DRUG FREE: Graduating from the Teen Challenge program are (from left) Michael Platt, Dylan Milverton and Paul Beasley.
DRUG FREE: Graduating from the Teen Challenge program are (from left) Michael Platt, Dylan Milverton and Paul Beasley. CONTRIBUTED

Former addict inspires others to escape vicious cycle

STANDING in the doorway of his bedroom, a 23-year-old man made a choice.

Clutched in one hand were the drugs he had planned to take in his filthy room littered with half-eaten pies and junk, a metaphor for the mess his life had become.

It was one of the first times Michael Platt can remember wanting to get away from a life of drug addiction.

His drug of choice was methamphetamine, but started as a teen with morphine when he was just 13.

"It kind of happened in a couple of big moments," the Teen Challenge graduate said.

Other moments were different but just as profound - waking one morning and seeing his exhausted mother's eyes watch him after he'd gone cold turkey after more than two years of morphine abuse.

Another was not having the strength to go rock climbing, a recreational love he can now get back to.

Other moments were not sticking to his word, letting friends and family down, and eventually realising that he needed to get clean for himself, not those around him.

That's a message Mr Platt wants to share with others, and to give them the hope he said was needed to win the drug addiction war.

Mr Platt's road has been a long and complicated one, from his first taste of opioids when he was 13.

"I started recreational use when I was 16 but I had overdosed on morphine when I was 13," he said.

"That scared me away from it for a bit."

Upheavals in his family life spurred on his addiction, going from marijuana to harder substances until that moment staring at his filthy room.

"It's very hard to put your hand up and admit you need help, even to admit your life is broken," he said.

"I had had enough of the life I was living.

"I'd just finished probation and parole ... and had just started using again.

"I remember thinking I'm either going to overdose or end up in jail, and I need to get myself out of this."

Mr Platt graduated from the 12-month Teen Challenge program recently, and has enrolled in a leadership course and works at the centre.

As a rock climber, he said accepting his graduate certificate and looking out at those who still supported him made him feel like he was on top of the world.

"That graduation is like turning around and looking at the first moment when you get to the top, to be able to see where I once was," he said.

"I've been down there and I'm not going back."

Mr Platt was one of eight Teen Challenge residents to graduate from the program on Saturday night.