The Chief Executive Officer of Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nana Gecaga, has revealed that she battled alcoholism, when she was younger.
Speaking on Kiss FM breakfast show recently, Ms Gecaga, an ex-sprinter, said she regrets indulging in alcohol, which made her not to participate in the 1996 Summer Olympics, which she had qualified for.
“The person you see here has had many lives,” Nana Gecaga, 40, told hosts Adelle Onyango and Shaffie Weru.
“During my younger days, in high school, I had a passion for sports. Believe it or not, I was a very big athlete back in the day. I, actually, qualified for the 1996 Olympics. I used to love basketball, soccer, and track athletics,” she said.
“From that time in high school, I really wanted to be a game-changer; somebody, who helps without expecting anything in return. I believe if you are in a position where you can help then help; it does not cost you anything,” said Nana Gecaga.
The professional marketer says she’d also dreamt of becoming a Head of State.
“Being a kid, there were many things I wanted to become – a president, an athlete, and many more things,” she said.
ROCKY FIRST YEAR
“After high school, I joined university in the United States before furthering my education in the United Kingdom. As you are aware, I am a recovering alcoholic.
“My First Year in university was very rocky; that is where everything kind of fell apart. I was able to go to rehab, and it is 19 years now since I last took alcohol.
“My first degree in the [US] was business, advertising and marketing; the second degree, pursued in the UK was fashion.
“My battle with alcohol taught me a lot; it, definitely, builds character. It takes strength to actually acknowledge that one has a problem. Getting out of alcoholism [was a big achievement]; a lot of people don’t. I got a lot of support,” said Nana Gecaga.
“With that [alcoholism] comes regret; my biggest regret is that it derailed me from pursuing my dream in athletics, even after qualifying for the 1996 Summer Olympics – sprinting. Due to drinking, heavily at that time, I just said: ‘I had qualified for the Olympics, but did not go’. Now, when I look back, I say it was my time to do service. But, again, it is not about dwelling on it, but moving forward; and saying: ‘From there, what can I now do, especially now that I know better?’” she said.
In an interview on Churchill Show, two months ago, Ms Gecaga revealed that she was so addicted to alcohol that she’d take 24 bottles of liquor every day.
“Well, it was 24 beers; that is a crate a day and a half a bottle or full bottle of liquor,” she said, adding she resorted to seeking help at the age of 21.
Nana Gecaga is a mother of three; Udi, Jomo and Uhuru.