Nelson Oryomi, a 25-year-old Lagos-based programmer who has overcome drug addiction. Opeyemi Adeyemi his triumphant story
You recently shared a social media post celebrating your victory over drug addiction. Was it really a serious problem for you?
Yes it was a very big problem for me.
How did your journey into drug addiction begin?
Before I started taking drugs, I was a smoker. I smoked weed before I was introduced to meth. One day four years ago a friend of mine said he would give me something that was a new kind of ‘smoke’ around the block. He told me various stories and lies.
You see, whenever these drug dealers try to get someone to start taking these things, they feed your mind with all sorts of fantasies. At first I didn’t like him so I wasn’t interested, but he was my friend and he was very persuasive. He kept coming and going and I always found myself in the same room as him. You could say it was peer pressure.
So what drug did he introduce you to?
It is called crystal meth. Some call it ice.
What was your first experience like and what made you continue with it?
No, it felt good for the first time. Every time I drank it, it stopped me from being depressed in that moment and really provided me with the comfort and help I was looking for at the time. They give you what you want right now, but positive feelings are temporary. In 2-3 hours, the bad feelings start to reappear and I go back to medication to keep it down. In fact, I even introduced myself to people because I felt like I was on top of the world.
People say drug addiction digs a hole in your pocket. How did you manage to get the money to maintain supplies?
This is actually very true. It doesn’t just dig a hole in your pocket. The drug was actually very expensive, at the time he was N6,000 for 1 gram and it only lasted no more than 5 hours. I lost jobs, contacts, contracts, and many people along the way. My job is a remote job, so every time I received a down payment for a job, I wasted it on drugs, unable to offer work or focus on what I was doing. (drag) takes your attention away from real life. I lost all my money to drugs, sold everything I owned, even my cell phone. In the process, I pretty much sold the house, and my only saving grace was that the paperwork was with her mother and she wouldn’t hand it over to me. If I had the paperwork in hand I would have sold it and now I would have been left with nothing. Before I got into this drug I had about N8m in savings but I lost it all on the drug .
Have you ever done anything weird to raise money to procure substances?
When I ran out of money, I started doing unusual things that I don’t think you do. For example, stealing people’s money just to be able to fund my drug lifestyle.
Were your family aware of all this and what did they do?
I have a mother and she really worked hard for me. When she found out that everything wasn’t right with me, she started questioning me. Some people started hinting that I was on drugs and she accused me of it. I cut off. My advisor was my enemy at that point.
As a drug addict, advisors automatically become enemies. that’s what i witnessed. Anyone who was advising me at that point was my enemy.
Did you have a particular condition that made you want to use drugs?
I resisted taking it at first, but I was having issues with my ex-girlfriend at the time, so it started when I was looking for solace. At that time, the only people I could turn to were my friends from the time I was addicted. I think that’s how they were able to penetrate me and lure me into drugs. I started taking it and the rest was history.
What exact effect did the drugs have on you? Did they make you cool, energetic, wild?
When I take it, I tend to forget everything that bothers me in that moment. This particular drug robs me of sleep for days and weeks, kills my appetite and definitely loses my ability to concentrate. Also, when I didn’t eat well as a result of my addiction, I started to lose weight and in a few months I was incredibly turned into a stranger even to myself. didn’t look like me at all. Not only does it ruin your mental health, it also causes cavities and bad breath.
At what point did you get fed up and start looking for a solution to quit?
I have a daughter, and at some point, as a loving father, I realized that I wasn’t the best daddy for her and wasn’t living the life I wanted for both of us. I think it was the love I had for my daughter that made me start to feel like I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibilities as a child and decided to stop. I couldn’t even afford to take care of her anymore. I was out of money and people were attributing my failures to my kids.
What steps did you take to quit smoking and how long did the process last?
What I did was call some friends asking for money. Some of them had already run out of money for drugs. I reached out to a friend and explained to him, but he didn’t believe I was ready to stop. I went to the park, took the bus to Ghana where I grew up, far away from drugs and friends. Even if you get the urge, you can’t travel to Nigeria. Because I didn’t have transportation to avoid talking about buying drugs. I was in Ghana for about 7 months and had no contact with anyone. Her mother was also not contacted. Some even thought I was dead. It was my self decision. It came out when it felt clean enough.
People say drug addicts tend to return to it on the right terms. How confident are you that you’ve really won the fight?
I’m sure I won the battle. I will never go back to it. I had withdrawal symptoms, but now I’ve completely overcome them. Weeds have been completely stopped. I no longer keep in touch with the friend who introduced me or the friend who introduced me to drugs.
Have you ever felt the urge to go back to it from time to time?
At that time, I made a new decision to quit. For the first few months, I was tempted to drink, but decided to take weed to quench my thirst. But today, I am completely free from meth and weed.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?
Drugs are evil and destroy lives, property, dreams and goals. A person misses a great opportunity in life.
If you could advise someone not to use drugs, what would you say?
When I try to give them advice, they won’t listen. There is no way to persuade a drug addict to quit unless you first realize that they have to quit themselves. Advising an addict is useless. It is either forced. If you happen to be a relative of one of them, it’s better to take them to rehab all together rather than advise them.
After sharing my story, many people have confided in how they want to quit, but can’t seem to quit. It’s important to look around to see people who are and how they would feel if they died. Look around and see how many people are affected.