Most of my stay in Lagos between 2003 and 2011 was amidst the tough guys. Or how do you describe my stay on Ago Palace way before I moved to Oke-Afa then Akinbaiye street, just beside Oba’s palace in Isolo from where I moved to Berliet (on the expressway to Mile 2) before I moved to Idi Araba and finally moved to Sasere inside Ilasamaja? Predominantly, these areas (like one visiting friend tried to mock me) are slums. I lived in the slums. And because I lived in the slums, I saw young chaps ingest strong substances.
From marijuana to strong whiskey and other drinks to even what I may not see but I can perceive as influencing their thoughts and behaviours. Living among those peeps really was scary to me but my ability to befriend them saved me and my family. Nonetheless, I left Lagos with an impression.
When I moved to Abuja in 2011, my profile changed. It looks to me that Abuja is the fulfilment of my vision board. This is because the exact imagination I have of my ideal environment manifested with my arrival into the FCT so I was not in the forefront of seeing lads and ladies indulge in hard substances anymore. Rather, I began to assume that the spate of abuse was non-existent in the spacious and beautiful city of Abuja. How wrong I was!
As my work expanded and my results began to manifest, I began to receive calls from quarters that indicated to me I was just being called back by the memories I left in Lagos. Not a few! Many parents who were stupefied by the behaviours of their sons; employers who liked the results of their staff but who needed them to be delivered from the curse of these substances; all these people started calling me. When we founded our radio programme called SERENITY LOUNGE, the calls exploded. More people now knew there was a source for help to arrest their own probelm.
NO CITY IS IMMUNE FROM THIS SCOURGE. DRUG INTAKE IS RAVAGING OUR LAND. AND MOST OF US PAY A BLIND EYE TO THIS. THIS ISSUE IS NOT FOR THE POOR ALONE. IT IS A UNIVERSAL CRISIS THAT CUTS ACROSS STRATA, STATUS & AGE.
I wish I had a very foolproof counsel to give, but I don’t. However, I believe in the following:
– There is need for LOCAL RESEARCH BASED RESULTS for us to identify the MOTIVATION for this hike in the intake of these substances. It is not enough to assume that it is because of economic meltdown or because of peer pressures or because of the cravings for these pleasures. We have borrowed too much foreign data to the extent that we are more confused about fixing this issue.
– There is need for affected parents to seek help. If an adult recognizes that he needs help with overcoming this addiction, then we have begun the process of recovery.
– There is need for the government across all levels to be sincere about this fight. From the ward level to the federal level, we need concerted efforts of being open, being proactive and being futuristic about this challenge. It is a great fight.
– There is need for the entire land to seek God again. God, in His infinite mercies, will touch the hearts of every addict so that they begin to see reasons why they should seek help. Our religious bodies and leaders should invest time to teach this subject in churches, mosques, shrines, etc. The more we emphasize on recovery and future impact, the better our results. The LESS we judge and castigate these addicts, the better for us all. JUDGMENT FAILS MORE THAN 90% OF THE TIME. LOVE WINS MORE THAN 100% OF THE TIME.
Ultimately, I usually like to say this: if you close your eyes to this challenge, remember that you have no control over the future of whom your child or sibling will befriend, work with or even get intimate with. Perhaps, this fight is why no addict will approach your family members and by chance, someone you saved from this scourge will save someone in your family who may have died from this scourge. We all belong to the same Source.
Samuel Babatunde Obafemi is a Therapist, Businessman and President of Sam Obafemi Behavioural Change Academy (SOBCA). He is also the Owner of #TheSerenityPlace. To connect with him, follow his daily Facebook Live or IGTV series titled #DiaryofaCoach on @sobafemi send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org