Former ice addict wants to see mandatory education in schools about drugs

DAILY BATTLE: Recovering ice addict Greg has been clean for six weeks. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

DAILY BATTLE: Recovering ice addict Greg has been clean for six weeks. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

WITH a single hit, Greg was addicted to ice.

"I could feel it running through me," he said.

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"It was this intense rush, then everything stopped. It made me stop feeling all the negative emotions I had been feeling.

"It took everything away."

Following the breakdown of his marriage with the mother of his four year-old son, Greg, 29, was crippled by depression and anxiety.

Soon after he left his family, he lost his job.

The Ballarat resident said his despair lead him to try ice one night with his friend at a secluded service station.

For the next four years of his life, ice would become the only constant.

As he spiralled further into addiction, Greg lost all sense of self and reality.

"I sold everything I owned," he said.

"I did a lot of things I am not proud of to get my next hit. I borrowed money off friends that I couldn't repay. Gradually I started to lose my friends.

"Members of my family turned their backs on me. Then I just cut everybody off because I was so ashamed of what I'd become."

Last year, he overdosed at the back of a busy supermarket car park in the middle of the day.

A stranger called an ambulance after finding his unconsciousness body slumped next to a car.

"I didn't care if I lived or died anymore," he said.

"I had nothing left, I'd lost everything. I didn't feel like I deserved to live."

He said being caught driving under the influence of drugs saved his life.

"It forced me to seek counselling because it was either that or go to jail," he said.

"If that didn't happen, I don't think I'd be here."

Greg has been clean for six weeks but admitted he is still a long way from recovery.

"I've relapsed twice before, but this time it is different," he said.

"This is the longest time I have ever been clean. I still crave it. Every day is a struggle, but I'm starting to have more good days than bad."

He welcomed the findings of the Victorian Parliament inquiry report into methamphetamines and said he wanted to see mandatory educational programs in schools across the state for young people, exposing the addictive and destructive nature of ice.

"People need to know that ice ruins life, it kills people, it destroys families," he said.

Greg said his determination to see his son grow into a man is what sustains him in his darkest moments.

"He is my shining light, my everything," he said.

"You have to find something to fight for. When I sit there and feel like throwing everything away, I think of my son.

"I want him to be educated and to be a better man than me.

"He looks up to me and when I look in the mirror I don't understand why, but he does. I need to be stronger for him."

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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