Addiction is a difficult illness to overcome, but with the right help and support, sobriety can become a reality. The biggest obstacle to recovery is denial; many addicts spend a lot of time denying they have a problem, which inevitably causes them to delay getting the treatment they need.
However, once a person affected by addiction reaches out for help, he or she has an excellent chance for a successful recovery and one which could open up new doors and lead to a brighter future.
Life Turned Around
An example of how an addiction to drugs can become a thing of the past is Jerome Blake from Sheffield. He spent two years in prison from 2008 to 2010 after being caught selling heroin. He had been selling the drug to fund an addiction to cannabis that he had struggled with since the age of nineteen.
Now 27, Jerome has turned his life around and after two years training at Brendan Ingle’s gym, he has been crowned amateur heavyweight champion in Yorkshire. He now has his sights set on turning professional. Jerome is not the first person to have used boxing as a way to overcome a drug addiction or related problems. World champion Anthony Joshua also had problems in 2011 when he was caught with cannabis, and charged with possession with intent to supply.
Looking to the Future
Jerome has put his past behind him and is now looking to the future, with plans to carve out a successful career in boxing. He said, “In Pitsmoor, I grew up around other people who were into drugs. I didn’t use heroin, but I did smoke cannabis.”
He said he is not the same person anymore, citing that he used to be lazy but now works hard to achieve the things he wants. He added, “Boxing has got me where I want to be; it is a discipline and very motivating. I always feel calm, even when I am boxing. Life experiences have changed me.”
It is important that those who want to recover from addiction, make the necessary changes to their lives, and Jerome has done just that. He knew that he had to steer clear of certain friends after he was released from prison. He wanted to focus on the future and become a better person. He knew that being in prison was nothing to be proud of. He said, “Prison allowed me to get in shape and develop from a kid into a man. I formed a picture in my mind of what I wanted and followed it through.”
Jerome wants his story to be inspirational to others, and said, “Some people I used to hang around with in Pitsmoor are still doing what they were doing, but one or two of them come to support me, and I’d like to turn their thinking around. I’d love to inspire people to change.”
Jerome is hoping to progress over the next few years so that he can challenge some of the big names in the sport such as Nathan Cleverly, Tony Bellew, and Andre Ward. His trainer Dom Ingle said, “Joshua was a bad lad involved with drugs but through boxing, he found his goal in life. Jerome has a partner, kids, a job and his life has never been better.”
Boxing has long been known to help those with drug addictions to turn their lives around. In fact, it was Jeromeâ’s ‘inspirational’ community work that helped him to secure a shorter jail sentence for drug dealing. He is now giving back to the community and hoping to inspire others to follow suit.