Singer and designer Pearl Lowe on how quitting drugs has changed her life for the better.
Singer and designer Pearl Lowe was from a happy, stable background. But she got sucked into a life of cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.
The mum of four and partner of Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey had her first joint by the age of 13, her first line of cocaine at 15, and began taking ecstasy at 18. Later she became addicted to heroin and cocaine.
She explains how she managed to kick her destructive habit.
When did you realise you had to give up drugs?
"I think there were many points when I knew I had to stop. If you talk to anyone who's in recovery, they'll tell you it takes a few scares for you finally to give up.
"With heroin, the incident that made me feel ‘enough is enough’ was when I was high on heroin and my son Alfie (who was three) took a load of my sleeping pills. I was upstairs getting off my head on smack. It was a really horrible experience. Luckily, I happened to come downstairs just in time and got them out of his mouth before he swallowed them.
"That's when I got clean from heroin. I stayed clean for six months. But then I got into coke in a really bad way."
Why did you start doing cocaine after kicking heroin?
"I really don't know why I took coke. I hated it, I hated the way it made me feel, I hated the mother I had become, hated the person I was. I kept it secret from everyone.
"It was the horrible tabloid storm [the press alleged that Danny and Pearl had been involved in wife-swapping sessions with two well-known actors in 2001] that made me relapse. But, on the other hand, it made me clean up my act. I thought, 'I am going to turn my life around. I’m going to move to the countryside, change my friends, change my life'."
How hard was it to do that?
"It was really, really hard. I won't lie and say it was easy. I went to a counsellor and Narcotics Anonymous, and I had to listen to lots of stuff about myself that was really hard to hear.
"There were lots of people who wouldn’t talk to me afterwards because I’d stopped doing drugs. It can be really, really hurtful. You don’t know who your friends are until you give up drugs.
"You just know you want to be clean. You have very dark moments, but nothing as dark as when you're doing drugs. I knew I was following the light and getting out of a dark tunnel."
Why didn't you go into rehab?
"I did talk about rehab with my counsellor, but I knew that rehab wasn’t the answer for me. I knew I could do it on my own. I knew I had to get away from London and go to lots of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. I didn’t want to put my kids through another bout of rehab. Instead, I went to NA meetings every day. Now I'm on a more spiritual programme. I go to a healing-circle group. Really, it’s about doing whatever works for you."
What advice would you give to someone wanting to kick drugs?
"Go to NA first. It’s very important for a newcomer to realise there are other people on the same path as them and to meet them. Also, you’ve got to leave all your friends who you did drugs with. But you'll make new friends, I promise.
"I would warn you that you'll feel quite boring. But then again, I took drugs because I was bored. You're not boring by not doing drugs. You're just a normal person, you know, going to bed at 11 or 12 o’clock at night rather than five or seven in the morning. I mean, that’s not normal, and it’s not good for you.
"I would also say there is so much help out there, but you’ve got to want it. Follow your gut and journey towards the light. And remember, you don’t have to go through it alone. When you’ve done it you’ll be amazed how your life has turned around."
How do you feel now you're clean?
"I feel amazing! I wake up in the morning and I just feel so great. I’m able to work too. One of the things I was never able to do [on drugs] was work. I was always cancelling things. People thought I was unreliable, whereas I actually have a strong work ethic. But I was off my head. Now I’m always on time and very professional.
"And the other day, a friend of mine said I looked 10 years younger since I quit, so that was nice! I’ve got my rosy cheeks back again.
"I just feel so alive. And being a better mum, well, that goes without saying. Before, I was always guilt-ridden, forgetting to take the kids to birthday parties, things like that. Now, I'm always there for them and we have a great time together. All my children and my partner Danny are so proud of me."
- Pearl Lowe has written a book about her battle with drugs. 'All That Glitters' is published by Hodder & Stoughton.