STEPPING UP: Bayside Transformations Steps to Recovery Walk - David Sutherland, Ashley Bottrell and Dean Cage.
STEPPING UP: Bayside Transformations Steps to Recovery Walk - David Sutherland, Ashley Bottrell and Dean Cage. Alistair Brightman

Recovering addicts share inspiring journeys

JUST six months ago, David Sutherland was self-medicating with drugs to numb the pain of life.

Now, well into the Bayside Transformations program, he and a team of inspiring fellow residents, will lead the community in the region's first Steps to Recovery Walk.

The event, founded by Bayside Transformations Director Tina Davie, will be held on Saturday in Hervey Bay as well as Melbourne, Hobart, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Bendigo.

The aim is to raise awareness of resources available to those impacted by drugs and alcohol, end stigma and discrimination surrounding addiction and celebrate the role recovery can play in people's lives.

For David, what started with marijuana use in school turned into an an ice addiction later in life as he tried to survive the streets of Sydney and support family.

Things got so rough, he attempted to take his life.

In the darkest of times he would spend endless days lying awake.

"I had depression, and psychosis was the worst," he said. "I think I was addicted to the fear of what life was like without drugs and how I would survive."

David said Transformations gave him clarity and aspirations for a bright future.

"I want to step up and once I finish the program I want to help others facing drug problems.

"The walk this weekend is a step towards my future, my walk of faith."

Joining David is Dean Cage who came to the program straight from a Sydney jail.

Much of his life had been spent there after being brought up in a rough home with drug-addicted parents.

"I would rob and sell drugs to support my habit and live in and out of hotels," Dean said.

"I was in and out of jail from a young age and this is where I met a supervisor who told me about Transformations."

Four months in, Dean has aspirations to help troubled kids once he has graduated.

"Bayside Transformations changed my life. I have now found god and see a clear future," he said.

"This weekend I will walk to promote awareness that drugs are killing lives and wrecking families but there is help. "If this program can save me it can save anyone."

The walk will be held at Bill Fraser Park on Saturday from 6pm.

There will be food and drinks, entertainment, face painting and information stalls. Registration to walk is $15 per person or $30 a family. Lanterns are $3. Register at or on the night.