Former Chesterfield drug addict who almost 'lost everything' wants to help others turn their lives around

A former drug addict, who says his life was ruined by addiction, has spoken out about how he has finally managed to turn his life around.

By Wiktoria Wrzyszcz
Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:07 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:09 pm

Adam White, 39, of Chesterfield, has struggled with addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling since he was 16.

He started to use cannabis as a teenager then cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine, often mixing them with alcohol.

He said: “It was cocktail of drugs. I’d been an addict for about 12 years.

Adam White.

"It got to a point I was taking so much that everything was going fuzzy, there were moments when I couldn’t see. It started giving me panic attacks. I was scared.”

To replace the high from drugs, Adam got into gambling and found himself investing everything he earned into bets. He even got to a point where he gambled his car.

His partner left him, taking his daughter and Adam immersed himself in gambling all his money which almost led him to taking his own life.

He said: “ I looked at all the money that had gone that night. I tried loads of times to quit gambling and I just couldn't do it. I didn't feel strong enough. I was borrowing money from people, finding excuses not to go out. I felt very lonely.”

Adam before he quit addictions and started to exercise.

“I felt like life was not going anywhere. I was just an absolute mess, sobbing, thinking how I let people down most of my life and I just wanted to end this. But I started looking at the pictures of my daughter. And I realised if I do this, my daughter will no longer have a dad.”

Since then, Adam completely changed his life.

He said: “I had my 39th birthday in July. But I celebrated one year, because that one year is when I've actually found myself. My mindset changed and I feel I should have been like this from day one.

“I grew up with my dad who thought showing any weakness was bad and I tried to live up to this macho image. Addictions, anxiety and depression came very soon.

Adam White and people he spoke at the meeting last Wednesday.

“I've lived a life of not not being a good guy. I thought that anyone who is doing what I’m doing now is weak. When I look back now, I was at my weakest then. I'm the strongest now.”

Adam now wants to support young men who might be facing similar challenges but are not sure where to look for help.

He said: “I've struggled with addiction most of my life. I have known people that committed suicide or overdosed on drugs over the years.

“There are so many people out there that struggle, can't find that way out or don’t know where to go for help. I want to do my best to help them move away from this negative life.”

Adam White at Freightroute in Somercotes where he works.

Adam, who now lives in Somercotes, was invited to speak during a meeting for men struggling with mental health and addictions organised by the Chesterfield Football Club.

He said: “ I was a bit nervous because it was my first talk. You have to talk honestly about your struggles and you don't know how people will react. I didn't know if they would listen at all or would just become bored. But I got them all engaged and that was fantastic.

“After the talk, I even got hugs off some of them. I touched them with my story and one guy even said it resonated a lot with what he'd been through."

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Adam, who works in a transport planning department at Freightroute in Somercotes, is also starting a counselling course at the college and hopes to lunch his own charity. He said: “Since I was a teenager I’ve always had some addictions, drugs, alcohol or gambling. But now my addiction is making people change and helping them. I get a massive, massive high from that.

"My dream in a few years is to get funding for a rehabilitation centre.

“I want people there not only to leave the addiction, but to learn life skills. Exercise, motivation and making life goals helped me massively and I hope I can use them to help others who don’t have the support I have needed for years.”