Legendary radio personality Fareed Khimani has gone public about his addiction to alcohol and drugs.
In an inspiring talk on Engage Talk, Khimani revealed that he got hooked to substance abuse while studying abroad at the University of Florida. To pay through college, he worked as a bartender, where alcohol and drugs were part of his lifestyle.
“When I graduated college, I moved to a very high-end bar in Atlanta…I was very good, I was in control, I had all the power behind the bar and even made a name for myself on the bar scene. But that’s also where I discovered cocaine. Not to party, not a drug to enjoy but a drug to cope. Cocaine helped me to get through long nights at work…I made a ton of money and I really enjoyed it,” recounted Fareed.
“It was one of the most enjoyable jobs I had but also a job that was putting me on a path of self-destruction,” he added.
The seasoned Capital FM presenter returned to Kenya in 2000 and immediately got into the limelight as a radio presenter, an environment that saw him pick up his substance abuse habit.
“Radio presenters in those days, we never paid for drinks, we were invited to the best parties and exposed to the best drugs,” recounted Fareed.
According to the 46-year-old, things started going downhill around 2016/17 when he stopped being accountable.
“I stopped working hard, I stooped being able to follow through, I couldn’t take myself to places and I couldn’t go to meetings. It was depression mixed with substance abuse and it was all falling apart,” he said.
Fareed revealed that his family began to despise him, something that prompted him to seek help. In 2018, he was admitted to a rehab in South Africa but was dealt a huge blow on the 18th day of his scheduled 28 days in rehabilitation after his wife took their kids and left him.
“It was a day (March 18th, 2018) where they called it a recovery day, they said it’s called ‘letting go and letting God’. It’s a moment in your recovery where everything kind of starts to make sense. Where you kind of see clarity and the reason you are doing this is for a greater purpose for yourself and people around you,” Khimani narrated.
“But it is also the day I walked into my counselor’s office and my private counselling session at the rehab center and she was holding a slip of paper. It was actually an email from my wife. My wife had picked the kids and moved to Switzerland on that very same day. That completely broke me,” he said, noting that he thought his stint in rehab would bring his family back together.
Fareed ended up resenting his wife and wanted to leave rehab but after hours of counseling he decided to stay and extended his sessions for another week. He eventually accepted
On the 7th of April, 2018, Fareed returned to Nairobi and walked into an empty house.
“I sat on my son’s bed and wept…I cried because I couldn’t smell my son’s hair and tell him that I loved him. I cried because I didn’t even know my four-month-old son. In fact, it’s at that very moment that I realized I had never held my four-month-old son sober.
“I had so much resentment, so much anger, so much animosity towards my now ex-wife but it was probably the wisest decision she’s ever made in hindsight, leaving me because I had put them through 10 years of hell through my active addiction,” he said.
Fareed also revealed that he relapsed after a year of sobriety but is now on track and clean for nearly two years.