John Taylor

My name is John Taylor and I have been given a gift.
The gift of being a qualified counsellor.
For over fifteen years, I have been helping people process their trauma which often goes all the way back to childhood.
I am the wounded helper.
For over fifteen years, I have been working in the field of addiction. I specialise working with families and friends who have been affected by another’s addiction. (The forgotten people as I call them.)
Addiction does just not affect the addict, it affects everyone around them as well. I know this and have known it since I was eight years old.
If I was to go on Mastermind my specialist subject would be ‘addiction in the family and childhood trauma.’
‘Okay Mr Taylor, you have two minutes on your specialist subject starting from now……….’  

One of my first clients when I started my counselling training was a sixty-two year old man who had first been abused as a seven year old by his alcoholic mother’s boyfriend. He knew his mother wouldn’t believe him so never told her and thought he would get in trouble if he told anyone else. So instead he carried his ‘dirty secrets’ for fifty-five years thinking it was his fault until the day he started his therapy with me.
I helped him realise that these were not his secrets to keep anymore as he started his journey to heal from the trauma of his childhood and to explore why he was the man he was.
I got a calling the day I started to work with that man. This man in his sixties with an alcoholic mother trusted someone for the first time in his life to talk about what happened to him in his childhood. This someone was me. I knew from that day what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I wanted to help people with their trauma brought on by someone else’s addiction. I wanted to listen to them and let them know they are not alone anymore.
There seemed to be a lot of support for people who had addiction problems but none for the families and friends. It’s a little better today but not by much.

It has taken a lot of time, plenty of reflection, and a ‘lockdown’ to find the courage and start the process to write everything down from my childhood so that I can find out why I am the man I am today.
I am also hoping that my book, ‘Alcohol Stole My Mum’ will help the millions of people who grew up with traumatic childhoods like mine. I hope it can start a healing process that tells them that they are not alone and they do not have to hold onto their secrets anymore.
I grew up with an alcoholic mother and rageholic father. My home was a warzone. I was full of fear. I was full of terror. I didn’t know which way to turn or which way to look. The only time I felt safe was when I was playing or watching sports. Arsenal and Celtic were my teams (still are) and their respective home grounds Highbury and Paradise were my sanctuaries.
I was schooled all around the world: London- Australia- Scotland- London- by aged ten. Had issues making friends. In fact, just had issues.
I am a Londoner (I have the accent to prove it) bred in the West End, Covent Garden and Soho actually.
However, been born in Australia and both my parents being Scottish, I spent most of my life looking for an identity.
I used to have a drink problem, a real bad drink problem that nearly killed me.
I identified with Richard Burton when they asked him why he drank so much… ‘Because it takes away the pain….’
I soon found out that drink was not my problem. I was the problem but had to stop drinking to discover this.
Went into rehab and found out that hurt people hurt people. I did the twelve step program.
Have been clean and sober since 2003 (one day at a time!)
It’s another gift I have been given that I do not have to drink or take drugs anymore to feel normal. Whatever normal is.
I have two grown up daughters who have taught me everything about life, especially about love. They showed me that I am loveable.
Would I have been able to get sober without my girls? Probably not.
Would I have wanted to get sober without my girls? Probably not.
I still like to keep fit today, some would say I am a fitness fanatic. I would agree with them as training is wonderful therapy that helps with my thought process.
However, it is probably the one addiction I still have left, please don’t take that one away.
It’s nice to be nice. I try and practice this everyday. I had enough aggression in my childhood to last into infinity and beyond.
As the editor of my book the wonderfully gifted Simon Wells sang. ‘Please be kind, some of us have been left behind.’
Please listen to his song ‘PLEASE BE KIND’ as it was given to me by Simon before his tragic passing and is now my book’s anthem.
I was left behind as that little boy.
I didn’t have a voice as that little boy.  
But not anymore.  
Love and Kindness x  

Paolo Hewitt

Paolo Hewitt started his writing career on the music publications, Melody Maker and NME. The fact that both publications are no longer on sale in a physical form is not at all linked to his work there. He has since gone onto publish twenty-three books, including, The Looked After Kid, But We All Shine On and Colour Me Father, his acclaimed trilogy inspired by his time spent growing up in care. Other works include landmark publications on The Beatles, Bowie and Oasis, and the footballer Robin Friday. He lives near Tottenham and dotes on his children.