Socialite says she had sold her life to nicotine
NICOTINE addiction stories have many different beginnings. For Kachanana Simate, a local musician, the nicotine addiction started like a joke four years ago.
“I was just chilling with friends that were smoking and with time, each time I am stressed, I would always think of getting a cigarette and smoke it as I watch the smoke disappear in thin air and time moved on,” she says.
What was life like in active addiction?
Kachanana had insomnia. She could not sleep and could not clinch any more music recording deals. All she was looking out for was a cigarette.
“I could not do anything without smoking a cigarette or two. I would wake up at two or three in early hours just to smoke,” she says.
Kachanana didn’t do anything else, she didn’t eat, and she spent money on cigarettes more than on food.
“I could use it to buy drugs, but I don’t know where all of that time went. On Sundays, I would try to clean up and eat something but by the end of the day, I would feel so sick that I always ended up back at the hotel room buying drugs,” she says.
For Kachanana, smoking was just one of those prescriptions for simple stress management or managing feelings of anguish.
Four years down the line, Kachanana has learnt that addiction can affect anyone.
The road to recovery for Kachanana began in 2017 when she noticed that everything about her was not making sense. Her music career was ruined.
On a day she cannot really remember, she reflected on her life and what she was prior to her nicotine addiction – a renowned musician with too much potential.
She had lost a lot of opportunities and nothing was going well for her. No-one wanted to partner with her anymore in her music career.
She then decided to relocate to Ndola, where her parents live, because life was no longer good for her in Lusaka.
“I was completely lost in my city. I had so many unanswered questions. I was struggling with life’s issues, not having a permanent job after spending years at the University of Zambia. I looked at myself and I overwrote myself and went into isolation. I did not want anything to do with anyone. All I wanted was a cigarette,” she says.
One day, she decided to call her friend to seek counsel over her problems.
“I called a close friend to ask whether there was a God somewhere and if so, why God had allowed such a situation to happen to me. Instead of answering those questions, my friend gave me a book called Prayer Cookbook,” she says.
Kachanana says the book taught her to be patient with God and that she did.
In no time, she started spending more time online and she decided to start building her image by dressing decently.
“One day I thought of changing my looks and to keep my mind off the cigarette, so I decided to go to YouTube and through the tutorial, I learned how to design clothes, cut them and sew. I have never been to a tailoring class and yet each time I wear something done by my hands, people would love it to a point of buying it,” Kachanana says.
With time, she named her initiative Chosen designers.
Her designing shop is in Ndola and she now specialises in wedding dresses.
“I do different attires but wedding dresses are my passion. I do them like I have been to a design school and my clientele keeps growing,” she says.
Kachanana finally quit smoking on October 30, 2018 after reading Prayer Cookbook and putting whatever she read into practice.
“I used to smoke the whole pack of 20 cigarettes and sometimes, because of self-comfort, I used to tell myself not to finish a pack. So I would smoke only 18 a day. But where I am too stressed, I would smoke more than a pack in a day,” she says.
But how has the road to the end of her nicotine addiction been?
Kachanana, now a mentor and counsellor at Great North Academy Rehabilitation Centre, says she has more opportunities now after she stopped taking nicotine.
She now calls herself a life strategist who has impacted hundreds of lives of people that are struggling with different addictions.
“I feel more comfortable and confident. I can stand before anyone and speak with confidence. Where I am at the Rehabilitation Centre, I have a lot of time now sharing my experience with those that are in it [addiction] now,” she says.
She says she is now extremely grateful to be in a place where she can positively impact many lives by sharing her story and giving hope to the hopeless.
“I just had this mind that I could get help. Everything around me was telling me there was a solution for me. Things could be different. I was thirsty for this new knowledge that’s why I read a lot of books, tried a lot of things that I was told
“I feel more comfortable and confident. I can stand before anyone and speak with confidence. Where I am at the Rehabilitation Centre, I have a lot of time now sharing my experience with those that are in it now,” Kachanana says.could help me get out of the addiction. That’s how I started to learn about my addiction and how to start living again,” she says.
Kachanana says her day starts at 04:30 hours in the morning and that she spends the first 30 minutes to plan for the day.
She reports for work 30 minutes earlier at 07:30 hours.
On days that she is not working, Kachanana spends time in Ndola at her design shop.
Looking back, Kachanana says she has no regrets because she believes all things happened for a purpose and God ordained her steps to get back to her real self.
She says she has not abandoned her music career and is currently in the studios strategising.
“I have not drifted away from my music career, the only difference is that the new me in the music circles will come back as a gospel singer this time around,” she says.