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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

This man was born addicted to drugs but is now a successful businessman and father

‘”My son has all the opportunities I never had and I’m really happy for that.”

“I was born addicted to methadone and drugs.”

GARY WENT THROUGH withdrawal when he was born as his mother was on heroin and methadone during her pregnancy.

Speaking on a new RTÉ documentary, Born Addicted, he described what his mother Esther had told him:

“She said you were shaking and you were underweight and you were off colour and you were in an incubator and you were born early and stuff like that. So a picture is painted of a very sick little baby, born premature.”

Gary managed to stay away from drugs for most of his teenage years but began experimenting with cannabis and took ecstasy for a while in his late teens.

gary 2 Source: RTÉ

He told TheJournal.ie how after his son was born in 2003 – a time when he had a job and was cleaning up his life – his grandmother died, setting him back.

“She reared me and had a very stabling effect on me. Soon after her death I lost control of myself and I just fell into the pit then and I couldn’t get out. Everything went messy.

Sometimes I think, would I have been a heroin addict if I wasn’t born addicted to drugs? I don’t know, I’m still divided over that.


Gary has been clean for the past seven years and has opened up a specialist hobby shop in Drogheda.

unnamed (2) Source: RTÉ

Life is good now. I mean life is as it is, it’s got its tough days and its tough moments but ultimately life is a lot better.

“I don’t have the struggles like I used to because I’m not addicted to drugs anymore. I think having a business and a shop is definitely something good to work towards because it keeps you busy and you don’t have time to think about anything else.”

Gary’s mother Esther died four years ago. “I loved my mother growing up and I still love her now, I miss her,” he says today.

He added that he didn’t know what to say to her when he visited her in hospital. “I rarely told her that I loved her and I rarely called her Ma or Mother, I just always called her Esther.

I just said ‘Ma, I love you and you know I’m clean from drugs.’ and she just said, ‘Yea, I know you are son, keep it up.’

gary and ester Source: RTÉ

“I know she would be proud of me, I’m clean and I’m doing well.”

“The most important thing for me is to set a good example for my son and make sure he doesn’t fall into the same tracks that I did. If I can pave the way forward for him, hopefully thank God, he’ll do the same for his family to come and break the mould basically.”


I have so much to lose now. I don’t mean in business or property or anything like that. I just mean, I’ll lose me, I’ll lose my son.

Gary told TheJournal.ie that he’s very proud of his 15-year-old who just recently completed his Junior Cert and also started his first job.

“He has all the opportunities I never had and I’m really happy for that. He got some Bs, which is more than I ever got.

I brought him for some steak and chips and pepper sauce to celebrate and that was really nice.

Gary said he took part in the show because, “Somebody might be watching who has a son or daughter addicted to drugs and maybe this might make them dig a bit deeper.

“When people fall into drugs, you burn a lot of bridges along the way. It’s not about ‘aw the poor guy is on drugs, give him €50′. I see it as talking to them with respect and letting them know that they are a person and there is help for them.”

When asked about his son’s reaction to his past, Gary said:

He doesn’t see me as that kind of person, he only knows me as what I am now and what I have been for the past seven years.

Born Addicted airs on RTÉ2 at 9:30pm tonight. It follows the stories of six Irish people who are desperate to break the cycle of addiction for the sake of their own children.

Read: International experts back Irish drug injection centre plan>

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