My Story: Alcoholism Robbed Me of Everything, Now I Run Rehab Centre

September 25, 2023

After losing his job, David Irungu had no choice but to return to his father’s village in Muranga with his three young children. There, his father, a retired primary school headmaster, provided them with shelter.

David shares his harrowing battle with alcoholism in a conversation with Silas Nyamweya for the Nairobian.

Briefly introduce yourself.

I am a 65-year-old family man from Murang’a County, a reformed addict, and one of Savali Rehab Centre’s proprietors.

 You were an addict for nearly three decades. How did this affect your life?

It was a painful experience because I remember losing very lucrative government jobs in Nairobi because of the addiction problem.  My employers could not keep up with my addiction problem, so they had to release me.  I became a nuisance to society and my family members. When I got sacked, I had no other option but to take my family, consisting of my three young children, back to the village in Muranga.

My children were the greatest victims of this debacle since, to them, I was an absentee father who not only had time for them but could not provide for them in any way.

It is also good to know that when someone is a drinker, he or she loses a lot of values, including humility, honesty, patience, compassion, love, and other human values. This meant I had to rebuild my life from scratch to become average when I regained my senses.

 Were you married when you were going through an addiction problem?

Yes, I can admit that it was really difficult to get a wife because no lady would wish to be associated with a man whose only business is to drink alcohol with no future.  However, luckily, I got a woman who also had a similar problem to me, that is, alcohol addiction and our chemistry was so good that we opted to move in as husband and wife. Despite her drinking problem, she always strived to be a caring woman. Sadly, she left us and went to be with the Lord in 2021.

 How could you care for your children, considering you and your wife were alcoholics?

I thank God I had a very considerate father, a former primary school headmaster.  He offered to care for my family, including taking them to school. He was open and willing to help my family based on my situation.

 Tell us about your struggles in overcoming this addiction problem. How did you eventually come out of it?

When my family saw that my problem was worsening by the day, they combined efforts, sat me down, and made sense of the need to attend rehab. I accepted to join a rehab centre, and after six months, I became a reformed man, free from alcohol addiction.

 What are you doing to sensitize those in a similar problem as you were in?

I co-founded Savali Rehabilitation Center with my son, a reformed addict, to help rehabilitate those in dire situations. Our rehabilitation process also entails spiritual therapy, where God is the centre of everything.

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