Addiction is not a life sentence


Former drug addict turned motivational speaker Paris Mitchell says change comes from within and he will share his recovery journey with others this month.        Picture: Andrew Ritchie    d448331
Former drug addict turned motivational speaker Paris Mitchell says change comes from within and he will share his recovery journey with others this month.        Picture: Andrew Ritchie d448331

The Maylands resident, who has been clean and sober for 18 months, plans to share his story and life lessons to help others create healthier habits through free seminars in Northbridge on January 13 and 29.

The 25-year-old said he came from a broken home and developed substance-abuse habits at a young age.

“By 12 and 13 I was drinking and smoking and that led me down the wrong track,” Mr Mitchell said.

“By 15 I was using meth, at 16 I was addicted to prescription pills and at 17 I started taking heroin.”

The downward spiral continued when Mr Mitchell (then 20) was sentenced to almost three years in jail for crimes linked to his drug use, including armed robbery.

Mr Mitchell said the turning point for him was when he had a conversation about criminal recidivism with inmates.

“We were talking about out of the five of us, how many would end up back in jail and I realised some of us would be dead before we were 30,” he said.

“In that moment, I didn’t realise where I fitted into the picture and when I had that epiphany, I realised I needed to educate myself.”

Having dropped out of school in Year 10, Mr Mitchell said he started studying in jail and planned to get a tertiary education on his release.

Last year, he completed a Graphic Design and Marketing degree at Edith Cowan University.

“That’s probably not the direction I will go in now but I felt I had to complete it,” he said.

“Now I want to speak to people because I believe anybody has the capability to change.

“When people are stuck it’s debilitating; sometimes they don’t think they can change.”

Mr Mitchell said exercise and meditation were now part of his daily routine.

“The day after we all had that conversation I was motivated to start training; I weighed 73kg.

“When you weigh 73kg at 6ft 3in, it is all skin and bones.”

Mr Mitchell said he hoped the people who were ready for change would attend the seminars.

“The people who are ready will find it and the people who aren’t are just not at that stage yet.

“You can’t change for other people; it’s all internal.

“It has got to be from yourself.”

The seminars will be held at the Northbridge Piazza Community Building.

Visit www.parismitchell.com.au

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