I used to drink my urine daily to cope with alcohol cravings

Patrick Maina. [Jael Musumba]

Patrick Maina is a reformed alcohol addict whose life took a dangerous turn. From his multi-million shilling company being auctioned to drinking his own urine, he shares his story of the journey to recovery. 

Tell us about yourself.

Professionally, I am a publisher. I expanded into printing in 2001 and secured significant contracts. Despite the income, I lived modestly. I had a wife but lived in a single room in Kawangware and drove a Toyota Tacoma. In 2008, during the post-election violence, I moved to my unfinished structure in Donholm and temporarily relocated my family to Nakuru.While in Donholm, I used to watch the news at a bar at the estate’s shopping centre. I could step in, take a soda, order food then leave.

One day I found the place was full and I was compelled to share a table with three other guys. As usual, I ordered my soda but my table mates convinced me to try beer. They ordered for some. At first, I did not like the taste but the following day I was introduced to whiskey, which flipped my lifestyle. I started drinking, which soon led to alcoholism.

What happened?

Drinking became a regular occurrence.  When my wife came back to Nairobi, she did not notice anything amiss. But one evening, I indulged to the point of blackout. Fortunately, my friends searched until they found my house. When they dropped me off, my wife was taken aback. I was unrecognisable. She even suspected I was ill but my friends told her I was inebriated. Unable to process this, she took off. I woke up in the morning and found her gone.

Did you get her back?

Yes, eventually. But thereafter, I found myself struggling with alcohol dependency. Months later, I was deeply entrenched in it, losing interest in matters related to the church. Within a year, I had become an addict, unable to function without alcohol. This led to the collapse of my business as my alcoholism drove away clients, eventually resulting in auctions to settle debts. Over Sh7 million worth of machinery was auctioned due to unpaid loans. Losing my company over a manageable financial issue was a harsh wake-up call. From then on, my life spiraled into the depths of alcoholism. I reached a point where I resorted to drinking my own urine at night to stave off withdrawal symptoms until morning when I could acquire more alcohol. I even resorted to cleaning bar dens in exchange for leftover alcohol.

So how did your change come?

I sought help and entered a rehab center in 2017. I managed to stay sober for over seven months before experiencing a relapse. Then, in 2020, tragedy struck when my sister passed away. I was entrusted with the responsibility of being the master of ceremonies during her funeral. Despite all the planning going smoothly, I succumbed to the temptation of alcohol the night before the funeral.

The next morning, still intoxicated, I continued drinking. By the time I regained some clarity, it was already noon. I rushed to the Langata cemetery, where the burial was scheduled. However I arrived only to find my sister’s burial had concluded, deeply impacting me.

Before I could fully recover from this, my wife was involved in a serious accident, requiring urgent financial assistance which I couldn’t provide. I regrettably turned back to my old friend, alcohol, who didn’t disappoint but warned me this would be the last time he’d support me. This warning sparked a strong desire for change.

Did you stop drinking?

Yes, the moment we parted ways, it marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. It has been two and a half years since I’ve been alcohol-free. I’m now focused on rebuilding my company and have initiated a programme called “Daima bila kileo” (Always without alcohol). I visit clubs to educate both the young and old about the detrimental effects of alcohol.


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