Category Archives: Sobriety

My drinking to my downfall and the rebuilding process.

Misery And The Bottle – Proverbs 31:6-7

Misery And The Bottle – Proverbs 31:6-7

My misery
No longer ties to the bottle
And the brokenness ti brought
Faded away
The beer
The wine
Seem all so distant
Not found upon this path
I walk with the Lord
With Him I find my joy
And the strength to leave my past
And the bottle no longer holds me
Released from deep within it’s grasp

Proverbs 31:6-7
Proverbs 31:6-7

Sound Of Thunder – Psalm 29:3-4

Sound Of Thunder – Psalm 29:3-4

The sound like thunder
Came over the waves
To meet yonder shore
Where a lone child hid
Hiding from the world
His shame and the pain
But in the thunder a voice
That broke through his shame
The voice of the Lord
Burnt through the darkness
The power of the voice
Lifted the soul
And carried him home
To a kingdom to belong to
No longer alone
Or hiding in shame

Psalm 29:3-4
Psalm 29:3-4

Replaced The Bottle – Ephesians 5:15-20

Replaced The Bottle – Ephesians 5:15-20

Replaced the bottle
With a song
The sick feeling
With joy
All change
When I took
The hand of the Lord
Now I give thanks
For all He has done

Ephesians 5:15-20
Ephesians 5:15-20

9 Years Sober

So today brings up nine years sober, I almost forgot this year, for the last few weeks I’m not sure what day it is!

I’m currently on garden leave as I have given my notice to leave my job for one at another merchants, so for the last four weeks I have barely left the house.  As I wasn’t furloughed last year, we worked right through lockdown, it been an nice change of pace, but with no real routine I’m not sure what day it is from one day to the next, oh well, a few more weeks and I should have some routine back.

This last year hasn’t been easy, I am still troubled by the same chest problem that started at the begin of last year, I still have a persistent cough and shortness of breath, I’ve seen a specialist and am now on the second attempt at treatment by medication, which still isn’t really sorting the problem out, I have a telephone appointment next month with the respiratory specialist, but if there is no change by then, he will refer me to the Ear Nose and Throat department to see if anything in the throat is causing the problem.

At it’s worst, I can cough so hard I start to pass out, everything goes fuzzy, my ears buzz and my body goes numb, it’s take a minute or two to come back around to normal, this at times was happening four or five times an hour, not great when I was at work.  At the moment it isn’t that bad, but I guess I’ve not been very active either, today I’ve been out for a couple of walks with friends, the second one this evening was the longest I’ve walked since these problems started, so at this moment of time I am coughing quite a bit, hopefully it will settle down over the evening.  At times last year walking to work was a problem, I would get half way and be so short of breath that my legs would begin to ache so bad, I would have to struggle the rest of the way and then hopefully recharge a little bit when I got to work.  This from someone who usually could go out on a twelve or thirteen mile walk at a fast pace with no problems at all. 

Health problems aside, I am still sober, it still has it temptation every now and again, but as each year passes they get easier to deal with.  I still get that strength from the Lord, it’s not mine.

I thank God for that strength, the mercy and grace that forgave a mess like me.  I thank God for the friends He brought me to, that help pick me up when I’m down, I thank Him too for everyone who has heard or read my story and offered any amount of encouragement or support, I thank everyone for that support, you certainly help to make this journey easier.

This is just year nine, this is still the beginning of a journey that will continue for many years to come, I’ve never treat like it’s the end or the middle, I chose to see it as the beginning and that way it always going to remind me that there is a long way to go, so there is still a lot of hard work and perseverance to go.

I heard this song on the end credits of a film I watch recently, I immediately downloaded it and have been listening to it everyday ever since, I pray this gift will last forever.

THIS GIFT by GLEN HANSARD
This gift will last forever
This gift will never let you down
Some things are made from better stuff
This gift is waiting to be found

Your heart’s in wide receiving
Been too long buried in the sand
Some things require leaving
This gift will fall right in your hand
Just try to understand

If you long enough
And you don’t give up
If you’re strong enough
And you don’t give up
And you

You’ll be no harbor to the sorrow
Just let it go

Don’t hang your head in sorrow
Don’t give up just before you win
Don’t wait around for tomorrow
Open up your arms and let it in

This gift will last forever
This gift will never let you down
Some things are made from better stuff
This gift is ready to be found
Just you believe it now

This gift will last forever
This gift will never let you down
Some things are made from better stuff
This gift is ready to be found
Your heart’s in wide receiving
Been too long buried in the sand
Some things require believing
These things just fall right in your hand
Just try to understand

If you long enough
And you don’t give up
If you’re strong enough
And you don’t give up

3000 Days Sober

Well at times it’s not been an easy ride, sometimes painful both physically and mentally, then sometimes it’s been easy going and fun.

From a time when the thought of getting through a night without a drink was a testing time, when even the people around me would rather I had a drink than try to go without, to now when the thought of drinking, even in the bad times seems so far away, it’s hard to believe I am the same person, only better I hope.

