As he plans to embark on a 1,500-miile charity cycling challenge, recovering drug addict and alcoholic Josh Pearson tells 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 14, I got in with the wrong crowd and ended up hooked on drugs.
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.
Almost a decade later, loosing lots of friends to suicide and overdoses, 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 counsellors regularly.
Seeking help is the best thing I've ever done for myself and the people around me.
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 next month, I will be cycling 1,500 miles over 14 days to raise money for Alcohol Change UK and try to end the stigma around alcohol addiction.
I will be starting my ride from Totnes up to Inverness in Scotland before coming back down the east coast looping the UK back to Devon.
I will be cycling a little over 100 miles a day to achieve my goal of 14 days, finding local campsites to pitch up my tent.
You can follow my journey on Instagram @joshcyclesforchange where I will be uploading my progress daily.
If you would like to show your support, my Just Giving page is www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joshcyclesfree
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