Chris Lewis on incarceration, cricket and the long walk back

July 18, 2020. Series 1. Episode 7

Chris Lewis is the England cricketer who when his fortunes faded turned to drug smuggling. On 8 December 2008 Chris was caught with 3.5 kilos of liquid cocaine hidden in fruit tins as he arrived from St Lucia, convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison. A shocking fall from grace for a man who arrived in the UK from Guyana as a 10-year-old and who achieved his dream playing for England in 30 Test Matches. In this episode Chris talks with a straight bat and without self-pity about his self-inflicted crisis and his journey back to freedom and repentance. This is the first time that Chris and Andy have talked since they last met in prison six years ago.

Chris’ Crisis Cures:

1. Find nature: “Whether it’s going into the park or down to the river I love taking walks. Getting out distracts you from your problems. And distraction often helps me find solutions.”

2. A Course In Miracles by Helen Schucman: “A long read but all about taking control, understanding that you are responsible for what happens in your life, not other people.”

3. Meditation: “I started in prison and try to meditate whenever I can. It’s about finding that place to off load and start again with a fresh mind.”

Links:

Chris Lewis – Crazy, My Road To Redemption: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crazy-Road-Redemption-Chris-Lewis/dp/0750970103

Episode Notes:

Chris Lewis was coming towards the end of his six-a-half-years in jail when we met at HMP Hollesley Bay in 2014. We shared a few chats during our time there, but never did he talk with such depth and detail as he does in this podcast. There is no doubt that Chris is a changed man. Chastened by his spectacular mistake and devoid of self-pity. “I blame no-one but myself,” he says repeatedly. In preparing for our conversation I found a YouTube clip of Chris being interviewed at the Oval. He had just joined the Surrey Twenty20 team – at the age of 40. Calm, assured and charming – this was a man who had been given a final chance at glory. But Chris was injured almost immediately and just nine months later was arrested at Gatwick. How Chris calmly explains the chain of events that led to such a catastrophic decision was a compelling feature of our conversation. But more interesting was the journey of self-awareness that Chris has been on since that moment. He now talks to young cricketers about the dangers that lie ahead when sporting success fades. A story of redemption but also a cautionary tale of epic proportions.

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