Gavin Crosisca from the outside had it all. A successful AFL Premiership player with arguably the most popular sporting organization, Collingwood Football Club. Touted as one of the next generation of AFL coaches on his retirement, a beautiful family and opportunities galore.
However he had one very dark secret…..Gavin Crosisca was an addict.
After moving to Melbourne from QLD in late 1985 with his mother Kay his AFL career started with Collingwood Football Club in 1986 through a premiership in the U19”s. With Leigh Mathews just arriving and taking on the role as senior coach the task of developing Collingwood into a feared club had begun
Over the next 14 years Gavin played in the historic drought breaking 1990 premiership, play for his state and receive several top 3 finishes in the Collingwood Best and Fairest. Gavin was regarded as a strong leader for Collingwood and was rewarded with deputy vice-captain and vice-captain leadership positons throughout his career. Gavin was known for his long left foot kick providing plenty of run and attack from defence but it was his hardness at the football and his willingness to tackle and pressure the opposition that made him stand out as the ultimate team player.
Retiring at the end of the 2000 season Gavin’s ambition was to become one of the next up and coming senior coaches of the AFL. The only problem was Gavin had played his entire career while addicted to cannabis, alcohol and gambling, a life he kept from everyone, even the players he was involved with throughout his 246 games.
Throughout the years while Gavin balanced AFL Assistant Coaching roles, a husband and a father of 3 children his daily addictions escalated and finally brought him to his knees. For 28 years Gavin was addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling. This was a life he didn’t understand. Why he continued to self-medicate and ultimately self-destruct with addicted behaviors controlling his every move. Embarrassed and ashamed of the lifestyle he was leading Gavin kept the internal discomfort, depression and anxiety he experienced hidden from everyone around him.
From the depths he faced during a long and painful battle with addiction, to a loving intervention organised by his wife Nicole that placed him in Rehab, Gavin was finally able to find treatment.
After spending 4 months in residential addiction treatment Gavin was finally able to start putting the pieces back together slowly reconciling the relationships that meant most to him, his family.
Gavin’s courage was shown when he went public with his story of addiction alongside Eddie McGuire on EMT in September 2012 to give others hope. He continues to share his story and experience regularly as key note speaker to help destroy the stigma that is attached to someone who is addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling
Gavin has re-educated in the field of Alcohol and Other Drugs and has completed certified training in the USA as an addiction Interventionist, educating, supporting and coaching families to help their loved ones into treatment. Co-founder of Sober Living Housing Addiction Treatment Centre Gavin now works with people who are struggling with their own addiction and the families that love them providing an opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge so they too can live free from the bondage of addition.
Gavin’s presentations as keynote speaker are open and honest connecting with the audience as a result of his sincere approach and compelling stories. He offers interesting and educated knowledge from his own experience and also learning’s on the complexities of the disease and its associated behaviours, and then how recovery is possible.
Gavin Crosisca Statistics
Born: 15 September 1968
Recruited From: Western Districts (QLD)
Debut: Round 1 1987 v South Melbourne
Honours: Collingwood premiership player 1990
Life Member 1997
R.T. Rush Trophy (runner up in the best-and-fairest) 1998
J.J. Joyce Trophy (third in the best-and-fairest) 1989, 1995
(Wrecker award 1990, 1995, 1997
Best Clubman 1997
Best Teammate 1995, 1999
Inducted into the Collingwood Hall of fame 2016