“Be the person you want to be”

Having seen life on both sides as a footballer, that which you do see, on a match-day, and the darker side that occurs behind the scenes when your personal life hits a downward spiral, Richie Paxton has been there, and come out the other side a better, stronger person.

In beginning his footballing career at the turn of the millennium, with then Football League Division Three side, Darlington (during which he also had a loan spell with Spennymoor United), ‘Paco,’ as he’s affectionately, was preparing himself for life in the pros, then it went downhill.

Rejection, and already embarking on an addictive life, was secretly spiralling; a drop down the leagues, and starting off in the amateur game in the backwaters of the Deerness Valley, at Esh Winning, ensued – as did a three-fold addiction of drink, drugs and gambling at UK casino sites.

“Football was, in all honesty, my first addiction, then gambling, then using drugs, and so on” began Richie, now 36-years-old and planning for a much better future, helping others who’ve had the misfortune of hitting the same path he has.

“I just found myself cycling between the three from when I was 16 really; then, when I lost my first son, Dylan, at 18, I used gambling as a way of blocking out all of the pain and emotions.

“I just hit the self-destruct button and it spiralled downhill from there really.”

Once in the Northern League, and with the social lifestyle a big part of the match-day experience, Richie, or ‘Paco’ as he’s known to pretty much all, would use that as an excuse to cover up his habits. It was an ever-increasing addiction that was fast becoming somewhat all-consuming.

“Once the weekend came around I just wanted to get off my face,” explained Richie.

“For some fourteen years of my life there was something every day, it even spilled over into my work life; then the gambling returned (in my early thirties) until one day my mother came in and just left the numbers of support groups on the table and just said, ‘maybe you want to use one of those.’

“And one of those was Sporting Chance.”

With the assistance of Sporting Chance, who he’ll be working with moving forward, Richie would get his life back on track with incredible effects.

Having appeared for thirteen clubs in nineteen years as a footballer, between 2000 and 2019, his last club being that of Whickham, Richie enjoyed three spells at Jarrow Roofing and Washington, as well as two apiece at Sunderland RCA and South Shields, that first outing in the Northern League, with Esh Winning, would be his longest, between 2002 and 2005.

Now an exercise specialist, Richie runs ‘The LIFE Programme CIC’ and is due to finish a counselling degree at Sunderland University early next year whilst also launching ‘Richie Paxton Counselling and Coaching.’

Because of this, it’s become time, the right time, for him to tell what is his story, that of a life of addiction in sport, and how he’s come out of the other side.

“I feel that I can spot a mile off people who are going through similar,” added Richie.

“Everybody that I’ve played football with, also close friends and family, know my story, but you have to be brutally honest with yourself as well in order to move forward.”

In launching his new Counselling and Coaching business there’ll be social media platforms, a website, a free e-book download, and ongoing assistance from Richie and a closed circuit team of qualified individuals.

Keep up-to-date with proceedings via the ‘Richie Paxton Counselling and Coaching’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/richiepaxtoncounselling/ whilst all media requests are to be directed to Inside Mann Media & PR via petermann78@hotmail.com