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It was a good way to stay bonded.” But he became moody, paranoid.He stole from his parents, and spent all his Social Security on the drug. Tony tells me of walking in on his son in his bedroom one day to see him dancing around a box of syringes in anticipation of shooting up, and how Paul’s problems drove a wedge between Tony and Carole, who dealt with their son’s problems in very different ways.
They tried various rehabilitation programmes, but Paul frequently lapsed.I was virtually an alcoholic when I started using, and my friends had been introduced to heroin.I suppose I felt a little left out, and wanted to remain a part of their scene.The Manchester-born 38-year-old is in a healthy relationship, and a father of two. “If my parents had shut the door on me,” he says, quietly, “I wouldn’t be here now.No question.” , about his elderly father’s battle with the condition.“As a parent, you wonder where you went wrong, what more you could have done to help,” he says.
He suggests that Paul had been a happy child, good at music, promising at sports.“I wanted to keep it simple because people respond to simplicity, I think,” Tony says.“There was a lot of misery in our lives, but I didn’t want to go overboard.Over the course of just 58 pages, he sketches – in both senses of the word – Paul’s spiralling addiction, the distress that caused, and his eventual recovery.The true horror of a habit that lasted almost 15 years is only ever hinted at.Paul says his parents never did that with him; they couldn’t.