Creator of Break The Chain
“Free yourself from the shackles of the mind.”
Hi name is James Dear and I am the founder of break the chain.
I decided the start this movement because I spent 16 years in a prison of my own mind. I was a helpless drug addict, a slave to chemicals that took almost everything from me. I got bullied a lot in my younger years and I battled with severe anxiety in my later 20’s, but the most devastating part has been losing 7 friends to suicide.
These events are so common that you could classify them as normal, but this is not acceptable. Action has to be taken!
I have managed to navigate my way out of the chaos and I found an alternative way to see the world. It is my pleasure to share my journey with you in the hope that you can see the world with new and inspired eyes and creating positive change for generations to come.
ABOUT JAMES DEAR
“FREE YOURSELF FROM THE SHACKLES OF THE MIND”
In order to understand why break the chain was created you must first know my story…
I grew up in a small country town and have always valued the idea of community. I never felt like I fitted in at school, I struggled with listening and sitting still and I was bullied a lot. It made me feel rejected and lonely. Out of school, I found a group of friends; a mismatch of rebels and misfits that were united by a love of skating and other outgoing activities.
After watching a lot of the iconic stoner movies in the 90’s, I started smoking weed at the unbelievably young age of 12. I would buy small amounts and enjoy smoking with my friends and socialising, but I never felt any desire to do it when I was on my own. Now with a better understanding of addiction, I realised that I was a social addict. At that age, there wasn’t much chance that I would be able to afford to use too much, but everything was fun and harmless under the umbrella of ignorance. I was quite content with my life, as it consisted of skating, messing around and getting stoned with my friends, with almost no responsibilities.
At the age of 17, my friends started using harder drugs. I remember being quite scared of them and I was fairly sure that there was a good chance that I could die. My parents were always very anti-drugs and through their relatively sheltered life, had not come into contact with them. All of my close friends started to try drugs like MDMA, Ketamine, Cocaine and LSD. At this point, any sensible person would tell you to just find some new friends or say no, but as a 17-year-old boy who is highly susceptible to peer pressure and values the close connection with his friends, it is extremely unlikely that he is going to say no.
I tried Ketamine for the first time. I remember thinking how crazy it was, it was like being on the moon in slow motion or like you had drunk half a bottle of vodka, yet with a conscious awareness, and it only lasted for half an hour. It would seem unlikely that you would be wanting to do it on a regular basis.
Slowly but surely every weekend we would be taking drugs and going on adventures. What I experienced was a deep level of connection to all the people around me and the vast variety of human beings that came together through this was magical. It didn’t seem to matter what background you came from; the class, race or interests did not seem to matter. Everybody came together to enjoy themselves and for the most part put their egos aside. There was so much love. There was an even mix of guys and girls, on what I look back now as beautiful but lost souls. I also remember thinking how good it was to see males being able to bond and show their love and support for each other without having to worry about toxic masculinity. People were so open and free to share their thoughts and be creative. I think that made this place a much more appealing place to be than in a testosterone-fueled pub watching football or boxing, worrying about whether you were wearing the right shoes or whether your hair looked good. These realisations were incredibly valuable to me!
For a while this was a weekend wonderland but nothing lasts forever.
As time went on and I got more involved I found that I could no longer afford to fund them. I was an apprentice mechanic and I didn’t make much money. I was presented with an opportunity. Being raised by a businessman I realised that if I sold some to my friends it made weekends free. Looking back I now see how dangerous this choice is – harmless as it may have seemed. Once making this choice you enter into the world of what I call the ‘big bagger’. Much like alcohol, using drugs makes you incredibly high and as a consequence of being high at some point, you are going to come crashing down. What I realised was that if you have more the next day you can actually feel quite good again. I believe that this is the pivotal moment where the addiction is born and your hands are no longer on the steering wheel. The problem with the big bag is that it appears to be almost limitless and free. This, however, is not the case. What happens now is two things. You are enjoying the free supply and you find that you are needing a lot more because your tolerance is building up and you are not prepared to come down and feel like shit. You are also not prepared to face the responsibility that you have left behind. The longer you pretend that reality is not there, the harder it is to deal with when you finally have to face it. Once you have realised that you can make some money out of selling drugs it gets increasingly harder to stop and you start to push to limit. The money may seem like it comes easily but it comes tinged with a paranoid and unhealthy company. In every case of someone who I have witnessed this happen to, over time has become incredibly greedy and selfish, no matter what their original nature. One thing that you don’t take into account when you’re on your delusional cash and popularity fueled ego trip is that you are making a profit directly from your own friend’s addiction and misfortune.
