Former NRL star Chris Caruana opens up about the ice addiction that has left the former Grand Finalist homeless

Former North Sydney Bears star Chris ‘Smoke’ Caruana has opened up to the terrible ice addiction that nearly took his life and saw the Footy glamor boy left homeless with no food or sleep for up to two weeks .

Caruana was a household name in the ARL and NRL in the 1990s with his flashy play and dashing looks, earning $400,000 a year at his peak while playing for the Bears and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

However, an addiction to methamphetamine, commonly known as ice cream, took his life away. At his rock bottom, Caruana admitted he would go up to two weeks without food or sleep.

Caruana, now 51, lost everything to his $3,000-a-week addiction and attempted suicide twice. Now almost three years clean, the former NRL star wants his recovery to be the catalyst for more Australians to kick the devastating habit.

“I’ve been in some dark places over the last four years. I just want to help the people out there who need a little bit of hope in their lives. I think I can give it to them. I’m here to voice my stuff and you know get it out that I’m here to help,” the former full-back said today.

Caruana was a star for the North Sydney Bears and South Sydney Rabbitohs in the 1990s, playing 157 games and scoring 44 tries

Caruana was a star for the North Sydney Bears and South Sydney Rabbitohs in the 1990s, playing 157 games and scoring 44 tries

“I felt a very, very deep, deep space of depression and anxiety. I’ve lost a lot of money on drugs. Yeah, it’s been a horrible, horrible 10 years of my life. You know what I mean. I wish I could take that back. It’s gone now.

“Everything is fine at the moment. Everything is good. I have some great friends in my life. i am clean today I was 33 months clean yesterday, which I’m really, really proud of. And I keep doing the good things that need to be done.’

Caruana said his family has been the catalyst in his recovery, including his children Kyle and Erinn.

“I could not anymore. I was sick of doing drugs but my family especially my mom, my sisters and more importantly my kids who like Erinn and Kyle were my rock. That was the trigger,” he said.

‘I had to stop for myself because if I don’t stop using I won’t be able to give love and support to the people out there who love me. I’m cold turkey and I’m clean today.’

Caruana introduced himself with his children, Erinn and Kyle, who he said were the main catalyst for him getting clean after a long addiction to methamphetamines

Caruana introduced himself with his children, Erinn and Kyle, who he said were the main catalyst for him getting clean after a long addiction to methamphetamines

In the candid interview, Caruana spoke about the devastation the drug had wreaked on his body and his life during his darkest days.

“It’s a very, very bad drug. It took a part of my soul that I got back. But the longest I’ve had — you know, I’ve been up probably 12 days — the longest I haven’t eaten was probably 14 days. I probably lost 50 pounds in 12 months,” he said.

“It’s an insidious drug.

“I’m looking at my daughter and son today and yeah mate they’re the people I’m here for.”

The pain of addiction was so great that Caruana has admitted he tried to take his own life on two separate occasions but chose to fight for his family.

“Suicide was a big deal. I didn’t want to be here,’ he said.

North Sydney Bears' Chris Caruana offloads the ball during an ARL game at the 1997 North Sydney Oval in Sydney

North Sydney Bears’ Chris Caruana offloads the ball during an ARL game at the 1997 North Sydney Oval in Sydney

“It’s public knowledge that I did this. I won’t do it again because I want to hold on for my family and my kids and most importantly for the people who have been joining us in the last two months.

‘This [quitting] is the hardest gig I’ve ever done. I played first grade football but being clean is the hardest part. I have the courage to do it.

‘I thank certain people. First my family. And my children. They are the most important people in my life.

‘To Amanda Scott from [NDIS provider] iCare, which in the last 12 months has built a roof over my head for the first time in probably four years.

“Last but not least, one person who has come into my life, a rock in the past month, is Heidi Rawson who holds me accountable.”

For help in a crisis, call 000. If you or someone you know needs assistance you can contact Lifeline 131 114 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nrl/article-11612735/Former-NRL-star-Chris-Caruana-opens-ice-addiction-left-former-grand-finalist-homeless.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Former NRL star Chris Caruana opens up about the ice addiction that has left the former Grand Finalist homeless

Maureen Mackey

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