A few weeks back now I interviewed Paul Boggie. In the interview we spoke about his struggles with addiction, overcoming his mental health issues, the importance of music on his road to recovery, and his campaign to abolish homelessness.
Paul has just released his book titled ‘Heroin to Hero’ which tells the story of his life, growing up with crippling depression and falling into the depths of addiction. He was at rock bottom but managed to turn his whole life around as he became a Scots guard. At the peak of his career as a Scots guard, he was protecting the queen at Windsor Castle.
There have been many twists and turns in Paul’s life, and now we get to follow him on his journey. The idea of a book stemmed from his recovery process, in which his counselor suggested he started to write down how he felt, and overtime he compiled so many notes together that he was left with enough content to produce a book.
When I sat down to speak to Paul, the first thing we spoke about was his mental health issues. Getting his mental health back on track was imperative to recovering from his addictions. Having grown up in the late 80s/early 90s, the education on mental health issues was next to nothing, so ultimately, Paul didn’t know how severely depressed he was, he merely assumed there was something wrong with him that he could never fix. Paul felt like he never really fit in, and this followed him for his whole life. It wasn’t until he completed a 4-week course on the power of the mind that he realised these mental health issues had plagued his life, and he’d always shut it out through his heroin addiction.
Only through acknowledging his mental issues could he find the way forward on his road to recovery. From that point onwards he ensured to work on his mind control. Anytime he felt depressed he became super aware and thought: “Why are you behaving that way?”. Asking himself “Do you want to let that person get you sad?” and “Do you really want to act like that?”. In the interview, Paul explained: “If I didn’t fix my mental health I would still be on heroin now. I would’ve just accepted I’m on heroin, I’m going to be on heroin, and I’m going to die on heroin.”
Music was also key to breaking Paul’s addiction. In the book, Paul explains how R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ genuinely saved his life. When I spoke to Paul about this song, he explained: “‘Everybody Hurts’ inspired me to listen and to hold on. Not only did it save my life, when I listen to it now, it’s not a dark sad song, it makes me want to cry tears of happiness.”
Following the success of the book, Paul explained that there is a documentary in the process following his life. Leo Gregory of ‘Green Street Hooligans’ fame recently got in touch with Paul expressing his desire to play the part of Paul, whilst Vinnie Jones, AFC Wimbledon hardman and actor in Guy Ritchie’s ‘Snatch’ also likely to be involved. The story of Paul and the upcoming documentary has seen Paul’s life dubbed as a real-life Trainspotting.
However, the real motive behind ‘Heroin to Hero’ is to raise money to help the homeless, with all profits from the book going to homeless charities. In England on Christmas day this year, 280,000 people will be sleeping rough. When questioned on this Paul voiced his concerns by stating: “There is no other word for it than disgusting. The government should be ashamed of themselves. They never will, as long as they’re in their fancy houses with their millions, they’re never going to care.”
The conversation with Paul gave an excellent insight into his life, and shows that to anyone struggling, there is a way out, and there is help available if you need it. You just have to reach out. As for the saddening number of rough sleepers over the Christmas period, there is something that can be done. Treat them as equals, look at them with respect, and remember they’re humans that just need a second chance.
Call these numbers if you need help:
Samaritans — 116 123
CALM — 0800 58 58 58
Mind — 0300 123 3393
Centrepoint — 0808 599 1782
Crisis — 0300 636 1967
Salvation Army — 020 7367 4800