Meet a Mate - Gary
04 October 2020
When veteran Gary Myors first walked through the doors at the Mates4Mates Family Recovery Centre in Hobart three years ago, it was a defining moment that changed his life forever. Read Gary's story.
Gary, who joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 15 in 1965, served for eight years before being discharged in 1973.
A difficult experience in the military led him to withdraw, shutting off from anything that reminded him of his time in the Defence Force for more than 30 years.
It wasn’t until he reconnected with his past that he realised just how much it had negatively affected him and how finding the right support network could transform his life for the better.
“A friend invited me to Mates4Mates and for the first time I found a group of people who I could relate to and who I enjoyed being with. It was a welcoming, non-judgemental place – everyone had their own story, and nobody judged you for yours,” Gary said.
“After becoming a Mate, life started to improve. I learnt that if you face your demons, get the right help and treatment, you can turn your life around.
“I’ve gone from an alcoholic struggling with depression, to a stable family man and grandfather.”
For Gary, finding a group of like-minded people who understood him was a welcomed reprieve. It also inspired him to write a book about his own father, who served in World War II.
Like many, his father rarely spoke about his experience during the war – and like Gary, had turned to alcohol to help numb the pain of what happened.
“In 2006, two years before my father passed away, I decided it was important that his story was heard so I sat him down and interviewed him over two days. It was the first time that he had spoken about many of his experiences,” Gary said.
“I put the tapes away and it wasn’t until last year that I decided to get them back out, listen to them again and write a book about his life so that his story could be remembered. The book is called, My Dad’s War.
“Like many others, he enlisted in the army when WWII started. After fighting in North Africa and Greece, he landed in Crete. On the day he was withdrawing to go back to Africa, he was sent back to pick up a biscuit tin and during that trip was taken prisoner along with 2,000 other Australians.
“He was sent to the Stalag XIII-C camp in Germany where he remained a prisoner of war until the war ended.
“Writing his story not only showed others what he went through, but it helped me understand my experience better and what it meant.”
Gary said he was honoured to share his story.
“I’ve found so many others who faced the same issues and mental-health challenges I have and we’re all on this journey together.”