Actor Dennis Mugo, commonly known by the stage name OJ, has opened up to the challenges he faced when he played a starring role in the popular Taahidi High series.
In an interview on Mungai Eve’s YouTube channel, Mugo who now works in the communication department at the Embu County government, conceedes things went south when he turned to alcohol and partying.
“When you are young, the training you receive (on the acting scene) is that of the technical bit of life,” he explained.
Adding: “You know how to balance sound and light, and so on. Everything to do with filming. But when it comes to the next part of the portion of life, like how to take in the stardom and all, you find that you haven’t matured or grown into life. So that way, the first thing I grew into is the life of partying, and at some point, it affected my job quite a lot.”
He adds that balancing between his job and personal life became a challenge as he did not know how exactly to navigate, which ended up costing him.
“So I was director Tahidi High for a period of time, then because of a lot of partying, I was demoted to assistant director. So I had a lot of struggle because I was still trying to balance the party life and my work.”
The TV personality further disclosed he reached a point in his life where he got so addicted to alcohol that it messed up his career. The actor described this phase as his lowest in life. “Yes. I have spoken about this severally. What we call a functioning alcoholic. I would wake up in the morning, have a drink so that I could feel creative enough. It got to a point where I had self-doubt that I could not work without it. I convinced myself that I needed alcohol to be able to deliver great lines, know which angles are best to use, and all that. It really got to that point and it messed up with my career,” said OJ.
The actor disclosed that he is still struggling to let go of the addiction, but has made great progress over the years. “Getting to stop has been a journey. It’s not something you just wake up one morning and you’re off the hook. Don’t be deceived. Up to date I still struggle with it because it’s a journey. One, you acknowledge where you are and then start deriving solutions to get out of it. Then have a great support system. I had the support of my family, and my mother was the first to notice that I wasn’t headed in the right direction. She suggested rehab, but after seeing how those guys were, I just didn’t want it because I knew I wasn’t that badly off,” said the actor.
He further detailed how his life of partying and addiction affected his personal relationships back then but was saved by his strong support system.
“Around that time I had already gotten a child, and my situation was affecting my relationship with my partner and my child, the relationship broke, things were just falling apart. Many people noticed and they helped me. I thank my support system,” he said.