I’ll conquer the Brighton half-marathon like I beat drugs

James Danks is running the Brighton half marathon for Brighton Housing Trust

James Danks is running the Brighton half marathon for Brighton Housing Trust Buy this photo

First published in News by , Assistant News Editor

For former addict James Danks running the Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday, February 17, will be a day of mixed emotions.

After nearly 10 months of being clean it will mark a major milestone in the turnaround of his life.

It will also be the third anniversary of the death of the 38-year-old’s wife Zoe, who died in tragic circumstances.

James has been addicted to alcohol and heroin since he was a teenager.

He sold his house to pay for his addiction and landed himself in prison several times by stealing to fund more drugs.

On February 17, 2010 he woke up to find his wife dead beside him.

He said: “I wished it was me.

“I tried every way possible to get clean but it had control of me, all of my life.

“I lost my home, my wife and I nearly lost my child.

“About 12 months ago I didn’t want to live any more.

“It was a horrible existence, living like that.”

He moved to Brighton with his family in his late 20s.

He said: “I thought moving towns would save me. But I’ve got a disease of addiction which is rife in me.”

The father to six-year-old Liam, and two stepsons who live in Eastbourne, was spending £40 on heroin and drinking a litre of vodka every day.

Detox programme

He eventually went on Brighton Housing Trust’s (BHT) detox programme, recovery programme and is now living in supported housing.

He describes the programme as “incredible” and said: “They build up my self-esteem. I am a good person but I just had problems.”

After four months of training, getting up at 5.30am to go running, quitting smoking and changing his diet, he will take on the 13-mile course around the city for BHT.

He said: “I want to do a full marathon after this and then a sponsored walk. It’s been hard and I’ve had hundreds of blisters but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I’ve put a lot into it for Zoe and BHT. I’ve never felt so good in all my life.”

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Comments (15)

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2:03pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Cyril Bolleaux says...

Well done James, I wish you well. Keep up the good work.
Well done James, I wish you well. Keep up the good work. Cyril Bolleaux
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Thu 14 Feb 13

brighton-breezy says...

Awesome! Well done, fantastic to see you are turning your life around! Keep it up mate, one day at a time!
Awesome! Well done, fantastic to see you are turning your life around! Keep it up mate, one day at a time! brighton-breezy
  • Score: 0

5:30pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Freeloaders says...

Wonderful James.Best of luck my friend.Awesome story.
Wonderful James.Best of luck my friend.Awesome story. Freeloaders
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Thu 14 Feb 13

julie001 says...

zoe danks is my daughter ! ty james for the mention and i hope u do well love to u and all x
zoe danks is my daughter ! ty james for the mention and i hope u do well love to u and all x julie001
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Thu 14 Feb 13

julie001 says...

will do my best to be there for the race xx zoe was the best daughter ever xx
will do my best to be there for the race xx zoe was the best daughter ever xx julie001
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Nathan AdIer says...

Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads?

Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul.

Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad.

Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not.

Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum?

The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony.

Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?
Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead? Nathan AdIer
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Akimit says...

I don't think James is asking for sympathy, He is trying to give something back and show to other addicts that there is a way out of addiction. Addiction is not a choice and many people don't make it out of it alive. James is an inspiration and even if he helps just one person see there is a way out it will have been worth it.
I don't think James is asking for sympathy, He is trying to give something back and show to other addicts that there is a way out of addiction. Addiction is not a choice and many people don't make it out of it alive. James is an inspiration and even if he helps just one person see there is a way out it will have been worth it. Akimit
  • Score: 0

9:10pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Freeloaders says...

Nathan AdIer wrote:
Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads?

Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul.

Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad.

Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not.

Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum?

The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony.

Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?
What a nice person you sound lol.What people like James do is give people hope.Hope that things and people can change.Im sure James does not need someone like you to point out the wrong things he did in his life before he turned it around.Would you be more happy if people didn't change?Most people will do things they regret in life at some point.If everyone had your sick view in life there would be know hope of change.
[quote][p][bold]Nathan AdIer[/bold] wrote: Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?[/p][/quote]What a nice person you sound lol.What people like James do is give people hope.Hope that things and people can change.Im sure James does not need someone like you to point out the wrong things he did in his life before he turned it around.Would you be more happy if people didn't change?Most people will do things they regret in life at some point.If everyone had your sick view in life there would be know hope of change. Freeloaders
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Akimit says...

