Inspirational tale of self-discovery

NARACOORTE Independent Learning Centre students heard about the battles of alcohol and drug addiction, the dangers of pornography and the path to self-destruction last week.

"Shed Happens" organiser Arnie Pfitzner invited Darryl Pittman from Russell Island in Queensland to chat about his personal journey.

His story was challenging and confronting but an inspirational tale of self-discovery and recovery for the young adults.

Mr Pittman first started drinking at the age of 16.

He said that set him on a path of self-destruction as he drank himself to oblivion and eventually started experimenting with drugs.

"Alcohol stripped me of my morals," he said.

"I started to lose all my morals and principles. My quality of life was getting evaporated right before my eyes."

Mr Pittman married and had two children but in the end he chose alcohol over the relationships he had with his family.

He said he hid from society and became a closet drinker.

"Everything I got in trouble for was all alcohol related," he said.

"Once I drank I could turn into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde...I blamed everyone else for my problems.

"Believe you me, alcohol and drugs are a killer."

Naracoorte "Shed happens" organiser Arnie Pfitzner (right) invited Adelaide's Gavin Jaeschke (left) to speak at the Tuesday night meeting and Darryl Pittman, from Russell Island in Queensland, to chat to Independent Learning Centre students on Wednesday about their life stories.

Naracoorte "Shed happens" organiser Arnie Pfitzner (right) invited Adelaide's Gavin Jaeschke (left) to speak at the Tuesday night meeting and Darryl Pittman, from Russell Island in Queensland, to chat to Independent Learning Centre students on Wednesday about their life stories.

Mr Pittman talked about his addictive nature as he tried to escape from reality and his problems.

He had a child with another woman and then later married for the second time - a relationship he is fortunate to still be in today.

He spoke about being diagnosed with hepatitis C, failing numerous drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and suffering from moments of insanity, for example when he chased his wife down the street with a loaded rifle.

At one stage he was told he had three months left to live because his liver was breaking down.

Off he went to rehabilitation again and started on a spiritual program called "12 steps to recovery".

He failed, got kicked out, and went back to drinking himself to oblivion.

After begging to be let back in and being accepted he reached a turning point in his recovery.

"A man said to me that you will never make the program if you don't find a higher power," Mr Pittman said.

"He said no one had ever made it if they hadn't found a higher power. It could be anything, it didn't matter but I had to find it."

When Mr Pittman was finally able to do this he said it "opened up the door to let me change my life.

"My personality changed and my defects were not as bad as they used to be," he said.

"Last month I celebrated six years of sobriety."

Mr Pittman said he found the biggest thing was that people, especially males, didn't talk about their problems.

"Australians have the highest rate of suicide and 70 per cent is males," he said.

"We've got to get out of those dark areas...the hidden secrets will kill.

"You have got to be honest with yourself. Once I found out that it allowed me to be honest with others.

"We've all got battles but we need to get out there and discuss them. We need to get into the trenches together and fight those battles.

"We are all diamonds in the rubble. Some of us are uncut and unpolished but we're all diamonds and have something to give."

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