#BounceExclusive: I Only Took 'Igbo' To Make Great Music - Sam Wright
Drug abusers will never imagine being in a rehabilitation centre when they draw the first smoke from the wrapped Indian hemp or other substances, but addiction ensures they are dragged down the value chain.
Just a kiss of the slim wrapped weed has made and marred artistes and Tosin Samuel Wright, popularly called Sam Wright, is one of such.
His song, My Soul, had made him popular four years ago, but not without a dark side left hidden underneath the sheets.
When Sam Wright started his romance with Indian hemp after he left secondary school, he did not imagine he was walking down a road to a rehabilitation centre.
'Lost years' is his best way of describing 15 years of hard drug addiction.
But being in Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM) rehabilitation centre is the best thing that has happened to him in ages, he says.
He had walked into the admin office of CADAM in Berger area of Lagos State with hope that his crave for drugs would end.
The centre, managed by Dr Dokun Adedeji, has welcomed people with different drug related issues, some of them inching towards insanity.
Good, Bad & Ugly
For over 15 years, he constantly inhaled banned substances and heard voices in his head.
Those voices led him to spend over a year in prison in faraway South Africa after he ended cordial relations with members of his family.
Samuel is from a family he described as comfortable, with his father a citizen of the United Kingdom.
He could see his destiny outside Nigeria at childhood and he had pursued it, but mixing his pursuit with drugs was one thing that had brought him significant setbacks.
"It started after I met a keyboardist like me who told me he used to take hemp before he plays musical instruments.
"He said I should try it and see how much inspiration I will get.
"I tried it, I felt different and I thought it worked. I took to smoking it just to get inspired to play," he said, describing that statement as a lie from a demon.
The addiction began to grow and so was his desire to leave the shores of Nigeria.
He continued to make moves to leave Nigeria and one fateful day, he laid his hands on some money sent home by his father.
It was enough to make his dream come true, he thought to himself. He took the cash and disappeared to South Africa.
The journey to Mandela's Paradise could not be taken through the front door. So, Uncle Sam tried the window.
He got to the border of Botswana but could not cross into the country because he had lost his passport, a situation that left him hopeless for a few hours until help came.
"I was lucky. A white woman saw me crying near the border and she asked me what the problem was.
"I told her I had lost my passport. She offered to help and took me into the country, claiming I was with her.
"I stayed with her for months still taking drugs without her knowing until I got another passport through an illegal means and gained access into South Africa.
His 7 years in South Africa were wasted running away from security operatives while he learnt bitter lessons on the side.
"I was fortunate to meet a Nigerian whom I stayed with for a few months.
"While I was with him, being a drug addict, getting to know where hemp was sold was not a difficult thing for me. I found a place and I was always visiting there.
"I did not know some guys were observing me. One day, they invited me for a party. I attended and I was given cocaine to taste.
"After that encounter, I became friends with them and one day they told me what they were doing to survive in South Africa.
"They handed me a gun on one of our gathering days and said we would go out for an operation. I could not say no.
"I was afraid they could kill me, knowing that I now know they are armed robbers.
"I committed several crimes with the group. I was going to rob in the streets and on one occasion I had to throw away the gun to escape being caught with it.
His escape on that day was not enough to keep him safe and away from the prying eyes of the police.
"I was later caught and thrown into New Lock Prison for a year and two months.
"After several criminal engagements – robbery, drugs sales and other crimes – I was arrested in one operation and was put in prison for a year and 2 months.
Few months after Samuel came out from the prison he was deported to Nigeria and that was the beginning of an end to his drug addiction.
"I returned to church to play for one of the most popular Pentecostal ministries in Lagos (name withheld), but I was still taking drugs.
"Sustaining the habit was becoming too expensive for me.
"One night, after I had gone to submit my passport at the UK Embassy I stopped over at Fela Shrine, took skuches and also smoked.
"On my way home that night, my evil way of life caught up with me. I had an accident that almost claimed my life, but God kept me.
"Few weeks after I recovered, I was in the church and a young man, whom I was sure I was older than came to dedicate his child and I thought to myself, ‘at this my age, I have no wife not to talk of having a child. I cried that day, and everything changed.
“Few days later, one of the pastors in the church I played, Pastor Sanya who is a lecturer in the University of Lagos, called me and said Samuel, you have to stop this. God is good, he introduced me to Help Gate and that was how I came to CADAM.
"Being here has not been so much easy, but I thank God that He has given me the grace to be called into a ministry to work on the musical industry and pull the kingdom of darkness down.
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He is excited that the desire and urge to smoke has left him and his mind is being renewed.
"If you take codeine, Rohypnol, marijuana, cocaine, crack, skunk or any drug, you cannot be as high as you should be if you read the word of God," he stressed.
The effect of drug abuse on the mind, cannot be over emphasised.
Addiction to drugs is delicate to the brain. Drugs are chemicals that affect the brain.
It taps into its communication system and interferes with the way neurons normally send, receive, and process information.
I shook hands with Sam as I saw him walk towards the main gate where a red bus had just park.
He turned back and said "They must be new arrivals. I can see the devil in their eyes. They think this is hell but they do not know this is heaven."