We at Wacha niKwambie were blessed to interview Chris Mwangi, a recovering drug addict, father, husband, teacher, a banker and Executive Director and founder of I am Sober Community Based Organisation. In the month of June 2019, the blog was on to an exciting series, “25 is a good age to be” where we addressed different issues that affect the youth not only in Kenya but indeed the world over. There is hope for Alcoholics and Drug Addicts if Chris’s story is something great to go by. The most inspiring thing about Chris’ story is that after his victory over alcoholism he found his purpose in life by showing the light to many others out of the dungeons of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, he runs his own organisation I am Sober Community Based Organisation a build up to his personal victory. What I found insightful in this interview is that the road of recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction is a journey and not a one stop destination. Chris can be contacted via the contacts given at the end of the interview. Thank you so much Chris for sharing your story of victory over alcoholism with the readers of Wacha niKwambieblog, Kenya. We wish you the best in your efforts as a beacon of hope for those suffering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.
Hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.
Kwambie:Who is Chris Mwangi?
Chris: Chris K. Mwangi is a recovering drug addict, a father, a husband, a teacher, a banker and the Executive Director and founder of I am Sober Community Based Organisation, whose sole objective is liberating and rehabilitating our youth from the bondages of drug and substance abuse.
Kwambie:Who or what inspires you in life?
Chris: To assist an addict rediscover him or herself and start a new beginning makes my doper mine level hit the roof.
Kwambie:When did you first begin taking alcohol?
Chris:In 1988, in Kiambiu ghetto next to Uhuru estate, Nairobi County, taking chang’aa with my friends in order to fit in.
Kwambie:Is taking alcohol a good or a bad thing?
Chris:Alcohol is not bad when taken socially but when taken in excess leads to alcoholism which is detrimental to your health.
Kwambie:When did you, your family or friends realize that your consumption of alcohol had begun getting out of control?
Chris:After I got expelled from Pumwani High school in Eastleigh, I was enrolled in Mweru Mixed High school in Mukurwe – ini, Nyeri County and things went south.
Kwambie:What compelled you to make a change?
Chris: My life was a mess, I got kicked out of the University of Nairobi during my fourth year and was now peddling bhang in the streets of Jericho Estate, Nairobi County.
Kwambie:How did alcoholism affect your life?
Chris:I got in trouble with the police, administration at educational institutions that I attended and mostly I was on a war path with my family because of stealing things at home so as to sustain my drug abuse compulsions.
Kwambie:Do you have any regrets about that period of your life?
Chris: Such is life and you cannot shut the door to your past but rather you use it as a learning experience so that you do not repeat the same mistakes that made you go down the drain.
Kwambie:When did you realize that you needed to make a change?
Chris:When I visited (or rather was taken) to Blessed Talbot Recovery Centre, Ndumberi in Kiambu County and the Director, Mr. Mwangi helped me to see that I had a problem and needed immediate help.
Kwambie:How did you begin your journey on the road to recovery?
Chris:I was at Blessed Talbot on Friday and I refused to be left behind for rehabilitation (normally every drug addict is the very last person to realise he/she has a problem) and voluntarily went back on Tuesday, March 22, 2005. This is when my journey began and I haven’t looked back since.
Kwambie:How long did it take you to recover? –Were there any challenges along the way?
Chris:I am still recovering because alcoholism is a hereditary disease ( genetic ) and one recovers one day at a time.
Kwambie:How has life been after conquering alcoholism?
Chris:As I have said again, one never ceases to recover but the feeling of not partaking of the bottle or of the joint/tablet is overwhelming. No hang overs, you think straight and on your feet, you are respected by both the young and the old and you think through what you intend to do before doing it not vice versa.
Kwambie:What advice would you give to someone or someone whose loved one is grappling with drug addiction and alcoholism?
Chris: An addict needs “tough love” and have empathy on him/her not sympathy.
Kwambie: What is I AM SOBER_ke?
Chris: (I.A.S.C.B.O.) is based in Nairobi’s Eastland’s area and has a sole objective of liberating our youth from the bondages of drug and alcohol abuse amongst other ill – mannered ways of life.
A parting shot from Chris Mwangi
Drug abuse is an equal opportunity destroyer; it is very democratic and it is a progressive, chronic and fatal disease.
To our youth – please draw your family tree and establish whether you have the dreaded Factor X so that you know if you can be addicted easily once you start using alcohol or any other drug.
I am Sober Community Based Organisation (I.A.S.C.B.O.) is based in Nairobi’s Eastland’s area and has a sole objective of liberating our youth from the bondages of drug and alcohol abuse amongst other ill – mannered ways of life. We follow strict adherence to the Alcoholic Anonymous Twelve Steps tradition which allow one to make a decisive leap of sobriety, giving all control to “The Power Greater than Ourselves” so as to redeem oneself.
We engage the youth on a one on one basis, capitalizing on their strengths as well as building up on their weaknesses. We lean heavily on God’s given gifts and talents, which we know and believe that they are the vehicles through which a better living can emanate from. So we do not re – invent the wheel but rather we service, rejuvenate and empower those who are willing to make proper use of these talents and gifts to better their tomorrow. We believe in embedding the lost self – esteem to our youth who sometimes be – little themselves and have been disenfranchised by the so called drugs of choice.
In putting our trust in ‘A Power Greater than Ourselves”, we also re-affirm that only He can be able to see us through this difficult and treacherous journey of sobriety where only the strongest of will can endure.
We thrive to give hope to the hopeless and also provide wise counsel to a better way of life through abstinence from drug and alcohol abuse. We undertake to voluntarily hold talks to the youth so that we can help them identify and work on their weaknesses as far as addiction is concerned.
To enable every addict to rediscover him or herself, so that they can be re – accepted back to society as positive and productive members.
To remove the stigma that addiction is some form of curse and let the world know that it is a disease; with signs and symptoms, probable prognosis and is not voluntary, plus it is curable. To
eradicate the notion of segregating and sideling of addicts because of their illness, but embracing and showing them ‘tough love’ in a bid to have them recover as opposed to courting and enabling them thus worsening their condition.
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com and 254 727848574 – Chris K. Mwangi
– iamsober_ke(facebook) ; iamsober_ke(twitter); iamsober_ken(Instagram)
May/June 2019 – “25 is a good age to be”