Today is the first day of my latest attempt at sobriety.
Yes, I know, it’s beginning to sound like a cracked record.
What brought it on this time?
I don’t really know. Ok, I was having a few little local problems with ladies of the night, but nothing serious enough to have triggered a relapse.
The only explanation I can come up with is the fact that I hadn’t been to an AA meeting since the morning of 29th January, despite my intentions to the contrary.
It was Wednesday night and I was out and about for a meal and some companionship, and at around 10.30 p.m. I suddenly decided I was going to have a few beers. The idea just hit me out of the blue and I knew immediately that nothing was going to stop me.
However you will all be pleased to learn that before I started on my binge, I drove home and parked my car, and then went out on foot into the Jomtien beach area, found one of my favourite watering holes and started on the beer.
I drank there for a long while, eventually moving on at around 2.30 a.m. when they started packing up the outside tables.
Then I walked back up from the beach in the direction of Theprasit Road and found some all night bars near the Hanuman Statue, on the opposite side of the road.
By this time I was on the Sangsom and soda. It must have been around 4 a.m. when I sent an sms message to my wife, Dang, and also to my friend in Cambodia who for some inexplicable reason has broken off communication with me.
In the end I bought a bottle of Sangsom with some ice and soda in a store near to my home and staggered back to my room to continue drinking.
I was still drinking at 8.30 in the morning when Dang called me. She had received my message, and called to see if I was OK. I have no recollection of what I said to her, but at about 10.30 there was a knock on my door and there she was, along with her friend and the security guard who asked me if it was OK to let them in.
Even in my very drunken sate I was flabbergasted. How did she know where I lived?
“You told me on the phone?” she informed me.
“I told you? I don’t remember telling you anything!”
“Well you did, and here we are.”
I let them in, but at least I was comforted by the fact that the security guard had intervened, and they would never be able to come in at night as the front door of the condo building is locked and can only be opened by residents with an electronic fob. She had also had to give up her ID card the guard at the front gate.
But I was still shattered that she now knows where I live. Not too smart.
I seem to have got into the habit of calling people when I am very drunk and having no recollection of my conversation. If I am not careful I might call someone and give them the passwords to my internet banking accounts.
Dang cooked some food for me and the pair of them tidied up and washed the dishes.
I told her that we had to reduce the price of the house if we wanted to sell it, and she replied that it was up to me. She told me she had a job at a hair dressing salon in Naklua and she received 40 % of the takings when on duty. She said she had not had a drink for over a month and just wanted to work to take care of her son.
They stayed for a couple of hours and then left me to get some sleep. Dang made no attempts to resurrect our relationship and she appeared completely resigned to the current situation. Like me, she just wants to get the house sold so that we can settle everything between us and move on with our lives.
I slept all day, waking at around 6 p.m. last night. I was starving, as I had eaten nothing since some scrambled eggs in the morning that Dang had cooked for me.
I was still a bit drunk, but I washed and shaved and went out, on foot, for a meal. Once I got some food inside me I decided to have a few more beers to settle my ‘shakes’.
I drank beer slowly, but steadily until 2 a.m when I walked home and had a fitful sleep.
I feel pretty good today and will try to stop again.
I believe the key to my sobriety is meetings, meetings and more meetings. I don’t know why it works but it does. Every time I stop attending AA meetings for just a few days I end up drinking again.
I WILL attend the 5 p.m. meeting today.
AZZY – MY LOVE (Part 3)
A short time after my first embarrassing and alarming encounter with STD’s I drove down to The Cabana Bamboo one evening and while seated at the bar, giving the girls the the ‘once over” , who should walk in but the beautiful girl who I had seen a month or so back with her expat boyfriend. This time she was alone.
I tried to recall her name, and eventually it came to me – Taiwo.
I smiled at her and she came came over and sat down next to me at the bar. Although I already knew her name, I asked her to tell me, and to my surprise, she didn’t say “Taiwo” but “Azima”.
“Azima?” I was told your name is Taiwo?”
