‘I picked up a guitar at 14 and immediately fell in love and a year later, during a Led Zeppelin concert in 1972 at the Sydney Showground I realized I could make a living from my newfound passion. The hypnotic and driving guitar work of Jimmy Page and the steamy Sydney summer evening lulled me into a sense of hope and wonder. My dream…
‘I picked up a guitar at 14 and immediately fell in love and a year later, during a Led Zeppelin concert in 1972 at the Sydney Showground I realized I could make a living from my newfound passion. The hypnotic and driving guitar work of Jimmy Page and the steamy Sydney summer evening lulled me into a sense of hope and wonder. My dream did not come easily. It took hard work, sacrifices and a few calculated risks. And listening to my inner voice! Maybe three times in my life so far, I have heard that voice telling me ‘Your life is about to change!’ This time however, it was on an overnight train bound for Bangalow
in Northern NSW and a rehab called The Buttery.
The year was 1987 and I thought my world had fallen apart. I had grown up with the Western attitude of if I can just get enough ‘stuff’ I’ll be ok. If I could just be famous enough, wealthy enough, clever
Having enough would mean you would like me enough and that would make me feel better about myself. It turned out to be a lie. When I started out playing music my goal was to be part of a successful band. I guess I saw it as a way out of feeling invisible. When you are up on a stage and the guitars and the fans are screaming, you can hide behind the celebration. The real you gets lost in the noise and fantasy, and the stage lights and blaring speakers become sentinels to your insecurity. It all seems untouchable.Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE PLAYING MUSIC.
And I found I was good at it. I was passionate and obsessive with it. And along came recognition, fame, overseas tours, hit songs, great records, playing with and meeting great people. It was a dream come true. So why did I end up burning down the stuff I loved and filling myself with heroin and alcohol? Because, as an addict, NOTHING IS ENOUGH. The more success I achieved the more heroin I would use until it removed everything good in my life, including my career, Finally, I arrived at a dark, desolate, lonely, fearful place.
Basically, I was left alone in a room with myself. The very person I had been running from for years! Obviously, I needed something different to my defective belief system. So, on that fateful train trip, that voice spoke to me, and whatever or whoever it was, the sentiment proved to be correct. I stopped running, and for the last 31 years, I have remained sober from alcohol and drugs.
It meant I had to address the ‘inner journey’, something I had never done. I had never really thought about what sort of person I was, only what YOU thought of me. If you thought I was great…then I was great. Wow – that belief was shattered into a million pieces. I had to get honest about a lot of stuff…still do……and had to learn how to be present and comfortable in my own skin. One of the big things I had to learn was true connection and friendship. To trust and to reveal oneself to another person. Sobriety, I believe, is all about this.
If you’d like to hear more of Rick’s story please get in contact.
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