A week away from death due to drug and alcohol addiction 10 years ago, actor and musician Terry Serio admits he was one of the lucky ones who was able to turn his life around.
Serio, who plays criminal Terry Falconer in the latest series of Underbelly, will play a gig with his band at Wollongong's City Diggers on Saturday to launch his new EP Who's To Cry.
Serio is now an award-winning stage and screen actor - winning a Helpmann Award in 2007 for his work in the musical Keating! but a decade ago, he went into a downward spiral of addiction.
"I was very close to death, actually," Serio said.
"I was a narcotics user and dependent, I had friends come over and intervene and they brought a nurse with them."
"I just knew that this time might be the last time someone came to get me. The nurse, she'd put me in an ambulance three months before, she looked at my condition and said 'Terry, you could probably last another week'.
"Luckily, I'd run out of drugs, so I went with them. I let them pack my bags and I never went back to that place I was living."
Serio said he started out as a "dabbler" but found that drug addiction for him was a "gradual but steep incline" where it was easy to get out of control.
Once he'd hit bottom and come so close to death, he decided to change things.
"I went into rehab and there were 12 of us sitting around, and the guy who was running the group said, 'Well, statistics are that maybe two of you will get through this: that two of you will survive, out of 12'."
Serio wanted to be one of them.
"I wanted to have a chance at living my life, I'm grateful that I'm one of that very small percentage of people who do get through."
Now 10 years clean, Serio - who said he helped musician James Freud get clean before he relapsed - said he did see people in the music and acting worlds who seemed to be heading down the same path he trod a decade ago.
He tries to reach out and help if he can, but said sometimes just being an example was enough to turn people around.
"It's only by people seeing how you are now that makes them go 'maybe I can get some of that too'," he said.
"A lot of the time you can't tell anyone that their lifestyle or their behaviour is out of control."
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