Josh's fundraising story: "It's time for me to give back"

Josh | March 2021 | 6 minutes

In April, Josh is cycling 1500 miles in fourteen days to raise money for Alcohol Change UK - this is his story.

It started in my early teens, binge-drinking down Bakers Park in Newton Abbot, getting blackout drunk. I drank because I guess it was exciting at first, along with peer pressure. Then around the age of fourteen I got in with the wrong crowd and ended up hooked on mephedrone too. You could buy it in local ‘head shops’ at that point. It was easy to cope with the hangovers and come downs then because I had age on my side.

When I was 19, a very good friend of mine, Charlie, left the world and it hit me really hard. I found myself using drugs and alcohol more to try and cope. This went on for years, along with depression and suicidal thoughts of my own. My life was a mess – I was getting in trouble with police and bringing unwanted drama into my life.

In the meantime, more friends had died to suicide and drug overdoses. I just numbed myself by drinking more to make it easier.

It wasn't until 2019, when we lost another amazing man to an overdose, that it really hit home for me. I was 26 at this point, using crack cocaine, and my circles of friends were losing the battle to live.

"I've experienced first-hand how damaging alcohol can be to the person using it and the loved ones around them. It's time for me to give back and help make a change to those who need it. "

I realised I had to make a change. I slowly weaned myself off harder drugs and got myself out to Morocco for a while, when things started to go a little better. But the drink always stayed. If anything, the alcohol intake increased. I think it’s the hardest drug of them all to give up. Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture and so accessible that it’s almost deemed "safe and normal".

I'm now in the very early stages of recovery from alcohol with Smart Recovery, and I’m talking to councillors regularly. Seeking help is the best thing I've ever done for myself and the people around me. I'm now more confident, I don't have that hangover anxiety anymore. I'm sleeping better than I ever have, and I'm more conscious of looking after my mental health and what I put into my body.

I’m fundraising for Alcohol Change UK because I've experienced first-hand how damaging alcohol can be to the person using it and the loved ones around them. It's time for me to give back and help make a change to those who need it.

So, in April I will be setting off from Totnes, Devon cycling up to Scotland, looping the UK, covering 1500 miles in 14 Days to raise money and awareness for a cause that is much needed in our society today.

Read more about Josh's fundraising challenge and donate here.