This is my story about how Addicted2Life was created. It follows my life from the age of 28 onwards, as that’s when the chaos begins and the journey of self-discovery started. Fitness has been a complete game-changer in my life and I am grateful every day that I now have the confidence and ability to help others in their own fitness journeys. Read on for all the details about how I became a qualified Personal Trainer and Counsellor after battling addiction for over 10+ years.
Addicted2Life – Becoming addicted to cocaine, gambling and alcohol
To say my twenties threw up more questions than they did answers is a vast understatement. Having been successful on paper by the age of 28, I had the house, the flash car and the girlfriend who I would marry, have kids with and live happily ever after, or so I thought………..
Instead of seeking help from a coach (or anyone !) I decided to keep pushing all my problems and insecurities to one side through drink and drugs. Looking back, my biggest problems were trying to understand who I was, where I was going with my life and how I could get over my own mental barriers. I reached 28 and felt that life had happened mainly to me unconsciously and that I had taken no action in my own direction in life. While the world could see this person meeting what society had expected of him, internally, I was completely dead. Shortly after turning 28, my world completely crumbled into a hell hole. Mentally I couldn’t handle the late nights, the lies and turning up to work with only 4 nights of sleep a week so I decided to admit that I was a drug addict and needed help.
The next 2 years of my life were the most chaotic, even though I admitted I had a problem, I still took no real action (knowing and doing are two completely different worlds in addiction) on getting over my addiction. As a result, I spiralled into heavier drink, drug and gambling addiction. In the space of two weeks, my girlfriend had left me because of my drug-taking, my mum was taken seriously ill with a rare paralytic virus which left her bedridden, and I started a new job as a Financial Advisor in London. I then left the job two weeks in because of the state I was in with everything going on. I had gambled away £50,000 in borrowed money against my house and credit cards. Looking back, I was hitting every f*ck it button going because I simply didn’t know how to handle everything that had gone wrong in such a short space of time, but this was a result of years of neglect to my own conscious direction.
During the last quarter of 2015, I admitted to the banks and card companies I didn’t have the money to pay them back and then went through the incredibly challenging process of debt relief. My heart goes out to anyone who is hounded daily by these companies because they lend you the money instantly, but as soon as you hit challenges in your life, they are quick to get debt relief companies involved who do nothing but harass you constantly. To add to the troubles of 2015, I had drug dealer debts totalling about £10k and with a promise that my house sale would pay these off (and my bank debts) and avoid my legs getting chopped off.
However, the world would test me yet again. The house fell through 4 times and took precisely a year to sell on a market at the really buoyant time. My drug dealer had now stopped my drug supply through my post box each day and was starting to get restless about the money that I owed. During this time I wasn’t working because my mum came out of hospital after 7 months and I helped with rehab. The only fantastic thing to happen during this period was the love that my parents showed me and that I could help my mum get back to walking again, even though the doctors had given her a 50% chance of walking again. I had fallen into depression which is no surprise as I was medicated briefly but I was still doing cocaine daily and again, knowing I had a problem and doing something about it were two worlds apart still. The NHS counsellor I had at the time asked whether I wanted to reduce or stop my intake of cocaine. Looking back, this was some of the worst advice I had ever received in my life, and it clearly showed the lack of understanding and experience of the counsellor. A big part of my motivation for Addicted2Life is to change how and who gives addiction advice in future. If you haven’t been through addiction, I would question how you can provide real advice, just like with life coaching, how can you tell someone to live a better life if you haven’t done that yourself?
2016 was approaching with the crippling fear that I was never going to be good enough because my whole life had imploded at a catastrophic rate. Every insecurity was now exposed with my mind racing at a million miles an hour, seeing others become successful in their careers, get married, have kids, and the list of things that I saw other people do goes on!
There were a few alcohol-related instances in late 2015 where I think was unconsciously trying to end my life. I had no off button because I was so incredibly depressed, even with the love of my parents, who have been endless in their support throughout my life, I just drank and drug to forget every pain I was feeling. Still, because my pain was all the time, it was a scary time for me as I literally didn’t care what happened to me.
Having abused drink and drugs in secret again, while I was trying to sell my house to pay off all my debts and look to escape to Australia, I found myself rushed to hospital in January 2016. I had gone for an eye appointment, which resulted in the optician seeing that I was starting to bleed behind my eyes. So having spent the night in St Georges in Tooting, the doctors did tests on all causes of the bleeding, and it was evident that my blood pressure being 200/160 was a direct result of my lifestyle of smoking, drinking and drugging for the last 8 years. This didn’t stop me from drinking and drugging still although my drug dealer had me on a ban while he waited for his money, I then found my next-door neighbour was a drug dealer! This allowed me to forge a bond that could keep my drug-taking going, without the need to provoke my other drug dealer. However, the house had fallen through another 3 times by this point, and I started receiving death threats, which were enough for me to plead to my parents to help me to run away to Thailand for some time to sort my shit out and get my head straight. They still didn’t know why I had to run away because it was the nasty of addiction, just as loved ones think you are doing well, you secretly go back into old habits, and the chaos gets worse again.