I guess writing this last paragraph has made think, was I better person drinking or sober back then, because it seems I was better to be around if I was drinking.  I think I know the answer and sadly I think it was probably the former.

I guess the frustration of life that led to the drinking, then became the frustration of not having that comfort zone of where the drink would take me when I wanted to escape the frustration of life.  Just a circle of frustration, day after day.

I know I would pace around, I was restless and irritable, I would take it out on those around me, not physically, but just my attitude, I would be quick tempered and my words would be nasty or rude, especially to my young kids.  Eventually the frustration led to nervously scratching at the skin on my arms, until sometimes they would bleed, this is who I became…

A man who could not deal with the frustration of life.

Then when the world around me fell apart, that’s when He came into my life, part of me I guess was trying to find a Saviour, but I believe He had over the previous four years been setting thoughts in my mind that would lead me to Him when I needed Him the most. The music I had been listening to, the people that came into my life, they all came together when I needed help the most.

And then, when I finally found myself in a position to pray and ask for help, there it was and the feeling when I knew my prayer had been answered was so joyful it began to change everything.

Life is not easy now, I still have the chest problems that have bothered me since the beginning of the year, I’m still coughing so hard I nearly pass out. Some days it maybe only be a couple of times, others it can be a couple of times an hour. On top of that the headaches that plagued me last summer have come back too, to say I am worn out is an understatement , but life could be a lost worst, I am alive, I am still kicking and I am still sober, I will keep going.

So here’s to the nest 3000 days and wherever that leads me.

SHINE ON by NEEDTOBREATHE
Somewhere between the end
And the point where we begin
There’s a fire burning brightly
That’s found it’s way to dim
When the feeling’s gone…

Shine on Shine on
and onto something new its long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on shine on
And let the other’s see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember me

I was with you in the valley
And up upon that hill
So take just one more step in front of you
For I am with you still you still
And you’re not alone
Shine on Shine on
And onto something new its long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on shine on
And let the other’s see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember me

Can you see my hands are open I am waiting just ahead
And you think you need it all now
But you needed me instead

Shine on shine on shine on shine on won’t you won’t you shine

Shine on Shine on
And onto something new its long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on shine on
And let the other’s see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember me

Somewhere between the end and the point where we began

2800 Days, 400 Weeks Sober

2800 Days, 400 Weeks Sober

From a time it would be hard to imagine getting through one day without alcohol to 2800 days, 400 weeks later, now it’s hard to imagine how I could have got this far without the Grace and the Strength of the Lord, none of this could be done without His love.

Before I wasn’t a nice person to be around when I tried not to drink, there were times when I had no money left and fought the urge to take what money I can find in the house to get a drink. I was short tempered and on edge, pacing around, snapping at the kids.  On those night’s Victoria would give me the money she had saved for food or bills, she said she couldn’t have me in the house like this, I was better to be around drinking, than not, that wasn’t normal, was it?

Somewhere deep down I guess I knew there was a problem, but that’s it with addiction isn’t it, it won’t let you admit it.  I was more comfortable drifting off into a deep sleep with a body pulsing with alcohol than spending quality time with those who loved me.

Before I realised how bad it was, I had lost the person I loved most, thankfully the kids never saw the worst of it, I wasn’t violent or abusive, in fact given the amount I drank I never lost control, I just got comfortable.  But as time went on it took more and more to get to that point, to get to the point I could sleep through the night.

My excuse, it was so I could relax and sleep, get through my problems without sinking, not much of an excuse I know.  I was convinced I was in control, not until I realised I had lost Victoria, did I realise how bad I was and how in reality I had lost myself.  In a way I hadn’t lost her, I guess she had lost the real me.

Even before the day I so wanted to take my own life, before my soon to be Pastor came to see me, before I made that first prayer, I can see the path to recovery that God had laid out to me.

He brought people into my life that would be the ones who helped me through those early weeks of recovery.  He put his word in my heart through music, four years before I turned to God, I had begun listening to Christian Alternative and Rock music, I sang along, not understanding the truth within it, but it was there for a reason, steps to come home to.

No one said it would be an easy ride, it hasn’t been.

Within a few weeks of quitting drinking, the withdrawals set in and the aches and pain almost became unbearable, to the point I felt drinking again was the only freedom from it.

I soon found out that is was prayer that set me free from the pain and the pull of the bottle.

At times I struggle with depression and anxiety, I’ve had a spell on anti depressants.  Currently I have to take mild anti depressant for persistent headaches that I’ve had since June, they’ve been diagnosed as tension headaches, some days they get me down, others aren’t too bad, light makes it worse, so I now wear glasses for reading etc, but also if I find the lights bringing my headache on.

I’ve been through periods of anxiety and suffered only a few weeks ago from a series of panic attacks, it made life difficult for a few weeks.

But I keep fighting, keep counting those days.

