Steve Byrne, 55, started smoking cannabis heavily when he was just 15-years-old and only quit when an x-ray revealed he had developed progressive lung disease emphysema.
But Steve says he has “never felt better” after quitting, especially after channelling his new-found energy into helping others struggling with his former situation.
Steve, a former postman, said: “I know first-hand what a battle it can be to stop smoking cannabis.
“I had been smoking it for so long, that cannabis was who I was- it had become integrated into my identity.
“But it’s dangerous stuff. It’s the world’s biggest myth that cannabis never killed anyone.
“The day the doctor told me he had found dark shadows on my lungs, I knew I had to take action. I smoked my last bit of cannabis on May 12 2013.
“I hate words like ‘journey’ but that’s exactly what I’ve been on.”
Steve has already set up a successful support group in Watford, where he is originally from, and hopes to continue his good work after moving to Worksop.
“I love the cameraderie of the groups. We’re all like-minded people and have some great banter. People can say as little or as much as they want and bring friends or family along. We put support plans together to get them on track.”
One former addict who has been helped by the support group is Andrew, who wished to withhold his surname.
The 32-year-old had been smoking cannabis since he was 13 and quit on Christmas Eve.
Andrew said: “At that age I was being badly bullied and I tried to take my own life. I didn’t succeed, but needed another way of coping and ended up smoking weed.
“Other people around me would smoke it and I thought that I finally had friends.
“I was spending £70 a day on the drug. But last Christmas I asked my mum what she wanted for Christmas and she said, ‘I want my son back’.
“I decided to get clean and I could not have done it without Steve’s group. We’re one big family and I can’t thank him enough.”
You can drop in at one of Steve’s support groups at Worksop’s Crown House on Newcastle Avenue on Mondays from 5pm until 6.45pm.
You can also contact Steve for more information on 07582133431 or 0115 89607980.