Addicted2Life – Moving Abroad doesnt solve your problems
My love for Muay Thai boxing started when I hired former world number 1, Nokweed Davy, a legend in the sport and I worked with him for a short time before I injured my foot due to drinking too much! Again, it doesn’t matter where you go in the world, your trouble will follow you, and I found a bar in Thailand that served cocaine and my problems continued, just in sunnier climates. My drug dealer was still sending through messages while I was away, and during this time, I was going through severe panic attacks, crippling stress, anxiety, and I was walking around like a zombie.
Having got back from Thailand a few months later, I made arrangements for the money to be paid off for the debt as the house sale was only just starting to go through. I put my flash Audi car on the market to get some cash, but with everything else, there was a massive leak and the car sold for about 1/8 of what it could have done. This was at least one less pressure, but I was still drinking and drugging. I finally sold the house in October 2016 and made enough money from the house sale that I had about £100,000 leftover. This was my ticket (or so I thought) to fix all my problems, to play golf every day in Australia for 6 months and live the dream life. I felt like I deserved it.
So I land in Australia, looking to turn professional at golf, after taking 4 years off due to drinking and drugs but having not got any help for my addiction to drink and drugs by this point still. The idea was that the money was going to fix me by being somewhere else. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that old habits turn up very quickly. Gambling, drinking and drugging in the most expensive city in the world meant that I was flying home sooner than expected as I could see my bank balance falling at an alarming rate and I wasn’t in the right place mentally. I had never felt so alone as I did in Australia. So lost and not knowing how I could find direction in my life again. The golf in Australia is fantastic, anyone that ever wants to go to Australia golfing, it’s a must! I certainly did have good experiences with my money from the house sale, which I am grateful for. Still, I am looking at returning back to Australia as a new person and enjoying those experiences sober this time.
Having come home for Christmas, I could enjoy a short few weeks before deciding that South Africa was my next destination for me trying to turn professional. I joined Milnerton Golf Club, which was on the stunning coastline of Cape Town and again I found people and places that were associated with addiction and all my bad habits were back in abundance also. This time, everything was a lot cheaper, so I felt like a king, and my own ego was on the verge of exploding. The people I met in Cape Town were terrific, except for a few people who I had heard were trying to scam me out of my house money, which meant I left pretty quickly to visit the Garden Route. Again, South Africa for golf is the most memorable experience for many golfers, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to have had such an epic time. My golf game did improve, but never to the level, I needed to get on the tours as my partying was taking up the time and nothing had really changed in my life, other than my ego was more prominent. I had a bank account that could justify that existence, but only for so long.
I knew in South Africa that my life couldn’t carry on in that style as I almost got arrested for picking up meth. The dealer’s car was parked up, and I was walking to his car about 20 metres away, and then suddenly about 4 police cars turn up and arrest the driver. I can look back and say this was another sign for me to get help, but you would be amazed at how blind you are to anything in life when you are in full-blown addiction. Prison is something I am extremely grateful for avoiding, as they say when you are in active addiction, you have three places you can end up, prison, rehab or buried 6ft deep in the ground. Having luckily not died and ended up in the posher option of the priory instead of Wandsworth prison, my goal is to make Addicted2Life provide care for people further up the chain of addiction where they are aware of the consequences of actions and can get help sooner.
So I came back alive, health in tatters, finances almost wholly went from having £160,000 about 6 months before, and I came back to play golf to see if I could make it as a professional golfer. The golf got worse when I got back, so I thought a new job might be the new lease of life that I needed to get my life back onto the straight and narrow. My drug addiction had lessened by this point, and I felt like control was coming back after years of chaos. However, I got into another financial role, working with a big American consultancy company. The stresses of the new job, knowing that I really didn’t want to go back into Finance, but somehow found myself back in the industry regardless, meant my drug use spiralled and four months into the new job I finally had enough. My bank balance was zero for the first time in my life. With no money to pay rent, to eat or any money I could borrow because of my previous debts heavily affecting my credit rating, the thought of being homeless and the shame that I would have to say again, that I had failed was all too much. Luckily I had excellent private medical cover as part of my work benefits, and I rang up my provider to see what they could, and they offered me a 28 day stay in rehab. The thought of committing suicide had crossed my mind, and it was the love and support of my parents that pulled me through and gave me the strength to check myself into rehab at the Priory in London.
Addicted2Life – The recovery process, getting coaches and my journey of self discovery
Having started understanding myself better from my initial 28 days in rehab, I decided that I wanted to get back into fitness to help concentrate my mind and give me something positive to focus on.
So I hired a personal trainer to get me back into a healthy routine that could focus my mind away from turning back to alcohol, drugs and gambling. I had trained for over 15 years before this time but had never stuck to anything religiously before. This time I was determined to see this through, but I made clear goals for what I wanted from the fitness programme and completed each training session (6-12 weeks programmes at a time). The more I achieved, the more I could see the weight drop off, my core was developing for the first time ever, muscles started appearing in all the right places and the more natural confidence I acquired. Natural confidence was a big reason behind my addictions growing up because I was never comfortable in my own skin, so I used alcohol and drugs to mask those insecurities.
