Hollyoaks star Paul Danan has spoken out about relapsing during the first UK lockdown, which left him homeless and alone in a hotel room taking cocaine and suffering from hallucinations.
The actor, 43, has spoken candidly about the experience and how getting through it has got him to the “best ever” place he has been.
He spoke to The Sun: “I felt so terrible, guilty and ashamed when I started using again. I was like, I can’t believe I am back here. It got really scary.”
The actor, known for his Hollyoaks role as Sol Patrick, has struggled with cocaine addiction over the years, but has now been clean for almost two years.
He said: “I didn’t want to be on my own in lockdown so I left my flat in Hertfordshire and moved back in with mum and dad in Essex. I thought everything would be fine as I hadn’t touched any drugs in 18 months and life was good.”
At the time, the soap star was recording his podcast The Morning After and he was attending support meetings online.
But, lockdown got to Paul and, after being diagnosed with ADHD in 2019, he began to struggle.
He revealed: “I started to get really bad cabin fever and frustrated. I needed to get out and felt like I was going mad.”
Paul then made a decision that saw him spiral out of control, in May of 2020 he gave notice on his flat.
He recalled: “I didn’t want to keep paying rent on a flat I wasn’t staying in, so I decided to get rid of it.”
“But when I went to collect my things, I saw an empty baggie when I was clearing up and it triggered something.
“I ended up bumping into someone outside and getting some cocaine from them. It was a moment of like, ‘F**k it, I’m not going to get another chance.’ Then I went back to my parents and used.
“I only had a few lines but it was enough to get the taste again. They say one line is too many, a thousand is never enough, and that’s what it’s like.”
As things spiralled for the star he “ended up blagging my way into a Holiday Inn in West London" which was where things "got really bad" for the star.
Paul explained: “For two weeks, I didn’t sleep and was just taking a few grams of coke all day.
“I started having psychosis and believing that the police were going to come in through the door.
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“I was also seeing things that weren’t really there. My brain was doing somersaults and it was terrifying. I was in a state.”
Eventually Paul was saved when a rehab facility in the Cotswolds were able to take him in.
He said: “I checked in and stayed there for three and a half months. It was there that I found out I wasn’t on the right ADHD medication but they sorted all that for me and got me an ADHD psychiatrist, too.”
Paul is now 20 months clean, he said: “In a weird way, I’m grateful that I went through the relapse in lockdown as I wouldn’t be where I am now, having achieved all I have achieved.”
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