribed, he would go back to being normal.
No shaking, no drooling. Talking was proper.
I advised him not to keep taking those medicines and we threw them away. Weirdly, his friends that came out of rehab, had the same problem with the drugs. With time he came back to himself and was able to go to work.
Going to rehab,for those 5 weeks must have done something to him. He met different people with different stories and he saw he was not meant to be there in the first place. His problems were not as big as compared to his friends.
Simon walked out of the rehab as a changed man. I was always there for him and I know I made him strong, I motivate him and encourage him. Am strong at heart and it’s not easy for people to get to me. I know am the best partner for him.
Written by Doreen Eshinali