16: From Drug Addiction to Counselling Addicts with Gary Aldridge
'By the time I took my GCSEs I was so addicted to drugs that there was no chance I would get any grades'
Ten years of drug use including stints in prison, homelessness and stuck in a cycle of the criminal justice system, Gary attended his first rehab in prison at 21. On probation at 27 he met a man who acted as a mentor and had been 6 years clean and sober. Wishing his whole life that he would have received mentoring instead of punitive punishment, Gary finally got the mentoring and guidance he'd been searching for through a recovering addict who volunteered to work with him.
Gary is 8 years clean and sober, a qualified counsellor with a thriving private practice and career in drug addiction services. When discussing how easy it is to ask for help, Gary wisely states that it was easier when he had nothing. Now he has built up an expectation that he knows better and people come to him for advice so it is harder to ask for help when life becomes overwhelming. Noticing that work was becoming his escape, Gary's interview is filled with wisdom on how he looks after himself daily.
After missing a decade of his life to addiction, Gary now puts conscious effort into having new experiences and is currently in India, the first country he's travelled to on his own, while this episode airs.
You can find Gary Aldridge at www.aldridgecounsellingservices.co.uk