I also had weekly therapy from my addiction counsellor post-rehab, who himself was a recovered alcoholic. He is someone I am forever grateful for by merely acting as that building block that would allow me to understand myself emotionally, mentally and let me start experiencing spirituality for the first time in my life. I was also attending Alcoholics, Cocaine and Narcotics Anonymous, which showed me that I wasn’t the only person that had gone through these difficult times and that we can recover from addiction. The 12 step programme was incredibly powerful for me, and I will always advocate for anyone in addiction to give them a go, even if you have preconceptions about what you think they are, just go and see for yourself.
From having had no coaching in my life, to effectively having three coaches for fitness, addiction and spirituality (12 Steps), I now felt that I was able to gain direction in my life. My nutrition was finally under control and I was able to eat the right amount of protein, vegetables and fuel myself for performance for the first time ever.
Addicted2Life – Back to work, giving up alcohol and the complete shift in mindset
So I went back to my finance job after 6 weeks out, and this was an incredibly stressful period as I was having to do everything in secret as the company that I worked for told me to tell people I was suffering from depression if anyone asked. This on top of the stigma around addiction outside of the workplace was putting increased pressure on me to work harder as I was still relatively new to the business.
Having realised that my addictions were all triggered by drinking alcohol, it was the easiest decision for me to give up alcohol as I had lost everything to addiction. I promised myself before I checked into rehab that I would put the same amount of effort into turning my life around that I did in destroying it (the addict mindset!). Not having a hangover and experiencing the level of clarity through staying sober is the single most powerful thing I have done in my life. I highly recommend going sober for those that want to improve every aspect of their life, even if you don’t think you drink much, alcohol has more of an impact on how well connected we can become to our true selves.
My mindset had completely shifted, it went from being a victim of my surroundings to one of curiosity and passion. On top of doing a 4 day a week fitness programme, I was also reading over 3 hours of self-development books each day, and this created a fascination with how I could completely change my life and become Addicted2Life again.
Getting Addicted2Life through my own Body Transformation
My physical transformation consisted of me losing over 5 stone (32kg) in weight, putting muscle on in all the right places and seriously improving my swing speed for golf through the power work that I was undertaking. My golf performances had astronomically enhanced because of my physical conditioning but also because of my own mental clarity.
Fitness completely changed my life as it gave me the natural confidence I always wanted, without needing to turn to drink or drugs to make up for it. It allowed me to regulate my emotions better through the physical exertion of doing weight training. This is an incredibly powerful tool for recovering addicts as they can use the gym to effectively manage their past pain and not let it manifest itself in harmful addictions like drink and drugs.
Physical exercise is so vital for becoming Addicted2Life in the mind-body connection that I decided to re-train as a Personal Trainer. Fitness training had such an epic impact on my own life, I wanted to help others drive towards their own fitness goals and live a healthy and happier life. If you are keen to find out more about the packages I offer, please click here to find out more about how you can become Addicted2Life.
Addicted2Life – The creation of Addicted2Life
My fascination with human development had increased exponentially as I had started seeing a complete transformation, not just in my own physique, but in how I believed that I could achieve anything that I put my mind too. I was able to manifest what I wanted, put the work in and get it, something that I was too scared of attempting in my previous life through fear of failure. Going through the process of losing everything that I had, was incredibly powerful, as it gave me a new outlook that was fearless and hungry to start following my own passions.
Having given up alcohol, drugs and gambling, I found that my work within the corporate world no longer fed my soul, and this is where the journey of Addicted2Life started. Having had such powerful transformations in my own life through fitness and self-development, Addicted2Life takes what I have learnt about the human mind, body and soul.
Golf has been a massive part of my life, and I attempted to turn professional twice in my twenties (which was hindered by my addictions). As a result of my passion for all things golf, I offer golf specific packages for Fitness and Life Coaching that look to utilise my 27 years of experience. A lifelong dream of mine is to help develop the next Tiger Woods, and I firmly believe that my life experience and skills can help me do that.
We offer four fitness programmes which are Body Transformation Programme, Addicted2Golf, Personal Training and Addicted2Recovery. If you just want to stay up to date with all our health and wellbeing, you can subscribe here.
My podcast, Sober Heroes, is my way of giving back to those going through addiction in the hope that others, who struggle as I did, can find the strength and determination to start changing their lives around. My addiction story is documented in greater detail on the podcast, so feel free to listen, and if you know anyone that might benefit from listening to my story, or my guest’s stories, please feel free to forward on the podcast links. Combining two other passions of mine, I created Sober Golfers, which connects like-minded golfers across the world and will enable me to play golf around the world doing what I love.
If you want to speak to me about addiction or to see how my Fitness and Counselling programming can help you become Addicted2Life again, please get in contact by clicking here.