True confession: My name is Adaobi Okwy and I’m a recovering addict… (READ)

by Adaobi Okwy

Adaobi-Okwy-Superbloggers2

 

I don’t have excuses. I should stop. I know. And I know too that many people may turn their noses at me and think, “what’s the biggie?” My story isn’t for everyone. It is for those who like myself, know the struggle and are committed to triumph and to them I say- let’s keep on going.

“Everyone is addicted to something”, or so, psychologists make us believe. Be it sex, drugs, lies, porn…we all have a habit. For a recovering (and I use “recovering” very loosely), addict like myself, this is more than a cliché. This is real life. A real struggle and today, I have some confessions for you all, in the hope that my struggles might help someone out there.

Hello everyone, my name is Adaobi Okwy and I am an addict… I am addicted to clay.

Now, before everyone groans about how eating clay is normal and how their mom/aunts/villagers eat clay, I want to be clear…I can eat 25kg weight of clay in a day and half. Now, go ahead and still say that’s okay. Some people call it Pica which simply means an addiction to eating dirt (and a definition I find terribly offensive).  But…whatever. Here are my confessions:

– Every addiction begins with a first “try”. No one taught me to eat clay. In fact, I first started by experimenting with nature. I danced naked in the rain- just because. I tasted grasses- just because. And I ate clay…just because. I have always being one to see something that seems potentially crazy and just think, “why not?” And, every addict I know- porn, sex, tobacco…has always told me, “at first, it was just for fun!” I have not known someone who got addicted to anything on a first try. However, factors like boredom, peer pressure, the desire to recreate the first time feeling, could act as triggers for your second, third and then…bam, you’re an addict!

– The cravings sneak up on you. And you have to satisfy it! I remember waking up in the middle of the night and chewing on my fingers because my body needed clay and I had none available. Now, picture that. My body needed clay so much it woke me up in the middle of the night, to demand it. I eventually went to bed but, not before vowing to never ever run out of clay for as long as I lived.

– Yes, there are triggers. When am annoyed, nervous, bored or think my morale is low, I reach for clay. Even after a beautiful meal, what makes me feel better is to clean my palette with clay. Every habit has a trigger and many fail to understand this. In some churches you hear them say, “stop smoking”, “stop drinking, “stop watching porn”. They sound really easy and we frown at smokers and alcoholics because- how hard can it possibly be? Ah, ladies and gentlemen, for many addicts, it is as hard as changing an entire lifestyle. Take an alcoholic for example. How many shops and bars surround the average person? Take me for example, do you know how many times I get annoyed or stressed out over something in a day? Annoyance and stress being triggers? Yes, quitting is that hard because, to overcome an addiction, you need another positive addiction to overcome it.

– You get defensive when people find out. When I hunted and packed up a lot of clay from a freshly dug well, my mum and siblings started suspecting that all wasn’t well with me anymore. But I was ready for them. There was the internet and Google…and I knew how to use them. I showed them various materials on the goodness of eating clay. Yes, there are articles that clay contains lead and mercury and other impurities but, there were equally many others that discounted all of those too. You see, many people have access to the internet and no matter what you’re looking for, you most likely will find it there. (Side note, just try googling, “is fan breeze healthy?”)

– Quitting is the most difficult battle of your life. Remember when I talked of triggers? So far, I struggle everyday because, there’s just nothing gripping my palette for an extended time period. I have had terrible life threatening medical emergencies because of my addiction but, I cannot honestly tell you that I will never again eat clay. (In fact, now, I am skilled at hiding my clay stash as my family members will fight me to take it away from me. So, addicts are solid with secrets and safe places). For me, it is a daily struggle. Some months, am clean as a whistle but other months, am so deep in clay, you could build an impressive palace of clay with the contents of my stomach. I sincerely want to stay away from clay forever. I have prayed, I have had people fine me, I have given up stuffs…but, I have often failed. But, I believe not trying is worse.

I don’t have excuses. I should stop. I know. And I know too that many people may turn their noses at me and think, “what’s the biggie?” My story isn’t for everyone. It is for those who like myself, know the struggle and are committed to triumph and to them I say- let’s keep on going.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (2)

  1. For u to have made this confession’ it’s obvious u don’t want to continue with it; I strongly suggest u turn over to Jesus and sincerely ask Him for d grace to overcome that habit bcos he loves u so much no matter what u have done.

  2. For u to have made this confession’ it’s obvious u don’t want to continue with it; I strongly suggest u turn over to Jesus and sincerely ask Him for d grace to overcome that habit NCOs he loves so much no matter what u have done.

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