JEFF Amatto says he "knows the feeling all too well".
In the last nine years, the proud Wiradjuri man has been able to reflect through the lens of sobriety at the feeling of those dark days.
He was in a cycle of drug addiction and incarceration which begun at age 13.
But his experience are now proving beneficial for youth and communities throughout the land.
Next week, Mr Amatto will share his experiences at The Youthie with a series of talks about making choices in life which don't lead to a destructive path involving drugs, booze and jail.
"My talks are around how important culture is for my people and the advice I like to give young ones is to find that positive peer circle," he said.
"And you got to have education, it's really important to get kids thinking about drugs and alcohol and that it's okay to speak up and it's okay ask for help."
He said the workshops were about prevention and helping kids learn from his own mistakes.
Mr Amatto swears by the power of culture and said it was an Indigenous rehab scheme which helped him turn his life around.
Mr Amatto's talks have been facilitated by the Tamworth Community Drug Action Team.
The first session is at 10am on June 18 for students and community members. It's followed by a session for parents, guardians and carers at 5pm.
There will be another session for students at 10am on June 19.