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.
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.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- WITH VIDEO: Beach hut destroyed by fire from handyman's dropped cigarette
- Brighton singer's X-Factor dreams dashed as her band is voted out
- Designer hosts art exhibit at his home in aid of lido restoration
- Girl’s life transformed by a trip to the optician
- Man marks milestone by helping hospice