She smiled at me. “Who told you that? I am Azima, but sometimes I use a different name – for fun. But you can call me Azzy.”
“Where is your boyfriend, Azzy?”
“I don’t have one”
“But I saw you with a man a few weeks ago, and my friend told me you were living with him”
“Oh you mean Mike. I don’t stay with him anymore. We had a big fight and we split up”.
My heart raced. “So you are a single lady?”
“Why you want to know?”
“Why do you think?”
One thing led to another and that night Azzy came to stay with me at my apartment. This was the start of my first, long term, ‘live-in’ relationship with a woman.
As mentioned earlier, Azzy was a very beautiful lady. She could have easily passed as a model; she was slim but with a lovely, curvy figure, and her face was truly statuesque. She also had a great dress sense, and always dressed ‘to kill’ and would turn the heads of every man when she entered a room.
We hit if off on the romantic front from day one and I believe she genuinely enjoyed being with me, although it wasn’t long before what was to become the ‘familiar’ side of all my women started to come to the fore. She became ever louder and ‘bossier’ and within a short while she had me completely under her proverbial thumb.
Azzi’s parents lived in Lagos and she often took me with her when she visited them. Her mother was a Christian and her father was a muslin but in those days there was no Muslim fundamentalism, and the people from the two faiths lived happily and in harmony with one another.
Azzy was from the Yuroba tribe, the predominant tribe in Lagos, and she was even related to Yoruba royalty, some of whom we went to visit from time to time.
But although beautiful, Azzy could be big trouble. Like so many Africans, she was very hot-blooded and had a violent temper.
We would have frequent fights over totally inconsequential matters – often Azzy would be jealous when I so much as looked at another woman – and she would storm out of the apartment and go back to her parents’ house.
I was totally besotted with her, and I would follow her to her parents’ home where I would solicit Azzi’s Mum and Dad’s help in persuading her to come back with me. On occasion I would have to beg and plead virtually all night before she would finally relent and agree to return with me.
This sort of behaviour wasn’t exactly conducive to me performing my work properly at the office after emotional and sleepless nights.
When Azzi wasn’t fighting me, she was fighting anyone who she perceived had insulted her in some way. She would think nothing about getting into physical confrontations with other women, and even men. I was forever trying to drag her away from potentially violent situations.
I had been in Nigeria for about six months when a “Cease Fire” was signed between the rebels and the Federal forces, and the civil war came to an end.
The rebels had had been starved into surrender. The secessionist region known as Biafra, had been cut off from the rest of Nigeria and the rebel population had ran out of food and fuel and other essential supplies.
The kids were badly malnourished and many were dying on the streets so the Ibos reluctantly called time on their desperate fight for independence.
One day, soon after peace had come to the country, I was called into my boss’s office and was told that I had to make a trip down to Port Harcourt, by road. Port Harcourt was the major town in the heart of former Biafra, where all the oil companies were located. I was to take a car-load of supplies and files for the Port Harcourt office in my battered old station wagon, and I would be accompanied by one of the company’s senior Nigerian employees.
He was Daniel Ito, an Ibo who had managed to escape to Lagos during the civil war, and was now returning to the ex rebel area to help get our oil operation up and running once again.
I was due to spend a month or so in Port Harcourt, before returning to Lagos, and with some misgivings I broke the news to Azi that we would have to be apart for a while. At that time,when I considered our ever worsening stormy relationship, it seemed that it wasn’t such a bad idea for us to be apart for a while.
Azzi was none too impressed and accused me of deliberately leaving her behind because I had a new girl friend I would be taking with me. It was nonsense, and there was no way she could go with me, but she continued to provoke fights with me until the day I left with Daniel Ito.
My journey by road from Lagos to Port Harcourt, a distance of over 350 miles over horrendously pot holed roads which were also littered with huge bomb craters, is a trip that is indelibly etched in my memory.
In addition to having to drive along virtually unnavigable roads, we also had to face the challenging prospect of crossing the huge Niger River, as the road bridge had been blown up by Federal forces, several months earlier.
It was an adventure indeed.