Former addict faces fears

Gary Topley, reformed alcoholic from Chesterfield.
Gary Topley, reformed alcoholic from Chesterfield.

A reformed alcoholic is planning a trip of a lifetime to celebrate five years of sobriety.

Gary Topley plans to embrace his new-found zest for life when he visits Cape Town this month - by doing everything that terrifies him!

The 35-year-old is set to abseil 367ft down Table Mountain - the highest natural commercial abseil in the world - and go cage-diving with sharks, putting him face-to-face with deadly Great Whites.

Gary told The Star: “I’m planning to overcome some of my biggest fears on this trip, to celebrate how rich my life is five years on from addiction and, hopefully, to inspire others to overcome their own addictions.

“After 15 years of personal issues with alcohol addiction, I have first-hand experience of managing my own fears, which I know can lead to barriers being created.

“I have an extreme fear of heights, so this will be one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced.”

Gary, of Chesterfield, now an alcohol awareness specialist, is excited about his trip on March 19, though admits he is a little apprehensive - which, he says, is entirely the point.

“If I can do it, anyone can. I really want to show people struggling with addiction that their fears can be overcome.”