Healthwatch Essex has just released an interview with me as part of their ongoing Hidden Voices podcast. The podcast aims to uncover stories in health and social care and provides an excellent learning opportunity for all health and social care students at Essex (and beyond).
In this episode, I share my experiences with alcohol and drug addiction.
I’ve been attending a Cannabis Clinic weekly on a Tuesday with Dr Marta Di Forti since before Lockdown. People from all walks of life, from mental illness inpatients to internationally-renowned cannabis researchers, all meet to discuss issues arising from cannabis. Also, abstinence milestones are celebrated.
I was contacted by Marta asking if it was ok if she put me in touch with Megan Agnew, features editor for The Sunday Times Magazine. Not long after, Megan interviewed me over the phone for about an hour. Some days later, I was contacted by Jackie Dewe Mathews, a Sunday Times photographer.
We arranged a time to meet in my local park and got chatting. I mentioned that Tai Chi has helped me in my recovery and she suggested I do some Tai Chi moves there in the park. For the following hour and a half, she was constantly snapping away.
What impressed me the most was the size of the lens on her camera. While the average webcam lens is about three millimetres across, the one on her camera was about three inches across! This resulted in photos of an amazingly high resolution. At one point, she asked me to move a single hair off my face—she was three metres away! Publication of the article ultimately was delayed several times. One of the stories that took precedence was the riots involving England playing football against Italy. Seen as an “evergreen” piece, my article wasn’t time-sensitive.
On the day it came out, I’d told everyone I could think of—emailing and through social media. I myself bought three copies. I thought it was a good article, but the final paragraph had me saying I usually lose my train of thought when I’m talking because of all the cannabis.
This was great copy, and true, but it left me slightly deflated. I’d wanted them to mention the podcasts and the book I’ve written in the twelve years since I stopped. I brought this up with Marta and Megan who, fantastically, altered the Sunday Times online copy (that you must subscribe to). Now, it says “sometimes he trails off, but he’s usually very articulate and has written a great book about his struggle”.