‘30 years of addiction wrecked my life and everyone’s around me. I finally put my hand up for help and saw a counsellor. That’s the message I want to get out to the young ones. Don’t try to outrun emotional and mental health problems. Get help! (Rob Lytzki, Foundation 61)
I hated school and it hated me. I was Geelong-born but I’d been to 12 different schools by Grade 2. By 14 I’d already started working when an older boy took me out partying then, after gaining my trust, he attempted to molest me. That incident changed my life forever. That was the start of the shame, blame, guilt. I tried to run from these feeling and turned to alcohol and drugs.
It was at 40, after my second marriage broke down, that I finally talked about that initial incident. I hadn’t even told my wives. I felt I couldn’t let people know I was damaged goods. But it wasn’t until I started talking about it that I was able to heal.
Here at Foundation 61, I see the constant heartbreak of fathers with children they can’t spend time with. Due to addiction they lose their jobs, their relationships break down and their families cut ties with them because they can’t cope. The addicts find out their lives have been one big lie.
What quantifies the job we do is the joy I see when families are reunited. Often it is these guys reuniting with their own parents. For those supporting an addict remember that the one you love is still inside. It’s their behaviour that is unacceptable.
After years of neglect and damaged relationships you start to believe it’s you that’s no good. They don’t try to find a way out.
We’ve had some very good results. The kid you met before who had come back to see is completing his second year at Uni. He saved up and bought a new car, but rather than trading in the old one he donated it to someone in need. I love what I do. I consider myself one of the lucky few’