Former drink and drugs man who was told he would 'amount to nothing' publishes his second book
A MAN who was told by “doom merchants” that he would never make anything of his life is busy writing his second book.
Farnworth-born Billy Isherwood, aged 62, was back in town to give a guest presentation to an audience at Bolton Library on how he managed to turn his life around.
His experiences are told in his first book, Dead Man Running, with a second planned next year entitled Aftermath, which will bring his readers up to date.
He said: “When I was 12 I was still reading Janet and John, at George Tomlinson Secondary, and for many I had already been written off.
“The people around me were telling me I would never amount to much, I would never go anywhere, yet recently The Times did a five-page spread on Usain Bolt and then the same on me — anything is possible.”
Mr Isherwood recounts that during his teenage years in Bolton, he was in trouble and ended up before magistrates after a road accident when he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
He explains: “After I left Bolton at the age of 17, things got worse for me after I appeared at a court in Cornwall on a charge of possessing marijuana.
In those days this was a serious offence and I thought I would end up in prison, but as it turned out they fined me £100.”
For much of his life Mr Isherwood admits he entered a spiral of decline made worse by drink and drugs, until he finally hit rock bottom in 2003.
“I have yet to see a happy drunk or a happy drug addict,” he said. “I was in what seemed like a bottomless pit of despair and one night I cried out for God to help me; from that moment onwards things seemed to get better.”
He joined a gym to lose a few pounds for a trip to Crete and discovered a passion, which he believes saved his life, and ran his first marathon in Nottingham in 2004.
Mr Isherwood, who now lives in Whitby, went on to defy doctors, who told him he would not live beyond 50.
He went from taking a large number of drugs and downing 20 pints of lager to competing in one of the world’s toughest races across Chile’s Atacoma desert, a total of 150 miles in seven days. Despite hallucinations and severely swollen feet, he crossed the finishing line in 73 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds.
The father-of-three said: “The thing that kept me going throughout that treacherous terrain was the demons in my head, including those who said I would never do anything with my life. It was so sweet when I crossed the finish line.”
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