Sussex businessman, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, shares his story to mark seven years of being clean and sober

Jordan Goatley has much to celebrate but he is fully aware it has been a long road to get where he is today, and his mental health will always be an issue.

A recovering alcoholic and drug addict, he is marking seven years of being clean and sober today, his mother’s birthday and less than three months since the man who saved him, his father, died of cancer.

Jordan is a director at the family business R & D Goatley in Portslade and he learned everything from his hard-working father, Russell Goatley, who died on March 4 at the age of 69.

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“Since my Dad passing, it has made me think that life is too short,” Jordan said. “I do not need to destroy my soul, I’m here to make memories with my family.

Jordan Goatley is a director at the family business R & D Goatley in Portslade

“Each day I have to work on myself to get myself in fit spiritual condition, and trust me it’s not always roses but it’s far better than using any drugs of any sort.”

Jordan is sharing his story to show his life has transformed with help, giving hope to others who have had similar difficulties.

He said: “I struggle with mental health, I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and I’m 7 years clean and sober today – May 19, 2014, to May 19, 2021. I do my best to help others like myself who suffer from mental illness.

“I was a hopeless drug addict for at least ten years, if not more of my life. My life was never planned to be a drug addict, I just thought at first it was normal, going out having a few drinks and a few lines, dancing the night away, and then I started wishing my life would end of the pain I was in mentally and physically.

“I started off at a young age smoking pot with friends after school, doing bong mixes and getting the munchies, and I was quite happy just doing that. Then, as I got little older, I tried ecstasy a few times. I didn’t like the way it made me feel but at the time this is what was around, so I did it.

“Then I got introduced to cocaine and from the start, I loved it because it changed the way I felt about myself. I always felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere until cocaine came into my life. But very quickly it went from doing cocaine once at weekends to every night on my own in my room. My only friend was cocaine and booze.

“I would wake up in the night, full fear, sweating, tossing and turning, looking out the curtains thinking the police were coming for me. I would sit there watching the TV on mute because every sound made me paranoid.

“My life was out of control. I would steal off loved ones to pay for my addiction. I would constantly lie to try to get myself out of trouble. I was lost in life, everything about me was a mess. I didn’t know a way.

“My mum and dad found out what I was doing, as I was stealing their money and I got caught. So, they put me into rehab the next day for four weeks. I wasn’t going to do a runner, I got on with what I was shown in rehab. I tried while there and I did okay but I had no plan of continuing meetings when I left rehab. I already had planned what I was going to do and that was get fit, do boxing – and I did.

“It lasted a year and a bit, clean and sober but what I know now is that I was a mess without drink drugs in me. I suffered, I was mental, so I decided to do cocaine again, which lasted a good few more years.”

Then came the turnaround. His mum and dad were due back from holiday on May 19, 2014, and the night before, Jordan was taking cocaine and drinking neat gin from the bottle.

He said: “I hated it but that’s all there was. I was so scared, I was all on my own but too scared to call my brothers or an ambulance. I said please, if I get through this tonight, I will stop. I said this so many times before but this felt different. I knew this was my time.

“Next morning, my mum and dad were back and my dad took me to a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in Hove. I heard a guy say ‘if there is anyone new here tonight, you’re in the right place and you never have to pick a drink or drug up again in your life’.

“That guy is today my sponsor. He showed me how to get clean and sober and I continue to do the same by giving back what I was shown.”

Jordan met the love of his life in the middle of it all and they have now been married for nearly three years. He is making amends to the people he hurt.

He had always feared the loss of a loved one would take him back but fortunately, he has stayed strong since his father passed away.

Jordan said: “This has been the hardest thing I and my family have ever experienced, as Dad was the main man. I worked with him every day, and family life, and now he is not here. But I haven’t had to use and that is a gift. My dad’s still here with me.

“My life is not perfect. I still mess up from time to time but I can correct my wrongs today and be honest with others. Honesty is big part of my recovery, it sets me free.

“All those thoughts that I’m the only person who behaves the way I did when using, and I find out there are millions of ‘me’ all wanting help. I thank my fellows and my family and especially my father for taking me to that first meeting back in 2014. Without him doing that I might not be here.

“If there anyone struggling, please stop. Your life is not over, you just have to be willing to change your life. Today, my life is normal and that’s really all I ever wanted. I do not care if I fit in anywhere, I am who I am. Today I am me.”