Off to Ever­est

Team have all beaten ad­dic­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Three men from Ruther­glen and Castlemilk who over­came ad­dic­tion are head­ing on the jour­ney of a life­time next month. John Ferns, Davie Main and Donald Martin are trekking to Ever­est base camp with friends from Cal­ton Ath­letic.

Three men from Ruther­glen and Castlemilk are pre­par­ing to trek to Ever­est base camp next month.

But that will still be nowhere near the great­est chal­lenge of their lives.

John Ferns, Donald Martin and Davie Mains have all over­come ad­dic­tion thanks to sup­port group Cal­ton Ath­letic.

The trio will jet out to Nepal along­side five others on Novem­ber 10 to tackle the world’s high­est moun­tain, a far cry from their days when ad­dic­tion left them at rock bot­tom.

Each man has en­dured their own jour­ney to get there and, ac­cord­ing to Davie, Ever­est will be a pic­nic com­pared to his bat­tle with drink and drugs.

A promising foot­baller in his youth, the 47-year-old now lives in Burnside, hav­ing first ap­proached Cal­ton at the age of just 20.

He said: “The big­gest chal­lenge for us is get­ting through one day at a time. Go­ing to Ever­est is ex­cit­ing but noth­ing com­pares with those early days.

“I have a lot of time un­der my belt now but the first few years are a per­son’s big­gest chal­lenge but also the most re­ward­ing one.”

Look­ing back on his dark­est days, Davie said: “I was a prospect. I played foot­ball but I thought I was miss­ing out on some­thing with my friends and got in­volved.

“I don’t blame my friends. I only blame my­self.

“By the age of 20 I had lost ev­ery­thing. I think peo­ple only start to get bet­ter when doors start closing on them.

“Peo­ple were get­ting fed up try­ing to help me.

“When my daugh­ter was born and prison was com­ing into view, that’s when I knew I had to do some­thing.

“A few of my pals died. It was get­ting a lot more se­ri­ous. It wasn’t harm­less fun any­more.

“Back then I couldn’t see past the next day but when I went to Cal­ton I was lis­ten­ing to peo­ple who had got their lives to­gether.

“The main goal is to stay sober. I went in 1989 and we were go­ing to go to the World Cup in Italy the next year. That was my goal: to stay sober and the end prod­uct was the trip.”

Donald, who works with Davie at the Kib­ble, a spe­cial­ist ser­vice for young peo­ple at risk, is a rel­a­tive new­comer at Cal­ton com­pared with the other two, hav­ing been go­ing for 11 years.

He de­cided to go to Cal­ton af­ter al­co­hol “took me places I didn’t want to be”.

He has al­ready been to Machu Pic­chu in Peru and the Aus­trian Alps but he ad­mits Ever­est is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent prospect.

“When we went to Aus­tria I had to write a re­sume and I said that maybe one day I would get to Ever­est.

“It just shows these things can hap­pen. We’ve been plan­ning this for two years and that gives us a fo­cus to stay sober.”

As well as Cal­ton, Donald, 37, who now stays in Spit­tal, cred­its his wife Les­leyanne for help­ing him through.

“My wife has been a rock,” he said, “but I think she’s ex­cited to get rid of me for a few weeks.

“With­out her this would not have hap­pened be­cause she stuck by me. We only got mar­ried last year and I’m ac­tu­ally go­ing to be away for my wed­ding an­niver­sary.

“She un­der­stands it is about the other guys as well.”

Bus driver John, 49, has or­gan­ised the trip and he re­vealed Ever­est will tick off one item on his am­bi­tious bucket list.

He said: “When I was a boy I wanted to go three places: the Moon, the poles and to Mount Ever­est. They all seemed so far away.

“I am in re­cov­ery 14 years and if you had said to me back then I would be do­ing this I would have laughed.

“When I was abus­ing I couldn’t even get up Castlemilk Drive, never mind Ever­est. I’m thrilled.”

Cal­ton have a fo­cus on phys­i­cal well­be­ing help­ing peo­ple’s men­tal well­be­ing and the three also took part in the Great Scot­tish Run at the week­end.

The group had to fundraise all the money for the trip with­out a spon­sor, al­though they re­ceived a grant from the Scot­tish Moun­taineer­ing Trust.

The Re­former first re­vealed de­tails of the trip in 2014, and, now it is near­ing the ac­tual time, John from Castlemilk is fi­nally get­ting ex­cited.

“I’d say I’m get­ting some but­ter­flies,” he said.

“I’ve been or­gan­is­ing this from the start, for two years, so I’ve prob­a­bly been too busy to ac­tu­ally sense the re­al­ity of it.

“Now ev­ery­thing is in place, I am ac­tu­ally get­ting a bit of a feel for it.”

You can fol­low the group’s progress on the Cal­ton Ath­letic Face­book page.

Moun­tain to climb Davie Main, John Ferns and Donald Martin

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