Today a mother came with her son, number 6 of 7 children. Strong catholics. "He wants to stop drinking', the mother said. "Oh. Really?" I asked the son, he too was called Emanuel. "You are ready to stop drinking?"
"No", said Emanuel, "drink is good for me."
"Oh okay. So why did you come?"
"It is my mother, she wants me to stop."
"And you dont? Its good for you? How?"
"It makes me feel better."
"So how do you feel when you don't drink?"
"Sad, very sad."
"And the drink takes the sadness away?"
"So it is like a painkiller?"
I have never heard such honest straight talk. Ema self-medicates his sadness which sounds like a severe depression.
I explain the mother that Ema cannot be forced to kick off, it needs to be his own decision.
That maybe a visit to mental health in the hospital could help him, i could give him a note. "Depression is a disease, mamma, and addiction too. Your boy suffers from two diseases" The mother wept and the son looked angry and worried at his mothers tears. I wept too. Powerless.
The rest of the story was that the mother had already taken him to a priest, a a prayerhealer, a fetishpriest and to mental hospital Accra. There at the hospital he had stopped drinking but the day he was discharged he took up his old habit again. He himself said to me "because the sadness in my soul was too heavy for me. "
Ema is no fool. No addict is a fool. Ema's drink chases the demons of depression away, at least till the next morning, when they return twice as strong. He will not stop till he has found a way to face the pain.
What i received today is the privilage to witness a strong and quiet motherlove and a kid who did not tell lies.