A recovering addict has told of how he hopes to help people ‘kick bad habits to the kerb’ through sport.

Andrew Loen recently started running free Thai Boxing classes at The Glasgow Boxing Academy on Hamilton Street in Clydebank. The sessions run from 6pm to 8pm every Friday.

The 35-year-old boxer explained that he struggled with addiction to cocaine for several years and that he launched the classes to support others in their sobriety journeys.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Andrew said: “At the end of the week when you get that ‘Friday feeling’ that’s when people go and get stuff that they shouldn’t be putting into their bodies.

“Whereas if they come to the class it’s doing something positive. You might go and get a takeaway afterwards and it might stop you from getting a drink that weekend.

“If it helps add a day onto your sobriety I’m proud of you. The classes are open to everybody, it’s non-judgemental.

“I’m a recovering addict, I’ve been sober for about nine months now. When I’m in the class and I’m struggling I’ll lean on others and when others are struggling they can lean on me, that’s what I’m here for.

"We can get rid of our bad habits together and we can kick them to the kerb. I’ve been boxing for more than twenty years and I was still coming down to the gym, still coaching when I was unwell and nobody knew, I kept it to myself until it got really bad.

“Sports saved my life. I turned to training and it got me sober.”

The Dalmuir resident told the Post that he had previously been sober for around six to seven years but had relapsed.

Andrew said his mental health suffered majorly during this time and he was left feeling suicidal.

However, his life was completely turned around with the birth of his daughter in December 2023.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: He added: “My sister had a heart-to-heart with me after a couple of failed suicide attempts and said ‘One of these times you’re going to do it and you’ll not be here’.

“I went to a mental health facility and learned that the reason I used to get caught out was because I thought I’d beaten my addiction.

“Whereas now I know it’s an ongoing battle, you’re always going to be fighting for your sobriety. I’d been feeling suicidal and then my daughter was born in December and it opened my eyes.

“I thought ‘I’m a dad now and I need to be with my daughter, be a good role model for her and the only way I can do that is if I’m sober’.

“My daughter is a big driving force for me.”

Andrew first started boxing at the age of seven and has trained at Drumchapel Amateur Boxing Club, The Argo, The Glasgow Boxing Academy in Partick and now Clydebank.

The 35-year-old, who is a coach at the academy, spends much of his time at the gym and says that boxing is his way of helping people after the sport saved his life.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: He added: “If I can support even one person feeling the way I felt then I’ll be happy. Sport is so good for people’s mental health.

“When you go to the gym the endorphins hit straight away and you just feel better about everything.

“More people are coming on a Friday night. It’s good fun and everybody can come and have a good laugh as well as learning.

“You might just want to lose some weight, or you might want to just get out of the house but who knows you could end up becoming a world champion.”

If you are struggling, call the Samaritans for free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.