Scotland

Colin McNair: 'I blew being a top footballer for drugs'

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Media captionColin McNair is now a volunteer helping people who have alcohol and drug addictions

Promising footballer Colin McNair has been speaking to BBC Scotland about how he slipped into a world of drugs. But he has beaten his habit and is now back in the game he loves - as a volunteer helping others going through the scourge of alcohol and drug addiction.

At the start of his football career Colin McNair had the world at his feet.

He said: "It was a dream come true for me. It's all I'd ever dreamed of all my life; I wanted to be a football player.

"I was fortunate enough to make it at the very top level. Hearts, Falkirk, Motherwell, before I'm the age of 21. Then I got introduced and I tried a bit of drugs, and it was just a downward spiral very quickly."

Over the next 25 years Colin lost everything. He spent time in prison and ended up begging on the streets of Glasgow after he sold his house for cash and spent it all on drugs.

He explained: "The lowest point when I knew I needed help was when I was sitting begging in the street, and when my mental health got shot to pieces.

"And the drugs had stopped working; they only took away the physical withdrawal. That's all they'd done, they'd stopped working basically. I was just in a very bad place. Basically I wanted to die at the end of my using, but I didn't have the courage to end my life."

'Thousands of people'

Colin says treatment and support in recovery is critical but that he had to wait a long time for it.

"First time it took six and a half months," he said.

"And I thought I'd get in because I'd never been in treatment before but it's a process you're meant to go through, there's thousands of people wanting the kind of help that you're wanting. So it's just a matter of 'when your number comes up we'll give you a call."

Colin now spends his time volunteering at Hamilton Academical helping other people in addiction and recovery.

He said: "So I came here to Hamilton Accies. There's people here that are in addiction, have got family members in addiction.

"Through my past in football I got introduced here and it's just been one of the greatest things in my life - I love it."

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