• Kevin said his addiction started from the kind of jobs he did as an actor
• Kevin said he voluntarily chose to be sober and even went to rehab. He said it was not an easy decision as he was afraid he would lose friends.
Former 'Mali' actor Kevin Samuel says bad company made him an alcoholic and a drug addict.
Kevin, who is media personality Janet Mbugua's older brother, also opened up about his struggle with mental illness.
Speaking to Word Is, the veteran actor said he doesn't regret anything in his life.
"I would have wanted to get sober sooner if I had the knowledge that I have, but luckily, I have my health, family and I am among the lucky ones since we have had some losing their lives," he said.
There were times he attempted suicide, he said.
"The first time I spoke about my suicide attempt was with my sister Janet, and to see the effect my story had on her was so humbling. It made me realise had I taken my life, she would have missed a big brother, and that made me know I have people to live for."
Some people who are fighting drug addiction say it is because of life frustrations, but Kevin said his addiction started from the kind of jobs he got after he became an actor.
"I was a musician. In that circle, sometimes, you get to hang out in clubs where there is easy access to drug. I had access to what I wanted coz people would know who I am, they would come and offer me the drugs anytime I wanted.
"I could make a call and in 15 minutes, someone would show up with cocaine, almost anywhere in Nairobi."
He added that drugs made him feel like he was okay in life in general. "Wake up feeling bad, drink or use a drug. In actual sense, you are wasted but you don't realise since your brain doesn't know any other way," he said.
"Some use drugs since they can't handle being by themselves. If they are not around people, they don't know what to do with themselves."
After a long struggle, Kevin said he voluntarily chose to be sober and even went to rehab. He said it was not an easy decision as he was afraid he would lose friends.
"2015 to 2018 was bad but in 2019, I decided to get clean. It was the time I moved abroad. It was hard settling into a new culture, I was so busy," he said.
"I hated my job and the only thing I could do was wake up and to be able to work, I would get a drink. I started unravelling and I started feeling so empty."
He said the journey has opened different doors and brought new relationships.
Samuel is featuring in the latest Showmax thriller, 'Igiza', as his last project as he retires from acting to focus on spreading mental health awareness.
He is pursuing public health in Paris, France, where his family resides.
"My focus is on the youth since they are the future and they have so much potential," he said. He encouraged people to choose a sober life."
Counselors, medics, and psychologists advise that you can always reach out for help when experiencing any mental health issues. Call Kenya Red Cross toll-free hotline, 1199 for support.