Me, drugs, peers and pressure.

by Tafadzwa Bandera, Cosmo City.
I grew up in a very affluent suburb of Fourways. I had everything.
When my parents divorced, drugs helped me with the trauma that came with
that. I started doing drugs when l was 16 with my two friends,
Jeremiah and Lazarus. We were the same age.
One rainy day, Jeremiah stopped  by with a plastic of crystal meth. It
was love at first sight. I inhaled it into my nose through a straw and
something happened in my head. Was it pain or dizziness? I can’t
recall but all l know is it was great feeling that made me a brand new
person. In reality it was a false sense of happiness, confidence and
energy. Jeremiah taught me to use meth in different ways. I swallowed,
snorted, smoked and slammed it. To be frank l didn’t want to but l had
to please my friends.
I couldn’t go an hour without meth, after a few weeks l was an addict.
I was staying with my mom, but she was too busy to notice what l was
doing because most of the time she would stay at her boyfriend’s
apartment. My mother loved her boyfriend to the extent that she was
oblivious.
There are no words in the dictionary that can explain how l fell in
love with drugs. The thing with one drug is that it open the door of
curiosity to other drugs. We abused heroine, cocaine, meth and
whoonga. If you ask which one was my favourite. I would say they were
all within my favouritism but l would choose meth because it was my
first love. I started to steal so that l could feed my addiction. I
stole my mom’s expensive  jewellery. I stole from family, friends and
community members. We would do anything to get drugs.
What matters to me and my friends was to get high, being considerate
did not exist in our vocabulary and actions. It was all about us and
our addiction. While l was doing that l broke the hearts of the people
who loved me and l love but l was too blind. Did l tell you about
school? We dropped out of school. Why? Because l and my friends were
unruly.  We didn’t follow instructions at school. We were violent and
disrespecting.
Things went from bad to worse. We became friends with prostitutes who
traded sex for drugs. I had seoral and anal) without condoms and
shared needles when injecting drugs. we were always with drugs so
prostitutes liked us a lot, therefore, brothels became my second home.
The thing with addiction is that you turn to neglect other aspects of
life like work, school, relationships, focus and even food can all
suffer in the name drugs. I didn’t have time to eat. I had no
appetite. My health deteriorated. I was not only skinny. I had tooth
decay and hair loss. People started to call me Mosquito.
The month of November and December 2012, was our worst month. We did
not have the money to buy drugs to feed our habit. The drug dealer
agreed to give us the drugs on credit, thanks to Lazarus who had
connections with him. After some weeks, the drug dealer was not happy.
We tried this and that to pay off the debt but we could not. We
started to avoid the drug dealer and went to another dealer. We
ignored his calls and debt. What we didn’t know was that we were
playing with fire.
On Christmas day, while we were relaxing at the brothel. The drug
dealer and his friends came into our room. Seeing them made us numb.
“Give me my money” the drug dealer said loudly.
We remained silent. Lazarus was sitting in the corner shivering.He
knew the drug dealer was heartless and dangerous. After some seconds.
Lazarus stood up to apologize but before we knew it. It was bang!
bang! bang! He was gunned down in front of us. My friend was only 20.
Losing Lazarus was very hard for me and Jeremiah. His death left us
confused and depressed. It was the classic “its like a knife twisting
inside of me” feeling. Lazarus beside being an addict he had an
amazing sense of humour and taught me to share with others.
The death of Lazarus made me realise that life is really precious and
it can end at any moment so one has to live positively. Jeremiah
concurred with me.
After mourning our friend. We went to a psychiatric program. It was a
powerful 30 day treatment. It was not easy, but recovery is the best
thing that’s ever happened to me. I know in my heart that if l had
continued abusing drugs l would be dead. What l have learnt is that
drugs make you feel like you are in heaven but you will be in
hell. They also destroy your life and hurt the people around you. Drugs
 especially cocaine, increases one’s sexual arousal and the risk of
getting or transmitting others sexually transmitted diseases.. I slept
with more than 25 prostitutes without protection. I thank God l did
not get H.I.V/AIDS.
Fast forward, Today l work as an accountant for a big bank. I live
with my wife and two kids in Randburg.  I have a great relationship with my mom. Jeremiah is now a teacher and based in Capetown .We are still good friends. I thank God for everything. To
the parents all l can say is watch what your kids are doing, their
friends and know where they spend most of their time. Drugs live
around us and the people who sell them are people around us.
To young people l just want to say don’t go along to get  along,
choose your friends wisely. Be friends with people who can charge your
battery not those who drain it. Life is what you make it, if you don’t
make it no one will make it for you. Stay away from drugs and focus on
school or your talent. As long as you are focused blessings will
appear. You are future leaders, act, think and do like future leaders.
Strength in all you do.

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