I was born in England in 1965, though due to work opportunities offered to my father I spent most of my childhood growing up on the South Island of New Zealand. When my parents divorced I was 14 and moved to Australia with my mother and only sibling - my brother Lee.
In 1982, the day before my 17th birthday, I joined the Royal Austalian Navy and began a career which would span the next 23 years. Throughout the first 10 years of my career I bounced in and out of relationships and spent most of my free time pursuing women, parties and any rush I could find on my motorcycle. Durng those and subsequent years life dished up the trials and challenges most of us have to face, and through the influence of many people, places and experiences I began to discover myself.
I wrote my first poem in 1989 while serving on a Darwin-based patrol boat, simply to vent my frustrations at having to spend so many long nights at sea. Over the years my motives for writing a book have changed, and for many reasons the dream to get a book published never progressed any further than that - just a dream.
In 1992 I met my future wife, Vicky, and although the first few years of our relationship were at times volatile, we managed to struggle through it. Eventually two people who simply shared a bed became best friends and fell deeply in love.
In 1996 our daughter Ayeesha was born, followed eighteen months later by my son Bowie; and for a short time life seemed complete. Unfortunately, the truth was somewhat different, because beneath the surface lay a problem which had influenced most of my adult life; and this influence was becoming all-consuming.
On the 25th February 2001, I came to the realisation that my drinking had reached a stage where it was not only destroying my relationhip with Vickly and the children, it had also begun jeopardising my career. I then made what I considered to be the hardest decision of my life, and placed myself in an alcohol rehabilitation program.
By June of that year I had accepted that I was an alcoholic and had begun my life of recovery. As for that difficult decision to do something about my drinking - well, it turned out to be the greatest decision I have ever, and probably ever will, make.
The complexities of sobriety are challenging, as are the complexities involved in simply living! However, sobriety has given me opportunities and rewards beyond anything I would have ever thought possible while I was drinking. In addition to the exceptional and complete life I now share with my family, I have set and accomplished many goals - not least of which has been finishing this book.
The following pages represent a cross section of my poems, thoughts and art; a view of the people I have encountered, the world I have seen, and a look at myself, stretching back to 1989, when I wrote my first verse.
Through my words and my art I have been able to give a gift to my brother, a memory to my children and theirs, a 'thank you' to my wife and my parents, but above all - I have realised a dream.
I hope that somewhere in these pages you find the inspiration to pursue or rekindle whatever dream you have or may have had at some point in your life. I truly believe that a life without dreams is life only half-lived, and every person deserves to be all that they can be.