After growing up in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Greg Fisher did what he thought a good Jewish boy should do. He married, had a daughter, Carly, and started making his way up the corporate ladder. But after coming out and leaving his wife, Greg’s life veered into the fast lane. A-list parties and a growing business empire were an intoxicating mix, and by the early 2000s his high-stakes lifestyle was spiralling dangerously out of control. In his brutally honest memoir Inside Out Greg writes about getting hooked on the drug ice and the destructive effect this had on his life.
I was at a friend’s house in Double Bay and we were having a great night with the usual red wine and coke. I walked into the kitchen and a friend of hers was smoking something out of a pipe. I asked what it was and he said to me, ‘Greg, you don’t want to know. Don’t touch it. I’m losing everything.’ I said that I would just have a try and again warned me, ‘Greg, don’t do it. Your life will never be the same.’ ‘Oh, stop being so melodramatic’, I said and reached out to inhale the vapours coming out of his pipe. Whoosh. It was incredible.
Ice brings up your heart rate, you feel sexy, loving, confident and social. It’s a complete rush. By then a lot of the cocaine on the market was of poor quality, as dealers were trying to make more money by cutting it further. This was pure stuff.
For the rest of the evening, I would periodically run into the kitchen to have another quick smoke. That was it. I’ll never forget it. And everything he said was true. If you have a relationship with Tina, as the drug was called, you can’t have any other relationships. Tina takes over your life. You become completely dependent; if you run out of ice you go crazy, you have to find it and you have to keep it with you.
Ice becomes your friend and confidante, your personality, your entire life. When ice was introduced into the Sydney scene it was marketed as being 100 per cent pure – the purest form of speed. You would pop it into a glass pipe, light it underneath, the crystals would melt into liquid and the liquid would vaporise into smoke. Inhaling that smoke gave you the most exquisite high.
It was so pure and so intense that it was sold in deals of 0.1 gram, a quantity that could last you a whole night. At $50 to $100 a deal, it was cheap compared to coke. And it made you alert and sexually confident compared with coke, which was increasingly having physical side effects. I carried different sized pipes with me and would often nip into a bathroom, take out a small pipe that fitted into the coin pocket of my jeans, and light it. Any of the ice left over from the previous smoke which had hardened would once again vaporise and I would get my fix and go off dancing.
As a drug, it’s easy to manage. It also goes well with any other drugs. If you’ve taken too much of a downer, ice will lift you up again. If you feel yourself crashing, you just reach for some ice and the ‘whoosh’ comes back to restore you. I very soon became addicted.
I dropped kilos in weight, had pale skin from being inside so much of the time and big black rings under my eyes. Without Tina I lost my sense of humour, had no confidence and was unable to interact with others. I walked away from my family. My parents continually rang me but I avoided them. I didn’t go to my sister’s fortieth birthday party and eventually they relied on me less and less to be a part of the family.
Like all addicts, I became a master manipulator, coming up with a story for everything. When my family commented on the disappearance of two beautiful paintings I had had hanging in my lounge (which my dealer had taken when I hadn’t paid on time), I simply said I no longer liked them and had sold them; when they were concerned at the amount of weight I had lost, I told them that it was much healthier than being a fat blob; and when they commented on how tired and drawn I looked, I barked back that they would be too if they had had their company ripped from under them and were fighting for their corporate survival.