Richie Fa’aoso opens up about his addiction battles

Discussion in 'Newcastle Knights Discussion' started by rhugh89, Aug 12, 2017 at 10:07 AM.

  1. rhugh89

    rhugh89 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Richie Fa’aoso lifts lid on his addiction battle, warns NRL of ‘massive drug problem’


    Paul Crawley, The Daily Telegraph
    August 12, 2017 6:00am



    THE NRL has “a massive drug problem” according to a former rugby league hard man who warns there will be tragic consequences if urgent steps aren’t taken.

    Richie Fa’aoso, who has opened up about his decade-long drink and drugs hell to The Saturday Telegraph, said he was concerned the game was ignoring the problem.

    “It is probably in every sport but there is a big drug culture in (the NRL),” the 33-year-old, who is now trying to turn his life around after being released from jail to attend The Glen, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre for men on the Central Coast, said.

    “I can only be honest and tell the truth now. There is a massive drug problem in the NRL and if you think (there isn’t) you are kidding yourself.

    “And it is only going to get worse if you don’t sort it out. You don’t want kids … necking themselves.”

    Fa’aoso, who is of Tongan descent, credits The Glen and its program, which uses Aboriginal values and indigenous dances, with putting him on a path to redemption.

    He was a fearless warrior on the pitch as he turned out for Penrith, the Roosters, Parramatta, Newcastle, Melbourne and Manly during 11 years at the top level before his career was cut short by a series of sickening concussions and a broken neck.

    But off the field he struggled with his personal demons, battling crippling drink and drug addictions. And in his darkest moments Fa’aoso, who never failed a drugs test during his NRL career, even contemplated suicide.

    “I considered taking my life, people’s lives,” he said.

    “I didn’t care whether I woke up the next day or not. My marriage was struggling. I was letting down my kids, my wife, friends, family.

    “I was just going down this deep, dark hole.

    “At the end of it, it got dark and I got really violent. I was like a volcano because I bottled stuff up. If I did speak about it I felt like I was a sook, a whinger, a *****.

    “That is just how I looked at it.”

    Fa’aoso said his problems began when he was a teenager.

    “I grew up in a broken home,” he said. “My father was an alcoholic. My mum was a hard worker. But with that she was never around.

    “Growing up, all I ever really wanted was that family love, that father figure. When he left, he got deported back to Tonga, and I just kind of lost a big chunk of myself.”

    Despite having problems with alcohol as a teenager, his ability to play rugby league landed him in the NRL, which is where he discovered drugs.

    “I didn’t pick up the drugs until I was 21,” Fa’aoso said.

    “When I hit that, that was through playing football.

    “Guys that I looked up to were doing it so I kind of just jumped in. But I didn’t know that I was an addict as well and an alcoholic.

    “When I touched it I couldn’t stop. They all went home but I kept going. I took ice.

    “Whatever I could get my hands on, I smashed. Mostly pills and coke. If I could get my hands on anything I would.”

    He said he ran the “gauntlet” to beat drug tests and doesn’t know how he never got caught.

    Fa’aoso started taking ice after he fractured his neck while playing for the Sea Eagles in 2013 — and that is when his problems really hit home.

    “When I hit that ice, that was the one that really sent me cuckoo,” he said.

    “That is when I went through my darkest time.”

    What he wants to do now is turn his life around and he hopes by talking about it he can also help others.

    Fa’aoso, who has been sober for five months, said the rehabilitation program at The Glen has helped him to admit to his problems.

    From initially revealing his story to other men around an open fire, he has now started giving talks to teenagers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

    Despite spending a month in Parklea prison for a domestic violence incident, he said he was still with his wife Tori, and can’t wait to get home and prove to his children he can be a better man.

    “I just want to give my family the best version of myself today,” he said.

    “This place (The Glen) has helped me get my life back, I also want to thank Crossroads Church in Minto.

    “I know I can’t touch a drink and I can’t touch a drug because I turn into a creature. I don’t like that person. And neither does anyone else.”

    A spokesman for the NRL said Fa’aoso’s case was sad and highlighted the need for players to seek help. He said the NRL conducted around 2500 illicit drug tests each year and had welfare officers in every club to assist players.

    “We would urge any player … to seek help … the welfare officers in the clubs can and do help.”


    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sp...m/news-story/fa4642649e95056760cf2b1809342400
     
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  2. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Paul the Chief Harragon

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    Sorry Richie but adults need to accept their actions have consequences and you dont deserve any preferential treatment nor does any nrl player who battles addiction.

