'I'd be in jail or dead': Recovering Mandurah meth addict says support group saved his life

Out of the darkness: Bill's number one goal in life is to stay clean. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Out of the darkness: Bill's number one goal in life is to stay clean. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

A recovering Mandurah methamphetamine addict says he would be in jail, a mental health facility or dead if he had not found a local "therapeutic family" helping him stay clean.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) member Bill, whose last name has been censored, said the organisation, run entirely by volunteers, was a vital part of his drug and alcohol recovery.

"I didn't even know it existed, I'd only heard of Alcoholics Anonymous," he said.

The 12-step program held across Australia has daily meetings in Greenfields.

Falling Through the Cracks - Week One:

The father-of-one said he had spent three long stints in Hakea prison for driving without a licence, possessing meth and stealing - an experience that saw him fall deeper into the depths of his addiction.

Bill said his last stint in jail for eight months was "toxic", with meth and cannabis readily available to prisoners.

"There was drugs in jail - an abundance of it," he said.

"Guys used to bring meth into our area."

Bill said he struggled with peer pressure.

"Prison is designed in a bad way," he said.

"You walk out with more contacts, more using mates - it's terrible. It's one big boys club in there at the moment. It's a corrupt environment unfortunately."

There's so much that goes right when we're clean and so much that goes wrong when we're not.

Bill

Bill said leaving jail or rehab could be "overwhelming".

"They don't really prepare you for what's in store when you leave," he said.

"The people you associate with on the outside are always going to be there.

"You need to know your triggers - this is what NA teaches you."

Bill said the group helped him learn how his brain is wired.

"Whenever something goes wrong, or things don't go my way, or I'm faced with fear, anger or resentment, my brain says I have to go alter my mind," he said.

"Having that five minutes of pleasure is an escape from reality and the world.

"There's a saying in NA that one is too many and a thousand is never enough, because a thousand is never enough, we always want that one more."

Bill said NA Mandurah members were like his "family".

"They look out for me and I look out for them," he said.

"We create a new group of people who share our principles and goals.

"I don't know what I'd do without it - they've saved my life. I'd be in jail, a mental ward or dead."

Bill said the only thing he hoped for in life was to stay drug and alcohol free.

"It's not always about getting it right - we're only human," he said.

"There's so much that goes right when we're clean and so much that goes wrong when we're not.

"The reality is, I fight these demons every minute, every day.

"The only people who understand are addicts. That's why it's so great because I can walk in there and I am understood."

For information on Narcotics Anonymous Mandurah meeting information, visit www.wana.org.au or call 1300 652 820.