If you're new to the podcast, you may not know that Murray spent his early years in and out of jail, living a life of crime, and drug and alcohol addiction. He knows what it takes to create great change. Here, Murray shares more about how he overcame his drug addiction.
For Murray, the actual overcoming started with acknowledging that there is a part of him that has been with him since birth: a wildness, a primal urge to seek a 'rush'. It's this part of him that always made him feel 'different'; never able to sit still at school, and never able to connect deeply with other people. This part of him led him to decide, at just 8 years of age, to try and shut off by actively drinking to get drunk.
Looking back over his life, he can now see how this wild part of him felt more contained with excessive alcohol and drug use, as well as how he became addicted to the rush of high-risk crime. At the peak of his drug use era, he was shooting up daily, with the dollar value of those drugs higher than what many would earn in a week.
He can even see how this wildness, even once he'd become clean, drove him to chase the big waves when surfing, and to risk rock climbing high cliff faces without safety equipment.
By meeting and intimately getting to know this 'wild' part of himself, he learnt how to keep it (and his safety!) in check: discipline. High-intensity workouts, mindful movement, being outside, meditation, and breath work all help to steady and ground Murray.
For Murray, his path to overcoming his drug and alcohol addiction has been a deeply spiritual one. Ultimately, a deep and disciplined connection to spirit helps that 'wild' part of him to feel nourished and guided.
But he had to hit absolute rock bottom first. And this is what he always shares when others ask him how they can help a loved one to overcome addiction. The discomfort of being where he was and living the way he was had to become greater than the discomfort of the change. He had to land in that jail cell, facing a 14-year sentence, to create the space for that spark of spirit to enter him and begin to guide him out.
Murray values his time in AA and NA, and strongly encourages those who resonate with this structure to stick with it. To create great change such as overcoming drug addiction, which is essentially changing your whole lifestyle, you will need support*. Yes, you need to have support. (Read that one more time).
But in the last few years, Murray experienced a moment of awareness: the only person who was still calling himself an alcoholic and drug addict was himself. It wasn't a life he lived any more. And a weight lifted with the shedding of those labels that allows him to no longer feel the need to stand in front of a group of people and proclaim, "My name is Murray and I am an alcoholic and drug addict" — because, today, he just isn't. (Again, if these groups support you, please KEEP GOING — they are amazing organisations!)
So here is the invitation: if you find yourself knowing you need to create change, but the first step seems far too big...you can keep ploughing forward and learn through the school of hard knocks, or you can reach out to someone who has been in the depths, who can hold that space for you, and who can perhaps even shine a light on the pathway out. Murray would love to hear from you.
Murray knows that the reason he was given a tough first part of his life was so that he can spend this next part helping others through all that he has experienced and learnt.
Connect with Murray:
*Resources for Support:
National Alcohol & Other Drug Hotline - 1800 250 015
Family Drug Support - 1300 368 186