How it was. What happened. How it is now
Jim’s story is anything but a conventional speaker format. It is the triumph of the human spirit over dual-addiction and grinding adversity.
Adopted by well-meaning parents, Jim’s earliest years were a horror story of bad behaviour and missed opportunities. At 15, he was drinking excessive amounts alcohol and taking a variety of illegal drugs. By age 18, Jim’s rock and roll lifestyle had got him into serious trouble and onto probation for criminal behaviour.
Jim Smith was ASBO-material if ever there was one!
Unable to hold down a decent job, at 21, he was reduced to drinking methylated spirits. Untreatable at GP level, he was admitted to a mental hospital. Later in attempt to end it all, Jim took an overdose and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Both Jim’s adoptive parents died, one after the other, and he himself was in hospital, literally at death’s door, alone and dispirited – and in intensive care.
First he survived and then – he believes miraculously – Jim regained the will to live. He was lucky enough to be admitted to Pinel House at Warlingham Park Hospital in Surrey – one of the first and only specialist alcoholic units in Europe in the late 1970s. Here his real recovery began and it has now continued uninterrupted for around 30 years.
Not rich in material terms, Jim is an inspiration to all who know him. An excellent presenter, an accomplished musician and a fully qualified social worker, Jim has devoted his life to helping others to avoid making the mistakes he made.
For Jim, the ‘high concept’ is the ‘magnificence of ordinariness’. There is no doubt that he is a most creative and extraordinary speaker and survivor.