A former heroin user who joined the military after turning his life around has raised more than £17,000 for Scottish charities.
Paul Boggie, who grew up in Edinburgh but now lives in Fife, has written two books about his personal experiences of addiction.
His life spiralled out of control when he first tried smoking heroin at the age of 18.
“All my friends were doing it, I thought, how dangerous can it be? I’m not going to get addicted,” he said.
“I was very naive.
“The drug gave me that element of escape. I fell in love with not caring.
“Unfortunately, I went back the second time, the third time, the fourth time…weeks turned into months.”
He was 25 when he began his path to recovery after completing a course offered by local charity Cyrenians.
I was sceptical of the course, at first. It wasn’t about addiction. I didn’t think it could fix me.
“But it helped me learn about was about the power of the mind, positive thinking and the way I talk to myself.”
By the age of 30, his life went in a drastically different direction when he joined the Scots Guards.
He says it was hard for him to get his head around: “Five years after being a heroin addict, I’m standing outside Buckingham Palace with a bearskin and a rifle, guarding the Queen.
“Once I got the physical side of the cold turkey and keep my mind strong, I could rebuild my life piece by piece.”
Paul – now 19 years clean – has been reflecting on those experiences in two books he started writing in lockdown.
So far he’s raised £17,500 in sales – with all proceeds going to charities supporting people in recovery, or who find themselves homeless.
In some cases he has donated cash directly to the causes, and in others he has bought items he thinks they will need, such as sleeping bags.
He’s also speaking in schools and prisons about his journey to get clean, in the hope that sharing his story will offer optimism to others who find themselves struggling in addiction.
He said: “Addiction is not a physical illness; it’s a mental health illness.
“I’d given up on life, but I went cold turkey and decided to turn my life around.
“I have families messaging me saying I have given them hope for their relatives.
“I want to prove to people that there is life after addiction. I want to tell people never to give up.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country