It maybe a stupid run to you, but James is doing this for charity and the homeless. So I believe he is trying to pay back to society.
It maybe a stupid run to you, but James is doing this for charity and the homeless. So I believe he is trying to pay back to society. Akimit
  • Score: 0

7:17am Fri 15 Feb 13

spider_web says...

good lord nathan you are clearly disturbed. go seek help for the good of the nation. lets hope i never have the misfortune of meeting you. you scare me.
good lord nathan you are clearly disturbed. go seek help for the good of the nation. lets hope i never have the misfortune of meeting you. you scare me. spider_web
  • Score: 0

11:35am Fri 15 Feb 13

Fairfax Sakes says...

Nathan AdIer wrote:
Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads?

Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul.

Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad.

Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not.

Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum?

The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony.

Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?
Why? Becaause shut the f*ck up, thats why.
[quote][p][bold]Nathan AdIer[/bold] wrote: Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?[/p][/quote]Why? Becaause shut the f*ck up, thats why. Fairfax Sakes
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Akimit says...

Fairfax Sakes wrote:
Nathan AdIer wrote: Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?
Why? Becaause shut the f*ck up, thats why.
Nicely put !!
[quote][p][bold]Fairfax Sakes[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Nathan AdIer[/bold] wrote: Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?[/p][/quote]Why? Becaause shut the f*ck up, thats why.[/p][/quote]Nicely put !! Akimit
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Fri 15 Feb 13

StyleCop says...

Desired Things - (desiderata) - This is for you Nathan.

"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy."

Even Trolls can change.
Desired Things - (desiderata) - This is for you Nathan. "Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." Even Trolls can change. StyleCop
  • Score: 0

11:10pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Nathan AdIer says...

I was going to read it all then I noticed your last line. I then refused to read on, so it is wasted on me. Hey ho.

One modern irony of the left wing do gooders is they want to forgive filth but are on the whole anti-christian (anti-religion) Yet it is Christianity that says we should forgive and turn the other cheek.

I think irony is the right word anyway.
I was going to read it all then I noticed your last line. I then refused to read on, so it is wasted on me. Hey ho. One modern irony of the left wing do gooders is they want to forgive filth but are on the whole anti-christian (anti-religion) Yet it is Christianity that says we should forgive and turn the other cheek. I think irony is the right word anyway. Nathan AdIer
  • Score: 0

9:13am Tue 19 Feb 13

thevoiceoftruth says...

Nathan AdIer wrote:
Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads?

Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul.

Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad.

Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not.

Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum?

The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony.

Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?
Glad to hear you have never broken the law in your life, if that is indeed true. Here's a medal.

Unfortunately, you cannot change your unpleasant personality.

It's not about 'having a love-in' but people do change and battling heroin addiction is incredibly difficult. I have friends who have overcome this and become amazing people. They have to live with their past, which isn't easy as there is a lot of guilt involved.

There is nothing worse than sanctimonious people who cannot even wish someone well when they have turned their life around. You sound like a nasty piece of work and I pity your friends and family, who certainly wouldn't turn to you if they were in trouble.

Well done, James. An inspiring story and I'm chuffed to bits for you!
[quote][p][bold]Nathan AdIer[/bold] wrote: Am I the only one who has no sympathy for smack heads? Oh this poor man, poor, poor soul. Nobody forced a needle in to his arm full of vile, illegal poison. It was his selfish choice, no matter how bad his life. But given he actually had a house and wife, it doesn't sound that bad. Is he now repaying all the stuff he burgled and stole? Probably not. Why should we praise and have a group love-in for somebody who is little more than a thieving scum? The irony of it all is that these blooming do-gooders on here will probably vilify me for saying this, but then again I have NEVER broken the law or stole anything in my life. Oh the sweet irony. Aren't I a bad man for not saying well done to a former smackhead?[/p][/quote]Glad to hear you have never broken the law in your life, if that is indeed true. Here's a medal. Unfortunately, you cannot change your unpleasant personality. It's not about 'having a love-in' but people do change and battling heroin addiction is incredibly difficult. I have friends who have overcome this and become amazing people. They have to live with their past, which isn't easy as there is a lot of guilt involved. There is nothing worse than sanctimonious people who cannot even wish someone well when they have turned their life around. You sound like a nasty piece of work and I pity your friends and family, who certainly wouldn't turn to you if they were in trouble. Well done, James. An inspiring story and I'm chuffed to bits for you! thevoiceoftruth
  • Score: 0

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