I’m still apprehensive about doing this, but I somehow feel it’s my first step. I’m yet to find an organisation in Nigeria that caters for alcoholics. I’m sure they exist but I’m still searching.
Since my last post I have been pissed every evening. On average I have 10 cans of beer, cider and Orijin. It’s usually 3 beers, 3 ciders and 4 cans of Orijin (Currently on my sixth can). I don’t drink during the day, I usually start drinking at about 6pm and usually triggered by my need for my first cigarette of the day. When I am really bad then it’s a 75cl bottle of Famous Grouse or Red Label.
How did I start smoking? Well like most kids (I think), I looked up to adults that smoked, my father especially. He was a cool smoker in my opinion, he left the cigarette between his lips for as long as possible and only handled it when he needed to flick the ash. My dad was an unusual smoker because he rarely inhaled, he dragged on his cigarette and let the smoke out through his nostrils, I find this to be a difficult way of smoking and I’m sure most smokers do.
As a kid I would light a match stick and let it go out, and as soon as it went out I would put it in my mouth and then blow out the smoke. My dad caught me once, I put the match stick in my mouth but because my folks were home I was in a rush. I didn’t realise that my dad was behind me the whole while, unfortunately for me the match touch my tongue and before I could yelp in pain my dad said “Good for you, smoking is bad”.
As time went on, I would graduate to relighting and smoking my eldest brother’s stubs, by this time my dad had quit smoking. But this wasn’t to last long, by the age of twelve I had started to smoke occasionally while at boarding school. The preferred brand then was “Bicycle” and was a favourite of night watchmen in between taking their tobacco snuff.
I remember then not knowing that once you smoked you reeked of it so I would blow smoke into my shirt so the girls would think I was one of the “bad boys”, in reality I was a woose. Fast forward a year or two and my school allowed the cigarette brand “Target” give out free cigarettes to senior students, in hindsight this was totally irresponsible and would never have happened under our previous principal. This was the year when the “Ciga Targeti o nawa” advert came out, we ended up getting so many packets of cigarettes to last us the year (I’m sure some of the more entrepreneurial students got to flog theirs). I on the other hand smoked all mine.
This marriage between alcohol and cigarette would come to haunt me in years to come. My need to have my first cigarette seems to be an unusual alarm to have my first drink. An alarm that I deeply want to turn off for good.