“I DO not like what is happening to me. I am feeling like a mentally challenged person. I also desire to be my mother’s pride, but this drug addiction is taking a toll on me. I haven’t given up hope, I will continue pushing hard until I am free from this bondage.”
These were the words of Wonder Takayedzwa (27) who has been struggling with crystal meth (mutoriro) addiction.
“Everything started as a joke. It was just for fun, but now I can’t quit taking the drugs. I don’t like everything that is happening in my life. Things took a dramatic twist when I was in Harare as the consumption of the drugs worsened.
“To some people, I appear like a lunatic, but I also yearn to be gainful employed like my peers. I am trying hard to stop this life-threatening habit, but it is proving to be an uphill struggle for me. I must confess that I took mutoriro two days ago,” he said in a recent interview.
Although Wonder recently underwent rehabilitation, the addiction is eating his mother away as her last born son is no longer the boy who used to provide for her.
Wonder is also relapsing into the dangerous habit.
Gogo Selina Matika’s prayer is to see Wonder being his old self, free from the drugs bondage.
In an interview, Gogo Matika poured her heart out on how Wonder’s drug addiction had changed him into a social outcast.
“He started taking drugs five years ago while working at Sakubva Musika where we was a potato vendor. He met a friend, Pardon who was already an addict. Unfortunately, Pardon recently died in Chiadzwa where he was illegally panning for diamonds.
“What pains me most is that Wonder is my last born and is now a pale shadow of his former self. During his formative years, he was a darling of most people in Chisamba Section of Sakubva where he grew up. He would assist the less privileged members of the society.
“Besides his young age, he would do everything to bring a smile on my face as widow. Three years ago he was playing professional football for a Masvingo-based team. He would make sure that he gave me almost half of his salary for my upkeep. I have some orphans that I stay with at my Sakubva residence and he would buy them shoes from his little earnings. Such a kind boy he was, but this is now history because of the drugs,” said Gogo Matika.
Wonder recently relocated to Harare on a job hunting mission, but the worst nightmare was in store for the family.
Wonder hooked up with wrong company and he took his drug taking to another level.
“While Wonder was in Harare, I received a call from a relative, saying Wonder was not feeling well. I travelled to Harare to assess the situation. To my shock, my son appeared to be a mental patient.
“At first I thought it was a spiritual attack. I thought my enemies were at war with me. I visited many apostolic shrines in search of a miracle. All I wanted was my son to be well again. We lost a lot of money, only to be told that he is now a drug addict by one of his friends.
“The friend told me that Wonder had befriended another drug addict who was in the habit of assaulting and insulting his parents. I heard Wonder was taking bronclear and crystal meth and it was bitter pill for me to swallow,” she said.
Gogo Matika and her other children had to raise money to send Wonder for rehabilitation in Harare.
She said despite their efforts to rehabilitate Wonder, he of late, has been relapsing.
“We spent quiet a fortune to have him rehabilitated in Harare. He came back a better person after the rehabilitation, but suddenly he has changed. He is always indoors. When he craves for the drugs, he just takes anything that he feels can be sold and leaves the house.
“I am losing my property. Recently he took my African attire cloth that I had bought together with my daughter so that we could have matching outfits and sold it. He later came back home while stone drunk,” she said as she struggles to contain her emotions.
She added: “If I try to reprimand him, he says he is the man of the house. He feels that since my husband passed away, it means he can do whatever he wants. His sisters and brothers have tried to caution him, but he tells them off.”
Gogo Matika said her prayer is to see her son being normal again.
“I was left with no option, but to apply for a protection order against my son. His age-mates are working and others are already married with children. I also want my child to have children, but all hope is almost lost. I want him to leave my house. He should now look for a job and be independent,” said Gogo Matika.
Studies reflect that about 40 to 60 percent of drug addicts relapse within 30 days of leaving an inpatient drug treatment centre and more than 85 percent relapse and return to drug use within the year following treatment.
Researchers estimate that more than two-thirds of individuals in recovery relapse within weeks to months of beginning addiction treatment.
Mutare-based health practitioner, Dr Tendai Zuze said rehabilitation goes hand in hand with one’s full commitment to stopping taking drugs as the road to quitting drugs is hard.
He said if addicts are forced to quit them, they might end up relapsing.
He said drug consumption is very dangerous, especially crystal meth as it can cause a raise in blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, tremors and convulsions. If consumed in excess, one can die.
“Each person’s experience of addiction and substance misuse varies and therefore each individual will have their own set of strengths and fallbacks as they try to commit themselves to a life free from drugs, alcohol or other addictive behaviours.
“However, everyone can expect to face cravings from time-to-time while on the treatment. It should be noted that it is not uncommon for individuals in addiction recovery to experience a form of relapse at some point while recovering, but it is one’s commitment that sails them through the process at the end of the day,” he said.
Dr Zuze also said the right way to quit taking drugs is to go under rehabilitation where one goes undergoes programmes that deprive them of the drugs until the programme is effective.
“The social impact of the drugs is that they cause neglect where one exposes him or herself to STIs and HIV. They end up doing anything to get money so that they could gratify their addiction,” said Dr Zuze. – Manica Post