Ex-addict out to save others from ice horror
RECOVERING ice, alcohol and gambling addict Ricki Stanley, 40, has turned his life around and is using his story to help others.
Mr Stanley's journey started more than a decade ago, at the age of 23.
He said dysfunctional family issues initially drove him to drink and gamble to deal with his emotions.
Having grown up all over Australia, he wasn't able to put roots down in his younger years.
"Sydney, Queensland, Melbourne, I've always been used to moving, always had a gypsy sort of lifestyle," he said.
It was when he moved to Melbourne in 1999 that things truly started to spiral out of control.
"I went into the party scene, first party drugs and then ice, I stuck with ice," Mr Stanley said. "I wasn't able to cope with things, an excessive use of drugs and I was involved in the wrong crowd."
He said he remembered trying ice for the first time, before being stuck in a cycle of trying to chase the initial high.
"By the end of it, I was using ice as a form of medication to stop the feelings and sensations," Mr Stanley said.
"Not having right coping mechanisms in relationships, not being able to communicate with people properly, violence was next port of call; get angry, agitated."
In 2016, Mr Stanley did what he said most ice addicts were struggling to do, ask for help.
He began receiving treatment at the Salvation Army Townsville Recovery Centre in Garbutt.
"It's fantastic, it opened up a whole new avenue of life for me," he said. "Ask for help, that's the big thing, asking for help, for someone to give you a hand."
Mr Stanley is now in the process of completing a double degree at university.
He said his psychologist, whom he used to see regularly, had given him the coping mechanisms to deal with life.
"Seek professional help, ask for help, you don't have to do it on your own," said Mr Stanley who is now looking to become a motivational speaker, to use his journey for good.
"I don't feel proud, but I feel like I'm here to help others and empower others," he said.
"To show other people they can do it too, nothing is impossible if you just put your mind to it."