Danny Shannon says he spent half his life trying to score drugs in Sydney’s Cabramatta, back in the ’90s when heroin was on every street corner.
He was at “rock bottom” for 17 years but has now developed an app to help others heal, and is sharing his story in the hopes it will lead others on a journey to recovery too.
The creator of Encapsulator said he overdosed so many times that on several occasions he had broken ribs from paramedics trying to revive him with CPR.
“I died many times throughout my addiction,” he told A Current Affair.
He still thought he “was invincible” even though he had to be revived “15 times”.
But now Mr Shannon believes the only reason he didn’t die is he would always get somewhere he could be found, when using.
“So many people have passed away from heroin overdose, you know. 99 per cent of people I know who have died have been from heroin overdose,” Mr Shannon said.
Mr Shannon believes he spent “millions” on his $200 a day habit, which he also funded by committing crimes.
He said he was constantly caught breaking into shops, stealing cars and was in high-speed police pursuits and spent six years in and out of jail, even escaping in 2001 by scaling the fence at Sydney’s Silverwater Jail.
Ms Gaddes is proud of her accountability but relapsing is never far from her or Mr Shannon’s minds. (A Current Affair)
After more than 50 attempts at rehabilitation, it finally worked. Mr Shannon said while he never used again, he also never forgot.
“It’s like I had no spirit, my joy was just getting on, I was just an empty shell,” he said of his 25-year-old self.
After a few years clean, Mr Shannon recorded an encouraging video message to his future self about how far he had come.
Watching it back five years later, he realised the concept could help others heal too.
“This ability to completely express myself without any fear of judgement from a counsellor or case manager or a friend was really obvious,” Mr Shannon said.
“I noticed I was able to be talking about stuff with no fear.”
Encapsulator is now helping countless survivors like Jessica Gaddes.
At 22 years old, she spiralled into an ice addiction that lasted six years.
She recorded a video and locked it in the digital vault for 18 months before deciding to watch it for the first time.
“I see someone who is still processing through life, as you can tell I am quite emotional and I am talking about the people I care about,” Ms Gaddes said.
She also spent time in jail — enough to make her realise she needed help.
“I just remember looking around thinking how did I end up here? I have gone from an all-girls catholic high school student, real estate agent, property owner to here,” Ms Gaddes said.
Counsellor Pjero Mardesic said Encapsulator could help addicts own their recovery.
“We get to grow from that, we get to really look inside ourselves and go ‘hang on, I am normal and I do have tough days and it’s okay and I just need to keep pushing forward’ and that level of accountability to yourself,” he said.
Ms Gaddes is proud of her accountability but relapsing is never far from her or Mr Shannon’s minds.
“I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore,” she said.
You can access Danny’s Encapsulator app here.