Hey yall! My name is Bukhosi but people call me Kozy for short. I have spent almost 10 years of my life working in the hospitality industry (woah that’s a damn 3rd of my life). I have done almost everything imaginable in it, from hosting to dishwashing to full on managing a cocktail bar. (I cant be trusted in the kitchen so lets save cooking for the pros). Like most young spry 18 year old’s, this industry caught my attention as a means to have quick extra cash in my pocket while in studying in University. This quickly turned into a lifestyle and eventually a career.
I found my entire life revolved around anything and everything restaurant related. All my closest friends worked with me or in bars within my community. I loved it to the point where we didn’t even have to text each other on Sundays, always met at the same spot. As the years passed, roles and responsibilities grew. Four hour shifts turned into six, six to eight, eight to twelve (you see where this is going). I was ALWAYS so tired but at the same time I always had to be on.
I started to combat the long days with alcohol abuse. Numbing the pain alongside my comrades going through the same struggles as me. It never occurred to me this was unhealthy. “Its just how it is” is all I kept telling myself. Before I knew it drinking spilled into my work hours on the regular. From a biological level I was never sober, ever (doctor wasn’t happy bout that). It began affecting my relationships with friends, family and partners. Eventually in the worst of it, before I knew it I was jobless.
Only in the last year have I realized the strains this industry put on my mental health. Looking back on these years today, I realize how pulled myself out of that dark place by myself. I never want anyone to ever go through that on their own. It is my personal goal with the 86 project to ensure EVERY PERSON in this industry knows that you are not the only one suffering. Fuck this stigma, especially for men. Our mental health is important, take care of that shit.
I am however still in it. Full time bartender and loving the shit out of it. I have my bad days like anyone else, but I’m learning how to balance it. Will I be in it forever? Probably not. But for now, I know my boundaries, my triggers, my dos and don’ts to stay myself. This is a great industry that taught me so many values and PHENOMENAL skillset and work ethic. But I’ll be damned if I sacrifice my mental health again. Ever.
Put your middle fingers up to the stigma. 86 that shit.