By GEORGIA WESTGARTH
WHEN Jarryd Bardsley looked back on his eight-year drug addiction, he admitted sitting alone on his bedroom floor smoking ice as one of his lowest points.
The 26-year-old concreter from Cranbourne, smoked a gram a day, at the height of his addiction.
“Ice gives you a buzz like nothing else out there,” he told the News.
“You’re on a heightened alertness when you’re on it, I felt like I was someone different when I smoked ice – I didn’t speak to anyone, not even my mum, I just wasn’t me.
“It’s a worse you for sure when you’re on ice, you lose all judgement of what’s wrong and right and you don’t think things are as bad as what they are.”
“Ice is massive – it’s by far one of the biggest drugs.
“It’s more addictive than other drugs that I’ve tried, you get that feeling that you just want more, enough is never enough.”
Jarryd has been clean from drugs for close to four months and attributes his new found attitude to Glenn Munso’s Youth YOU drug rehabilitation program and gym in Hallam.
A former drug dealer and addict himself, Glenn “gets it”, Jarryd said.
A gram a day “is a lot”, he said, adding that ice or crystal methamphetamine isn’t as cheap as people make it out to be.
“$500 would last me a week, that’s enough for four people for one whole week that don’t do it very often, and I was having that in one week to myself.”
Jarryd dropped down to 70 kilograms, but now sits at a healthy 84 kilograms.
“You can go days without eating,” he said.
“You just don’t have an appetite when you’re on ice.”
After dabbling in marijuana and speed, Jarryd said ice was the hardest drug he’d tried and hopefully would be the last.
Jarryd started playing around with illegal drugs at 18 years of age, after he left high school in Frankston at 17 years.
“I started doing drugs with friends from the peninsula,” he said, and ended up doing ice alone on his bedroom floor for two years.
Eight years later, Jarryd said hypnotherapy, counselling and Narcotics Anonymous didn’t stop the paralysing urge for another hit.
“When it comes to relapsing it could be something as simple as being in my room and getting that craving to do it because that’s where I used to smoke,” Jarryd said.
Jarryd relapsed every time he tried to quit ice, despite owing dealers money – and the dealers added up.
Jarryd owed cash to about 15 dealers over his eight year drug habit, something he dabbled in himself.
“I was a dealer and a user.”
“My bank balance went into negative, I never used credit cards, I was just in debt with drug dealers, but it’s a worry when they aren’t your mates,” he said.
A week in the life of Jarryd just a few months ago shows the strong hold of addiction.
“I’ve been through more jobs than dealers,” he said.
“You become unreliable, because you don’t sleep for so long you struggle to get up every morning and get to work.”
But the number of functioning addicts working in trades is staggering, Jarryd pointed out.
“Ice is massive in trades – especially concreting, there’s so many.”
But the cycle of a functioning drug addict like Jarryd can mean hitting rock bottom before picking up the pieces.
“It gets to an extent where once you do it every day for a long period of time you become a bit oblivious to your mistakes, you think you are working quick but you’re really not,” he said.
Jarryd’s weekly cycle with drugs would go like this: “It would start sometimes on Thursdays and then I’d smoke Friday and stay up all weekend on a bender, I’d stay up Sunday and go to work Monday and you’d feel like s*** on Tuesday,” he said.
So Tuesday would become the crux of the addiction. Jarryd couldn’t get through the week without smoking ice again on Tuesday.
“It’s about getting through the day, Tuesdays are the day you’re not feeling so good, so you’d smoke and before you know it it’s Thursday again and the weekend starts,” he said.
“Your body is so sleep deprived on ice and coming off it is horrible, it’s the worst pain, I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody.”
But Jarryd hid his pain so well that it wasn’t until his mum opened his laptop and read his desktop screen saver that was the moment that would literally save Jarryd from crystal meth.
The poem called, ‘I am crystal meth’, retells how the drug destroys the lives that use it and it wasn’t easy for Jarryd to quit.
His mum Karen kicked him out of home before she found Glenn’s program.
“I was six days clean when mum walked me in here (Glenn’s gym) for the first time,” Jarryd said.
Now on his way to his first Christmas free of drugs in eight years, Jarryd walks into Essential Health and Fitness six days a week.
“Subconsciously I really didn’t want mum to find out about my drug habit, but looking back I’m glad she did, she’s helped me so much,” Jarryd said.
Currently working in a job he’s had for a few weeks and aims to keep, Jarryd is completing a course in personal training and says he has no time to relapse.
“I’m not worried about relapsing because I don’t think about it,” he said.
“I know if I stick to my routine of work, gym and bed, I have no time to relapse – routine keeps my head in the right place.”
Jarryd is now debt free, but most importantly drug free, and has a message for everyone.
“It’s a dark place – don’t do it to yourself and your family because it’s not that easy to just switch off drugs.”