Question Time

Hi there Shaun,

I was at your talk at my college, and I have to say it hit a spot with me as I suffered from drug abuse years ago. When I was 17, my father died and I went off the rails, and ended up living with a girl in Manchester and all her friends who were much older than me, and was peer pressured into taking heroin, which I ended up addicted too. For a good while, I was binge drinking and shooting up and not spending money on food, and lost about 5 stone in weight. My family disowned me as I was always taking money, and I just become a shell of my former self. I hit my lowest point when I was stealing beer from shops and was with a group of my ex-girlfriends friends when they attacked a take away delivery driver with a knife, who was injured. Before I knew it, the police broke down the door and I was arrested for attempted murder, as they blamed it on me, and I took the blame for it. Eventually I gave a statement of what really happened, and was set free from the cells, but had to rebuild my life from there. I never took heroin again, but I suffered so much, and I suffered alone as I didn’t tell anyone I was a heroin addict. Now I’m 22 and I live with my partner and two kids and study media at college. My family speak to me again and forgive me, but I still suffer from withdrawal symptoms sometimes and have horrendously bad nightmares about that time. It was nice to hear your story as I could relate to it and it was nice to see I’m not the only person to make mistakes, and it showed me how lucky I am to avoid more serious consequences. I do have a question though. Do you still suffer from memories of your incarceration and drug abuse, and if so how do you cope with them? 

Thank you for the talk again! 


My response: 

Thanks for sharing your story, Tom, which moved me deeply. Sometimes things happen in life that send us off the rails, but you’re back on track now, and that’s what’s important. You’ve emerged from the other side a much stronger and wiser person, and you still have most of your life ahead of you. It’s great that you’re in college, and channelling your energy into education.  

Yes, I do suffer memories and nightmares. I shudder when I think about some of the dangerous situations I put myself in while high on drugs, but I can’t change the past. I can only make the most of the future. To cope, I use yoga as therapy. I wrote a blog about it right here: 

I do a lot of exercise and keep myself busy all of the time. I’ve learnt to channel my energy into the right things. I really enjoy speaking to young people and writing books, so I consider myself lucky that I’m doing what makes me happy. After going through Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail system, I try to live each day with a smile on my face no matter what happens to me. 

Good luck in life my friend! 

Shaun Attwood 

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