The Story So Far – Chapter 7 – The Healing Begins

CHAPTER 7 – THE HEALING BEGINS

That night though I could hardly sleep, I just couldn’t nod off, there was so much floating around my mind and because I hadn’t had a drink, I was missing that one thing that usually relaxed me and put me to sleep, regardless of what was going on, this night I hardly slept.  I think I got about an hour in total, most of the night I either laid there staring at the ceiling or I was tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position in which to nod off.

Regardless of how much sleep I actually got, I got up the next morning feeling really encouraged, like the day before had been the first day of a new life, a new me was beginning to break through, I was still in the middle of a really big battle, there was a long way to go, it wasn’t going to be easy, but at least I wasn’t hiding from what was ahead of me anymore, I may pick up a few more scars on the way, but I was now on a journey to a new life.

I got through work far more encouraged and for the first time in a week I managed to eat normally, my appetite for food finally returned, I even had breakfast, I never usually have breakfast, in fact hardly ever have I had breakfast, but I decided as today was a new start, I was going to start it properly.

After work I went to karate, I felt in a really good mood, in my head I was singing along to the song Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson, but as the night went I on I got this nagging feeling in my head that I had to listen to a different song, no matter how many times I tried to return to humming Man In The Mirror, this feeling that I had to listen to this other song came back, it was like a woodpecker tapping on the side of my head, it wouldn’t go away, I had to listen to this song and sooner rather than later.

After training I went to the pub as usual, but this time I settled for two pints, I left a good hour before I would usually do and walked home.  I left my friend at the end of his road and immediately reached into my pocket for my iPod, I just couldn’t shake this nagging notion that I had to hear this song, someone wanted me to listen to this song and wasn’t going to let me off until I had played it.

This song had been on my iPod for a couple of years, it was by a Christian band call Tenth Avenue North, I had heard the song many times before and I actually really liked it, although I hadn’t heard it for a while.  Although it was a song I knew and liked, I have to say I had never really paid much attention to the lyrics, in all the time I had heard it, right in the middle of all the chaos that I was going through, I had never appreciated what this song was saying to me, but tonight was different, as soon as I heard the words to Healing Begins, I cried, I was walking down the main road in my town in tears listening to this song, a song which was telling me exactly what I had been doing over the last few years and what I needed to do to let the “Healing Begin”, I put the song on repeat and walked home still crying.

When I got home I went to straight to what I class as my bed and tried to sleep, I put my earphones on in the end, I gave up trying to sleep, I just kept listening to Healing Begins, like the night before I was finding it impossible to sleep, despite hardly eating for a week and hardly sleeping the night before, I still couldn’t sleep, again I think I got about an hour of sleep in total before getting up for work.  I followed my new routine and whilst doing so I played Healing Begins over and over again, something about this song had me hooked, the voice in my head that kept telling me over and over again the night before that I had to listen to this song had won, I was listening to it and I was determined to let it speak into my life.

This day was a fairly typical Wednesday at that time, I would go to work, starting at 7.30am, work all day until 5pm, I generally never took my lunch break, I would just work through with a sandwich or something as I went.  After that I went to the Architect’s for a few hours, having had a long, hard day at work and not slept properly for the last two nights, I really didn’t fancy being there that long, I thought there was a only a few bits to sort out and I could be out pretty quickly, but thing as usual there weren’t quite going to plan, things weren’t as simple as I thought and a few other things were thrown at me to sort out.  I could feel myself getting more and more stressed, this was something that happened a lot, I chose to go there mainly on Wednesday night because I had no karate to rush off to, but I liked to be in and out as quickly as possible, but it never seemed to happen that way.

This was going the same way, it was taking longer and longer and soon I began to think about that relief from the stress, to drink, in my mind I began to plan what I would normally do, walk home via the shop around the corner, so I got my work done as quickly as I could in the end and left to walk home, exhausted.

Next thing I know I was at home, I had walked by the shop, but not gone in, I hadn’t been in since Sunday and I can honestly say I have not been in that shop since that day, the 18th March 2012 was the last time I brought alcohol into this house, it was the last time anyone brought alcohol into this house.  I had my tea and settled down for the night, I can’t actually remember what I did that night, if I just watched the TV or pottered around on the computer, but the next thing I knew it was almost 11pm at night and I had not had a drink and since leaving the Architect’s I had not even thought about having a drink, I had not paced the house, I had not scratched at my skin, I had not lost my patience with anyone and at no point had I longed for a drink, that third of a bottle of wine still sat on the fridge and I never even thought about it.

