HEALING OUR 'RAIN MAKER'
by Charles Oputa
The worst thing we can do is stand and watch when we see someone struggling in agony, especially when their pain is self inflicted.
Many of us remember Majek Fashek.
A multi-talented artist of international repute whose hit rendition "Send Down The Rain" still does exactly that anytime it is played: sending the shivers down our spines. It used to be my favorite song from his album and till today, I can sing his lyrics many years after.
He brewed that song right in my studio in Oguta, in the seven months he spent with me there as an in-house producer.
It is no longer news that the rain maker is a sorry shadow of himself plagued by issues larger than his self-discipline.
I remember this very handsome man with a good heart and it's no surprise that we had worked together a long time ago at the start of his beautiful but truncated music career. He was so promising, so full of dreams that it breaks my heart to see him so degenerated and entirely disconnected.
Looking at him now, I say to myself, it could have been me or any of us.
It has been a very bumpy ride to my present location and the success attained so far. Everyone knows by now that I had a very turbulent teenage life; the spirit of adventurism, curiosity and trying everything nearly led me to self-destruct and to very dark places.
I experimented with drugs quite early, but seeing what it did to my relatives, friends and the people I had loved from afar, I knew it wasn't for me. It was only by His grace that I freed myself from the calamity waiting to happen.
Yes, my guys, I have been there, done that, seen that and I have finally decided to pursue a cleaner life style. I have my strong Christian background to be thankful to, my new found Buddhism to appreciate for the discipline I have learnt over the years. While you may give me a standing ovation for walking through that long dark tunnel and coming out unscathed, I thank God for His mercies, and pat myself on the back for the willpower to fight all the negatives I was once involved with.
Some of us are not so lucky to imbibe self discipline for things that are destructive to us, but then, that doesn't necessarily make those of us better human beings for being able to!
It is therapeutic for me to share a little bit of myself with you, not just as Charlyboy, but as a friend, a big brother, a mentor to many and also as someone who remains passionately committed to sharing with people my own life lessons with the intent of re-activating in them the power of tenacity, focus, consistency and above all, a belief in self.
Yesooooo I experimented/struggled with substance abuse myself, and I'm proud and happy to say that I have remained clean for the past 35 years. Now if I can do it, many of you out there can!
Many may look at me and in disbelief, argue that there is no way anyone in my profession can possess such creative dexterity without being high on some kinda substance.
Shame on them!
I never drank alcohol, I no longer smoke cigarettes, and I'm a gym rat and a health freak.
Because I know better.
What really bothers me about addiction and mental illness in this neck of the woods, is the ugly stigmatization that comes with it. People believe you are either under some form of spiritual or demonic attack or that you lack the discipline to put your self in check. Most of us never see it as a form of medical imbalance that requires treatment by a professional; just like one would treat malaria, ulcer, cancer, and even toothache.
Addiction is no different.
I know it can be a huge heartache watching someone you love struggle with an addiction or have a mental illness but the good news it that it is curable. When we show more love as parents, as friends, associates, spouses, brothers or sisters, we help the people going through this struggle feel good about themselves.
One of my favorite quotes is that People will easily forget what you say to them, or what you do for them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Majek Fashek is our own, let's see how we can heal our rain maker who needs all the love and understanding he can get right now. I know quite a few well meaning Nigerians have contributed to his rehabilitation, but I still encourage the few who are determined to see the healing of this great musician become reality.
God will give us the strength and guidance.
It is well.
It is our collective effort to help rehabilitate him as a social responsibility of fighting this hard drug menace that is wasting so many of our youths. I know a lot of you might ask what if he doesn't want help? Then I ask what if he does but doesn't know how to? If Mohammed won't go to the mountain, shouldn't the mountain go to Mohammed?
And on that note, my parting word to anyone out there struggling with an addiction of any kind, just know that you can be the best you want to be.
You can be as weird, as different, as creatively crazy as you want to be still, by staying clean, responsible and very focused.
Just say no to polluting your body and yes to clean living. When saying No is no longer an option, help is available and you don't have to do it on your own.