trustee and peer supporter

Garry Durston

Why does addiction matter to you?

I was 50 when I finally admitted I was an addict and alcoholic, until then I was diagnosed as depressed, suffering with trauma and a few other things. I nearly died a few times and many friends have died. Addiction is like having a vampire on your shoulder sucking away your life, health, self- respect, money, loved ones and everything else you value. It’s about having no choice in what you do. We are trying to give people back a choice to live. It’s so great being clean and living, I want to help as many as I can to have another opportunity at life.

What’s it like being dependent on drugs or alcohol?

It’s like being a dead man walking. It’s desperately lonely. It’s not living, just existing and surviving but for no reason.

What’s your worst memory of addiction?

All the lies and wanting to die but waking up to the same – a constant dread.

What’s your best memory of recovery?

Not being addicted! Being glad my mum and step dad saw me recover. It’s being present tor my family, for life, not lying, not letting people down, being honest, being healthy, having boundaries, and having memories I can actually remember!

What can our charity do about the problem?

We are set up to help those that don’t have the funds to get private addiction counselling or who are stuck in the system. We can only help a few but we hope those we help go onto help others. I think that because some of us have lived with (and survived) addiction we understand the place our clients are in and we listen and don’t judge. It’s a start!

What does society need to do?

Treating addicts like criminals and current drug laws and policies doesn’t work anywhere in the world. Understanding at government level what addiction is and how diversely it can effect anyone at anytime would be a great start; a would helping people recover rather than sending them to prison which just exacerbates the problem.

What’s the best advice you can give to someone who’s struggling?

Get in touch with us, ask for help, don’t lose hope, try and make a change. It’s not easy to ask for help but that is the starting point … that, and wanting to get clean.