Queens former guard shows off transformation after seven-year heroin battle

A heroin addict inspired by Trainspotting turned his life around to guard the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Paul Boggie, 42, was 18 when he first tried 'chasing the dragon' in the back of his car which Scottish cult flick Trainspotting helped spiral into a seven-year nightmare.

The once malnourished Hibernian fan hit a new low when he was sacked from a mailroom having spent shifts smoking heroin in the toilets.

In his new memoirs Heroin to Hero, Paul reveals how he trained so hard to get his life back on track that when he joined the army aged 30 for a fresh start he was recognised for his fitness.

Danny Boyle's 1996 film set in Paul's home city of Edinburgh, reflected his and his mates' lives to a tee – from heroin abuse to supporting Hibs.

He mistakenly thought he could not get hooked on the drug unless he was shooting up and managed to hold down a job in a mailroom and smoked heroin in the toilets.

But his drug abuse affected his performance and eventually, he was fired.

For the next seven years, he battled with addiction and tried to go cold turkey 13 times – but realised he faced crippling anxiety if he stopped using it, and described how heroin became his 'best friend'.

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He also was dicing with malnutrition as his diet consisted of a heavily buttered roll, a packet of flaming hot Monster Munch crisps, and 40 cups of tea with four sugars in.

He finally made a decision to quit for good after he became suicidal and enrolled on a course run by homeless charity Cyrenians, and stared himself in the mirror before using fitness as a regime to get himself off it.

Aged 30 he joined the Army and became one of the fittest soldiers in his battalion – before going on to protect London's big landmarks including Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.

Paul said: "Quite naively me and my friends believed because we were only smoking it we couldn’t get addicted and wouldn’t be in any danger.

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“The first time I did it I remember getting out the car, lying on the promenade looking up at the sky and the world spinning.

“Heroin took that anxiety away and became my best friend.”

He decided to turn his life around after years of flogging hash to pay for heroin – which he would also replace with Tramadol, an opiate-like painkiller to which he later battled an addiction to.

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Paul, who now lives in Ballingry, Fife, said: “I woke up one morning and something was different.

“I put my nose on the mirror and looked straight into my eyes and became quite aggressive with myself.

“I started saying 'don’t f***ing ask for heroin ever again, because you’re not getting it'.

“I realised it was my choice.

“From that moment, I knew I was never touching heroin again in my life."

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He found the transition from wrong side of the law to protecting the Queen mind-boggling when he joined the Army.

Paul said: “I was one of the fittest in the battalion when I joined because I was doing boxing and running and weights every day.

“I was down in London for nine months – I did Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James’ Palace and the Tower of London.

“I would stand there and think, the police would have moved me on from the iron gates five years ago.”

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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