Charlie Duffield - Time to Talk
  
It’s time I spoke about a few things.
 
Let me tell you about the moment I knew I had lost my brother, Dean. I’ll never forget it. I got a call from my mum and she said that he called to say he loved her but that he sounded different this time so she had called the police. I dropped everything to try and get to him, life goes into a blur when you have something like that going on don’t it?
 
Me and my other brother Frankie flew over to his place but never got there in time. I remember coming over the A13 and my mum calling me again to say the police had broke in and found him.  They had got him down and tried to give him CPR and had taken him to Newham General. He was already on life-support when we arrived but we all knew it wasn’t good and the next day we were told it was best we switched off the life-support. Can you imagine how that feels? We watched our mum’s heart break. It’s 2 years on and we still struggle to accept what’s happened. I lost my brother to suicide.
 
Its broke my heart too. I cant lie. I was always so close to my big brother.
 
He had been battling with addictions and mental health for years, and he didn’t ever get the support he needed really. I felt like I tried my best to support him and be there. Make sure he knew he had me, you know? But what did I know? There’s only so much I was capable of doing.
 
We would talk for hours, talk about everything.  He had threatened and attempted to do it before and I had always thought it was a cry for help but things got on top of him and he couldn’t see another way out.
 
That was probably how I got my loss to be fair, I was never in the right frame of mind to fight and now if I was in that position again I wouldn’t fight. But after everything my family had going on, I had sold so many tickets I didn’t want to be a burden letting everyone down.  My brother was in and out of rehab, it was just too much. My brain was going mad you know, I wasn’t even taking boxing seriously then. It was a hobby, never a career. I just loved having a fight and then I came unstuck and got the loss.
 
When you see someone you love going through what he did, you feel helpless. It was always me, Frankie and Dean growing up, we were inseparable. Always together. Dean was 4 years older but in a lot of our teenage years, I don’t think a day passed where we didn’t see each other. I absolutely idolised him growing up.
 As a family we had always tried to show him the right path when he had his struggles later in his life. Kept trying to show him the positives in life and that he could have all the things he wanted, a wife and family and happiness, but it just wasn’t to be. By the time he got proper professional support, it was too late and he took his own life. He hadn’t been out of rehab that long and was a matter of weeks after my daughter had been born. He was due to meet her the following week as he’d got back from rehab and we planned a day together.
 
And you know what? I’ve never told anyone but I can see why he did it because I have had thoughts like that myself.
 
From when I was about 17 up until less than 2 years ago I had a big gambling problem. I am talking big problem. On a lot of occasions, I would bet every penny I earned, any money I had on me I would bet. Then you’re getting yourself in debt and not small amounts either. You have these huge swings where everything feels okay and the all of a sudden you are so so low. Right in the dumps. I wouldn’t admit it was even a problem or ‘addiction’ and would lie to myself and everyone around me. You don’t realise how deep you are in the black hole until you are out of it. The thing is, these days too many aren’t making it out of it! You have to have a shining light to guide you out of the darkness. I had that with my beautiful wife, Carly. She’s my world. Let me tell you about her! I don’t know where I would be without her. I owe everything to her, literally everything. People say it a lot but I honestly might not be here if it wasn’t for Carly for different reasons. Everything I have today, I owe to her. She’s an amazing woman. Amazing.  She had so many chances where she could have walked away and I wouldn’t have blamed her. But she didn’t. She stayed and now when I am strong its because of her. If you are reading this I love you Carly x  
  
But let me go back to where I was – the gambling. Addiction is an awful thing, when you can't control it, it ruins your life. Its caused so many problems, caused me so many setbacks and lost time but you can’t dwell on these things.  I know that even though I dont gamble now and haven’t for 17 months, it will always be in my head. It just sits there. Waiting for you to make a mistake but I won’t let it get me again. I have too much to lose. Once I finally accepted that it’s an addiction and that I will most probably always have to control it, once I started being honest and open and speaking about it, I’ve found it easier to fight against.

Unfortuantely Dean couldn’t control his addictions and even though we tried to get him help and show him how much he was loved, he just couldn’t stay on the right path. I knew he was bad right, but when I think back maybe I didn’t realise just how bad he was. We would sit and talk for hours, he would tell you everything you wanted to hear but the next day it would be back to where it was. I know he loved me and that but when they are in that frame of mind it’s so hard to get them out of it and make them believe what you’re saying is possible.
 
It don’t feel right still. As in it don’t feel real that he’s not at my Mums for dinner every Sunday, not calling me for a chat. Not lecturing me about gambling to stop me lecturing him about the drink and drugs. When my phone rings just sometimes it catches me offguard and i think it could be him. Or when you think I must tell Dean that later, but there is no later. It’s a weird one to explain. It’s really tough actually.
 
If you are struggling and reading this. Please talk to someone. It really don’t matter who. I have my wife, but if you don’t have that person just talk to anyone. If you have a mate who you think is low, Please text him or call him. Invite him out. I think about Dean everyday and the conversations we could have had and what more I could’ve done to help him. When they are gone, they are gone. There’s no going back.
 
Dean was my biggest fan too, that’s one of the reasons I am still in this game. He would always talk me up to people and would be saying I could do this and that...saying I would get to the top.  Everything I do now is in his memory. I have to make him proud.
 
In my old camp when I got that loss I wasn’t taking my pro boxing career as seriously as I should’ve and I had far too many battles going on outside of the ring. I’d be up all night gambling, go off and train halfheartedly as and when I felt like it and wouldn’t be told what to do by no one. Now under Mark Tibbs it’s completely different. I couldn’t write this without mentioning him. He’s a great man and has been career-changing for me. I am in a completely different frame of mind now, and that’s massively down to him also. I have a lot of respect and love for the man. I expect to have a big year this year and finally get some belts under me.
 
Then I can say I did it for us brother. All the conversations and promises that were made, we did it in the end. I can say I did it for all my family that have been through it over the years. We all did it. And I did it for my amazing Carly, I love you so much.
 
Charlie Duffield x