When I was 18 years old I was that guy. I was on the way into a club when I was stopped by two policemen who asked to search me. I panicked. I ran in the opposite direction through a car park which was full of my friends who were attending the event. They were cheering and laughing as the Usain Bolt of the police force chased me no more than a meter behind me at any time despite my chemical advantage. I ran as fast as I could for maybe 500 meters, I had been cornered in by Usain and his partner in the police car. I did what felt like at the time a Hollywood style slide over the bonnet where I came to a sheer drop. I considered jumping, but it was around 6 meters high and I didn’t fancy my chances. Usain grabbed my wrists and slammed my face on the bonnet. They cuffed me tightly and took me to the police station. At that age, I can’t recall what if anything went through my head. After all, I was a complete idiot.
I was charged with possession with intent to supply ketamine, a class C controlled drug and a small number of personal drugs. Magistrates deemed it as too serious for them so I was sent to Crown court. After getting looked at very strangely for selling horse tranquiliser I came out with a suspended prison sentence, a fine and 200 hours of community service. This punishment didn’t phase me but the real lessons were yet to come.
A good few years after that I realised that my experience being through shaming our family business in the local newspaper and the traumatic experience of taking me to court was more than likely the catalyst that sent my mother into a nearly 10-year depression. (You only get one of those in this lifetime and when you value yours as I do it is not something you want on your conscience).
This didn’t stop me from using drugs. My problems didn’t disappear and my surroundings remained the same. This continued for another 5 years. I remember thinking on many occasions: what, if anything, would have an impact on me big enough to make me stop?
The threat of death itself could not stop me.
It is safe to say that I was not in control! I had used drugs heavily for 6 years: I was depressed, I was destroying my relationships with friends and family around me left, right and centre and I was having pains in my body that I knew were signs that were telling me that I needed to stop or soon the damage would be irreversible.
At this point, I had already lost two friends to suicide but the final straw was when one of my dearest and closest friends took their own life!
Not long after I decided something had to change. I booked a flight to Australia with the intention of self-rehabilitating myself. Over the past 7 years, I have been on a progressive road of self-improvement, consciously trying to be better. I try to make sure that I stay open-minded and try to break the chain of any negative habitual behaviour. Often two steps forward and one step back but it doesn’t matter so long as you keep doing your best. I believe that your intent is always noted and your effort is always rewarded.
Since I left I have been searching for the driving forces that underlie my addiction and I finally think that I have uncovered some answers. I knew that there must be a reason why I felt the need to self medicate myself as do the majority of humanity. I believe there is a reason why we are all addicted to something whether it be coffee, diet coke, moaning, washing your hands, working too hard, buying clothes or crack; there is a reason that we don’t want to sit with the silence and look deep inside ourselves. We live in a society that encourages distraction and addiction, where children are given distractions to keep them quiet.
I wanted to find the ‘Why’, because, if I could find the ‘Why’ the ‘How’ would come naturally.
At home my wonderland has turned to chaos, some made it out and some manage to live a life that has some balance, but many friends that I grew up with are still doing the same thing and some are using heroin. It is a logical progression if you want to keep pushing the limit or want to push harder to cover up the pain.
Since 2013 many more have taken their lives. Deciding to leave was a big decision and some said I was running from my problems, whilst that may have been true, if I did not then I may not be here now. On my journey I have realised that my story is not an usual one. I have since observed the extent to which the majority of people are suffering whether it is conscious or unconscious. The suicide rate is increasing at a rapid rate and the world seems to be getting more chaotic by the day. This is why I decided to start break the chain.
I am deeply troubled by the catastrophic rates of mental health issues, which are largely responsible for high levels of addiction and the devastating suicide rates. Not a day goes by where I do not think about those who can’t go a day without numbing themself with some destructive substance or behaviour, those who feel alone and without hope, and mostly those who were in so much pain that they thought that taking their life was the only option.
I have made solving these problems my life purpose.
I have learnt a lot on my travels and have solved many of my own problems through mental, physical and spiritual means. I have also learnt the power of community. That is why I have started a movement that will attempt to give you the information and support needed, in a relatable way, so that people can live joyful and fulfilling lives.
If you are at rock bottom don’t give up. The fight is not easy and some days you need to put on your armour, pick up your sword and charge at it head first. You won’t be able to do this every day, some days it is challenging. But when the time is right and if you keep your faith, you will be given the strength to overcome. Do what you can to improve your situation, no matter how small the step.
The bad times always pass.
Thank you for making it this far. I hope that we can help you to break the chain and help to free you from the shackles of the mind.
Check out our amazing team and let’s break the chain together!