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Booze: A deal with the devil

“Gacupa keza, gacupa kanjye, veux tu me laisser tranquille.” These words are more than lyrics from Masabo’s song. They address a very interesting question about the relationship people have had with alcohol since the beginning of time.

Bruno Ganza, a tall skinny looking man remembers his first drink- the real one -not the one that the adults used to let young children sip on.

He was 13 drinking with his friends because at their age they thought it was cool as everyone around them did. He started off easy like an occasional drinker; the ones that drink once in a while or when there is a social event.

In a conversation we had, Ganza confessed he kept on drinking like a normal man of his age. It had not yet become a problem since he had the control.

The now 28 year old Ganza would drink when he wanted to and he rarely did since the urge was not suffocating. Everything changed three years ago when he realized he was “making a deal with the devil.”

“Three years ago, I was going through a lot and I started using it [alcohol] as a solution when I was depressed,” he said.

He had started off by occasionally drinking, to drinking a few beers every week to drinking a lot of them. To him, it was not for fun, it was an escape.

“For some it comes as a solution to a problem, for me it was an escape and for others it is just therapy. It feels like you are benefiting from it like you are giving the bottle your problems,” he confessed.

Ganza would then start chugging bottles of cold beer every night after work. He would then mix in with a little bit of Whiskey and later add tequila in the mixture.

His relationship with alcohol became a toxic and destructive one. He knew he was getting consumed but he felt it was just his way of dealing with his problems.

Ganza thought that there is always an answer at the bottom of the bottle and that it might possibly be why most go for another one.

“It is like a solution but with a high price to pay. It is like making a deal with the devil, everything is good until he comes to collect his due,” he said with a smirk.

“No matter how many hangovers you get, no matter how many times you say you will not drink again, you always remember last night and how it made you feel,” Ganza added.

As you probably imagined, he became a slave to his ‘sweet Whiskey’. It took away part of his freedom and independence. He could not function without it and didn’t wish to do so.

“I was happy with it but I wasn’t really happy,” he said. “It [alcohol] gives you this feeling; but it makes sure you can never function without it.”

Everything soon came to rock bottom. On the day he realized that he was chugging away his life as he chugged the bottle that never emptied.

The man that was once a prodigy at work found himself the drunkard everyone wished to avoid. The man that had stable finances became the man failing to pay rent while searching for escape at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.

He lost 15 kgs in a very short period. He lost his will to live and exist; he wanted to drown in the sweet liquor that made him feel at ease.

“I could see my life, my health deteriorating and the scariest part is that I felt I should let it consume me,” he said.

It is not only Ganza but many young people in these times are facing such difficulties. A young man with an alias name of Tony started drinking from his father’s glass when he was younger. Small sips here and there.

It all spiraled when he became of the age to legally drink. He would steal money from his mom, sell his sister’s gadgets.

Tony was put into different rehabilitation centers to get help but all his father’s efforts were in vain. He had gone out of control.

“Funny that I can talk about it now. I remember how mad my sisters were when I stole their gadgets and bought bottles of liquor to share with my friends. I was raised with the knowledge that it was okay to drink. I just lost track of how much I was drinking,” He says.

This is what happens to most people; they lose track of how much and how often they drink. Like it happened to Ganza and Tony, they find themselves drinking their lives away before they even realize.

But all is not lost, the first step to heal is admitting you have a problem and seek help.

“I did not know I could ask for help. I didn’t even think I needed help,” Ganza confessed.

It is what is happening to most young people in this era. We get caught up in so many different situations. We get caught up in our life problems and we try to find solutions to the most destructive and toxic things just because we think it is temporary.

Like Ganza and Tony; many of us have to fight our demons, even if we think we do not stand a chance.

Ganza believes that many people fighting should keep their demons on the leash. In his own opinion he believes that part of recovering is making baby steps and having control.

This young recovering man says that in order to pull himself out of the pit of addiction, he had to suppress the urge of chugging a whole bottle every night in bars by controlling and monitoring how much he was consuming.

“The only way to get ahead is to control them. When you control the urge it starts to get smaller and smaller,” he said.

“Same with smoking, you have to control it. In my experience, quitting right away is not the best solution; reduction is the best. It is how I went from 8 cigarettes a day to vaping. Now, I can’t have cigarettes anymore,” Ganza added.

Even if it is not easy, some believe that you have to first get the willpower to quit, and start your journey step by step.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Jeanne Ntete, says that asking for help is an important step in order to get rid of the long lasting consequences of drugs. The expert says that quitting is not an easy process but that it is possible to those willing.

“Detoxification is a process, you start by lowering the quantity, you can also replace the substance with something else to suppress the urge. You lower the quantity and you do not strip them entirely,” Dr. Ntete said.

“If they are used to drinking nine bottles a day they can lower the quantity to five. If they are used to smoking a pack of cigarretes a day; they can lower it to half. Slowly slowly by supressing the urge they can have a chance to actually become clean again.” she added

The clinical psychologist said that habits are replaced by others and that monitoring is something crucial for those who want to quit.

“You have to be monitored and monitor yourself. You have to create other habits to replace the old ones that facilitate your addiction in the first place,” she said.

The doctor emphasized that people dealing with addiction have to be aware of their state or made aware by people in their communities. He added that recovery is a process that is not easy but ‘it is surely possible’.

Experts say addiction is handled best when you have help

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