Kia ora, I’m Gary. My Mum is Maori and my Dad is from Scotland and when I was a young fella we lived in a small rural community in the North Island. I guess I kinda had a good childhood, we were always running around outside, swimming in the creek, going hunting with my uncles and cousins and I actually enjoyed going to school.

I don’t really know how I became involved with drugs and alcohol, it just kinda happened. One day you’re a kid at primary school, the next you gotta leave high school, get a job and be an adult, and you’re mixing with others who are doing drugs and drinking booze. You start earning some money and you spend it on drugs and other stuff. It all just started to take over my life.

I now know that I was an addict for years before I became aware of it. It just crept up on me. It was normal for me. It was life as I knew it. I don’t even know how I started to seek help. Just one day I dialled the Helpline number. I had tried many times but often hung up before I could talk to someone. This time was different. I got someone on the line that just listened to me. They didn’t tell me what I was doing was wrong. Might have been the first time I didn’t feel I was being judged. They just listened. Even laughed at my stories, weird eh? Nobody ever laughed at my stories before. So I kept calling back, and talking and telling my story. Then people would suggest places that could help me. They were never pushy about it. They left it to me to make my own decisions when I was ready.

It’s been a year now since I took any drugs or had a drink. My life is different now. It’s better. I feel better.

Back to Stories