    Like with anyone else I hope you get on the straight and narrow for you and your families sake.

    If players are breaching their contracts they should be sacked or disciplined accordingly as is every other adult.

    NRL players are no different to any other citizen sadly just a bit dumber at times and aside from basic dos and donts training or workplaces get should be trusted to conduct themselves well or face consequences.
     
  3. EASBay17

    EASBay17 Adam Muir

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    i dont get why the NRL should be responsible for doing more. I get drug and alcohol tested at work and its not my employers responsibility to ensure i dont turn up to work effected,nor should it be, thats on me.
    People from all industries have drug and alcohol problems, this isnt a rugby league issue its an issue across society.
     
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  4. Tubby

    Tubby Jeff Doyle

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    Yeah i find calling for the NRL to do more is a bit of a cop out. For the most part these are grown adults voluntarily choosing to take drugs. They get more education than most about the consequences so really the responsibility is on them
     
  5. R_A

    R_A Todd Bates

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    the NRL should absolutely be doing more. Gus wrote an excellent piece on whether their 'education programs' were working and whether it was worth reviewing. Quite simply we are doing all we can is not good enough.
    The first educators are the parents, which unfortunately seemed to have lacked in his life.

    The sad reality is unless you know someone who has been killed through an overdose or suicide through such mental battles you don't really know what they are going through. I don't think Fa'aoso wants sympathy from the public, he wants others going through the same thing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and unless you seek help you may end up as one of the unlucky ones.

    The more stories we hear like his the better, not just for the public but for other players. the more the NRL says 'we are doing everything we can' the less faith I have in their programs. Otherwise it wouldn't be happening or reduced.
     
  6. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Paul the Chief Harragon

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    Its sad as its sad in any case but every adult should deal with their own highs and lows with the support of friends and family. The Nrl is neither, the fans are neither.

    Sorry but tired of this they need protecting rot. They should be free to make good and bad decisions as well as the rest of society.

    Worst thing that ever happened to the game was when players became personalities.

    Do we have any indication Faaoso Tets Bird Lui or dozens others who have been caught doing the wrong thing wether its domestic violence drugs or cheating have an illness.

    People can just be low lifes but its funny how this illness is often used as a defence.

    Very sad for the brave players like preston campbell who didnt claim special treatment did their job and handled their own issues.

    Mental health and serious contract breaches arent hand in hand. Someone is sick refer them to help some help. Someone seriously breaches their contract sack them.

    Sorry but all that article read to me is that Richie a substance abusing woman beater.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 10:00 PM
  7. member 2299

    member 2299 Andrew 'Joey' Johns

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    Correct Scaleybugs!

    We seem to have left the world of taking responsibility for one's actions. Just go to a local court and here all the excuses varying from being a former neglected child, being physically and/or sexually abused, not responsible for action because heavily alcohol/drug/both affected at the time and on and on and on..
     
  8. Lord of the Skraelings

    Lord of the Skraelings Paul the Chief Harragon

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    Thanks member its the assumption that people because they do something very bad and start that angle that detracts from true every day and even nrl players that legitimately struggle with it.

    Like I said regular person or nrl star a person can still just be a low life.

    In each case I hope said individual does turn it around for them and their families.

    I personally will always loath a big fierce person like Richie terrorising his wife and kids though.
     
  9. Nickwpearce

    Nickwpearce Darren Albert

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    I say it all the time... most players take drugs and steroids its a society issue not a nrl issue...

    Not sure what can be done but if they busted everyone we wouldn't have a comp
     
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  10. listo

    listo Leo Dynevor

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    Fully agree with you Lord, a man's in charge of himself, he makes his own choices.
    As far as I'm concerned, he's a strong man physically but (was) a week one mentally. It's no use finger pointing, he made those decisions himself. I'm just glad he's grown strong enough to clean those problems up & if he only helps one get their mind right with his talks, that's a win right there
     
  11. Ethan

    Ethan Clint Newton

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    I'm sorry but Blah Blah Blah don't blame the Nrl for not doing enough to stop YOU from making bad choices that is TOTALLY on you mate same as everyone else.... What a xxxxxxx cop out ....
    ...So over these guys saying there is a booze or drug problem in our game ....Did you get the drugs from the NRL... Did you get the booze from the NRL ....Did you take the drugs and drink the booze at work while playing or training ...Did the NRL tell you to do any of these things... Did the Nrl make you drink the booze and take the Drugs No you did it because YOU wanted too....Stand up and be a man and take responsibility for your own actions you **** weak bastard .....
     

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