On the 17th July, my incredibly motivated cousin will begin a 190 mile coast-to-coast walk across northern England. Stephen is walking in memory of my brother, Danny and is making the journey to raise awareness of addiction and to raise valuable funds to support an incredible charity, Action on Addiction. He intends to leave a copy of my book, The Counsellor, in a prominent random picturesque spot, every day, “in the hope that it gets picked up, read, enjoyed, passed on and finds its way to someone who can take some comfort from it”. Through his journey and my book, we hope he can raise funds and awareness of something that has truly devastated many peoples lives. Including our own darling Danny’s, who would be so proud of his cousin for taking this on. And let’s be honest, would tell him he was completely mad!
Please do show him your support in one (or ALL) of the following ways:
GIVE US FEEDBACK: Each day Stephen will be wearing a new t-shirt with poignant quotes from my book, in the hope that it’ll be a talking point and spread awareness of its messages. Please do comment below or contact me if any specific quotes or sections stood out to you and you think they may resonate with others.
Hello, I am Stephen Cletheroe a 55-year-old non-athlete who is aiming to complete my walking journey from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay to symbolise the journey of many people suffering with addiction and the friends and families who end up being drawn in and becoming very heavily involved in their loved ones’ trek through life. As with so many people carrying out charity work or getting involved in challenges, I have a personal interest as my cousin, Danny aged 45, did not get to complete his life journey and succumbed to the pressures and difficulties of his own addiction and passed away too early, on the 18th November 2019.
I will be walking in Danny’s memory and hope to raise awareness and some money for Action of Addiction charity who are focused on supporting families affected by addiction. My journey will commence on Saturday 17th July at St Bees in Cumbria on the west coast on the beach with a toe dip in the Irish Sea and with plenty of good luck and a fair wind I hope to dip the same toe in the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast eight days later. The 190 – mile Coast to Coast path will see a mileage of just under 24 miles per day, which for me will be a true test.
The challenge would not be possible without the wholehearted support of my girlfriend, Adele Dugdale. Adele will be my sole support for the entire journey, with me being completely reliant on her help, which will include ferrying me to the start line each morning and collecting me at the end of the walking day and taking us both back to the evening’s accommodation.
After Danny’s passing, his sister, Alison Kerwin published a book within which she opens up about the difficulties and strain of dealing with and supporting someone living with addiction as well as coping with the grief that consumed the family after Danny’s death. The book titled, “The Counsellor” is a really raw and hard hitting read and I would highly recommend anyone who is affected directly or indirectly by addiction or the grief resulting from addiction to pick up a copy. Each day of my walk, I will be leaving a copy of The Counsellor in a prominent random picturesque spot in the hope that it gets picked up, read, enjoyed, passed on and finds its way to someone who can take some comfort from the book’s content.
I am not a complete novice walker and have undertaken some long-distance wanders in the past. I do see walking as my own addiction and feel very lucky that putting one foot in front of the other and then repeating is my fix of choice. Most days I am thinking about my next walk and each one undertaken could have been further but try and take it away and the anxious feelings and irritable behaviour consumes me.
People with addictive personalities have no control of the subject they are drawn to and can endure constant battles to exert some control over their behaviour. Addiction does not just affect the sufferers but spreads further afield to encompass the sufferer’s family and loved ones.
I hope my endeavours go some way to raising awareness and some much-needed funds to help the running of the Action of Addiction charity in their valuable work. I hope you enjoy following my trip across the country and good speed and fair wind to you all in your life’s journey.
Learn more about Alison Kerwin’s book The Counsellor: A powerful true story about addiction, grief and love.