Addict makes fresh start with recovery program

Former heroin addict Noel Dowsett.Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d444244
Former heroin addict Noel Dowsett.Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d444244

FIFTY years ago if you had asked Noel Dowsett what he wanted to be when he grew up, an addict would never have crossed his mind.

“I grew up in a happy and loving family. I never wanted for anything,” the 59-year-old said.

“Sex, drugs and rock and roll changed everything when I was about 17 years old.

“I was a prefect at Trinity College, but in that period I was experimenting with heroin. Out of the five of my friends, I was the only one who picked up the addiction.”

When Mr Dowsett hit rock bottom in 2005, his mother took him to Fresh Start recovery program in Subiaco.

“I had found myself homeless, living in a garden shed and extremely depressed,” he said.

“So depressed I didn’t even have the energy to go to Centrelink for benefits.

“I was living off food from garbage bins and charity. My family were very supportive, but after 40 years I had traumatised them so much. They could no longer listen to what I said I was going to do. I had been on methadone, I had tried hypnotherapy. Nothing worked.”

After receiving his first nalxtrexone implant from Fresh Start founder George O’Neil, Mr Dowsett said he went straight home to call his dealer.

“I used it and felt absolutely nothing,” he said.

“In the next 24 hours, I wasn’t even thinking about it. No cravings. It was miraculous. Those thoughts had been with me for decades, and suddenly they were gone.”

Mr Dowsett said he now used his nursing training and personal experience with addiction to help fellow addicts in the Fresh Start program.

“I’m now meeting young guys in their 20s on this program, and I say to them: ‘I really admire what you’re doing, because at 22, getting treatment was the last thing on my mind’,” he said.

BLACK TIE FUNDRAISING DINNER

WHEN October 31

WHERE The Esplanade, Fremantle

WHY Funds raised will be used to support families with addictions through Fresh Start counselling services.

TICKETS Call 9381 1333 or visit www.freshstart.org.au/events/blacktie