When Gareth had come around two nights before, we discussed praying, I told him about the only time in my life that I had prayed to God, when I was eight and my Granddad had suffered a heart attacked, my Dad had rushed to see him as his wasn’t expected to make it through the night, that night I prayed for God to save my Granddad, I prayed over and over again.  The next morning my Mum told us that he had died, from that moment I decided there wasn’t a God, there couldn’t be as he was supposed to listen to prayers and grant them, either I prayed wrong or he just didn’t exist, I guess I didn’t understand that sometimes it is just their time, my Granddad had had a hard life, he had suffered greatly in his childhood in Poland, firstly at the hands of the Nazis and then at the hands of the Russians, before his family had him smuggled out to England, it was just his time to go, but I blamed a God who either didn’t listen or didn’t exist.  Over the years my attitude to God had mellowed, I didn’t really believe myself, I knew there was something more to life than we could see, I was fine with other people having faith, but I didn’t want to know.  After I had talked about this, Gareth said there was no right or wrong way to pray, just to talk to God, that all he wants us to do.

So that Wednesday night, I had come through a stressful night and had got through it without drinking, now I knew there was no way I could do this on my own, I had never had the strength to do this, something was happening to me that I couldn’t quite understand, the night before I had this voice in my head telling me I had to listen to a certain song, then the song spelt out my life at that time and what I needed to do about it, something or someone was helping me in a way that at that time I just couldn’t understand.  So I put my headphones in and listened to Healing Begins over and over a few times, then I did something that I had hadn’t done in thirty years.

I turned off my iPod, the lights were off, there was no TV on at all, nothing.  So I closed my eyes and put my hands together and I began to pray.  I thanked God for getting me through this night without drinking, I thanked him for what he had done for me so far, I asked for the strength to get through each day and I asked for peace to get through the night.  I was convinced that as I hadn’t drank, then I was not going to sleep again, I don’t know quite what I expected to happen, but I had nothing to lose at this time, I knew I hadn’t done all this on my own strength, so I prayed.

The next thing I knew my alarm was going off, it was time to get up and get ready for work.  That moment I woke and realised that not only had I slept, I had had the best night’s sleep I had had in years, the most peaceful sleep I had probably ever had, immediately in that moment I knew God had answered my prayer, I felt this immediate sense that I had got my prayer right this time and God was listening.

There was a bit of a spring in my step all day after that.  Wherever I went I had Healing Begins on repeat.  I admit after karate I went to the pub again, but just like Tuesday night I had two pints and then left, I had control over what I was drinking, when I got home I didn’t reach for the bottle over the fridge, I went to bed, prayed and slept once more.

Friday became the third night in a week where I never had a drink, I had no urge for a drink at all, it was like something inside me had been removed, that monster inside had been silenced, no longer did it scream for alcohol to fuel it, it was quiet, it was sleeping, I didn’t wake it and it didn’t bother me.  I kept listening to my song and I prayed just like I had been for the last few nights, once again I slept like a baby, I didn’t need the alcohol to sleep anymore, I had something better than that, much better.

On Saturday, once again I went to the pub again after teaching, but once more I kept it to two pints and left far earlier than normal.  But something changed here, I began to tell people what was happening, I told my friends everything that had happened so far and admitted to them that I had become an alcoholic.  They kept saying I wasn’t, I guess there are so many people we see in the pub that are always completely drunk, that we just expect every alcoholic to be passed out drunk all the time. I found myself getting angry with them, being an alcoholic is not necessarily how much you drink or what you drink, it’s why you drink and your lack of control over it, I couldn’t get them to understand, not until I told them what I would do after I left them each night, how I would go home and continue drinking, finish it in the morning and go to work, how bad I was when I couldn’t drink.  I put on a brave face for karate, I kept this persona of a guy who was in charge of his life, I was a leader, I helped others with their life problems, yet behind the mask, when the superman costume came off, I was a wreck, but I never let anyone see that.

It was this night that I finally began to realise just how much I was drinking, it was this conversation and the need to explain to them what I was, that I began to admit to myself and the world just what was really going on.  As I say I never lied to Gareth, because I didn’t know the truth, I told him what I knew, but now I was finding out the truth, I was digging deep to explain to these people who I was and I was finally finding out myself.  I left after two pints, I never tried to convince anyone to stay for anymore, I was content and I went straight home, no detour to the shop around the corner, home, watch a bit of TV with the kids and then bed, I had a plan for tomorrow and I needed the rest, so I listened to Healing Begins again, prayed and then went to sleep.

HEALING BEGINS by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you’re good
And you can’t believe it’s not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let ’em fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear

So let it fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now
We’re here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don’t fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

2 thoughts on “The Story So Far – Chapter 7 – The Healing Begins

  1. conversationcat

    Your sorry is amazing and I really appreciate the honesty of it. The part when God does something in you, takes you to that place where you know that it’s not you, but it’s Him, is the most amazing experience. I have moments like that often – peaceful sleeping and quietening of my mind, seeing things from another perspective. It really is the stuff that transcends all understanding and it’s breathtaking. Your testimony is so powerful.

    Reply

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