In truth, it may been 400 weeks, but this is just the start of the journey, just the beginning of a journey through life with God, everyday is a step in His grace, a day to be thankful for, even in the depression, the anxiety, the pain, I can still be thankful that He loved me enough to save me.

A few weeks ago I came across this song when I heard Dolly Parton had sung a it at the recent Country Music Awards Ceremony, over here in the UK we don’t really know much about Country Music, but most people know who Dolly is, there is after all only one Dolly Parton.  Once I heard the live version I sought out the original and came across Zach Williams’ album, I love it, but this song I have had on repeat for most of the last few weeks, I feel it could have almost been written for me, it expresses exactly how I feel, through everything THERE WAS JESUS.

THERE WAS JESUS by ZACH WILLIAMS & DOLLY PARTON
Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus

When the life I built came crashing to the ground
When the friends I had were nowhere to be found
I couldn’t see it then but I can see it now
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace
For forgiveness and a price I couldn’t pay
I’m not perfect so I thank God every day
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it

There was Jesus
On the mountains
In the valleys
There was Jesus
In the shadows
Of the alleys

There was Jesus
In the fire, in the flood
There was Jesus
Always is and always was, oh

No, I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You’re always there

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

The Caged Beast – Romans 16:20

The Caged Beast – Romans 16:20

If there’s ever a moment
Ever a time
The time is now
The moment is here
Lord, the beast within is stirring
Messing with my mind
It’s taking my hopes
Attacking my dreams
And I am falling
Deeper and deeper
To where it lies
Deep within the pit
From which You pulled me out
Oh, my Lord
Here I am
Struggling against the grip
Of this beast inside
Oh, my Lord
I pray to crush my enemy
Set it beneath Your feet
So when the evening comes
I feel Your peace
And when sleep arrives
This days is forgotten
And I am free
Just one more time
From the caged beast
The beast inside

Romans 16:20

Romans 16:20

Broken By A Dream

Broken By A Dream

I know I have been here before, I’ve had bad dreams before, reoccurring dreams that in some way get you every time.  But this one is beyond reoccurring, it tortures in a way that messes with the mind.  I know that I am not the only who suffers from these, I have read many recovering alcoholics write or talk of the same dreams, feel the same pain, anguish and guilt.

When I dream in this way the guilt runs through me hard, when I first wake I can’t get my head around the true reality, usually within minutes I can get my head around it, not today though.

These dreams, dreams where I see myself drinking, alone or with others, but nonetheless drinking, where in the dream there is a moment of realisation and then the guilt hits, that is usually when I wake.  In waking it’s like the dream continues, it hard to tell the difference between the dream and reality.

I used to get these fairly regularly, every couple of months or so, but in the last year I have only suffered from one of these, that was some months ago, over the years they come less and less, generally easier to deal with too.

Before I have even got up and walked around my room and even the house to check that there are no empty bottles, no evidence that the dream was actually real.  Once I have satisfied myself it was all a dream the guilt and the sense of panic goes.  For a while I may feel guilty, like I’ve thrown it all away, but usually within minutes this subsides, I get my head straight and carry on to face the day.

But not today.

The early panic hit when I awoke from my dream. But this was different, I couldn’t shake the feeling that although I may not have drank last night, but that I had definitely drank at some point during the last seven and half years.  Though in my heart I know that I haven’t, that I haven’t thrown anything away, my mind kept telling me I had.

After a while it all settled down, I seemed to get my head straight and move on, as before.  Then I got up to get ready for church, I stood in the shower and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe, I was so short of breath, my chest was pounding and everything went numb.  I have had panic attacks before, I know how they feel, but never this severe, this relentless, I stood paralyzed beneath the running water, I couldn’t move, only struggle for breath and cry.

Eventually, I got myself out of the shower, but I was shaking, I don’t know how long I was in there, must have been at least ten minutes.  But the panic attacks kept coming in waves, I would struggle for breath, cry for a while and then it cleared, only to follow the same cycle.

I forced myself out of the house and on empty legs made it to Church.  During the walk, the panic kept coming, not as severe, but bad enough.

Then once I got there, I just stood there shaking, until someone spoke to me.  From that point onwards, I couldn’t control it, I couldn’t breathe again, I broke down to my friend Richard and explained it all.  We went to one of the quiet rooms upstairs to talk about it and gradually I began to calm down and come back around.  Over the course of the morning, I spoke with Richard and few close friends, ones that know and understand my story and also know of these dreams, they all offered prayers and support.

It’s hard to explain these dreams and feelings to others that have no experience or reference point to compare.  The killer is the guilt, it makes me feel like I’ve let everyone down, like I failed myself and in turned failed my friends and the Lord Himself.

I can put my hand on my heart and swear I have not touched a drink since Thursday 29th March 2012, for two thousand, seven hundred and forty seven days, I have kept the beast at bay.

Today it did not want to stay caged anymore, if it couldn’t make me drink,
it was out to destroy my mind, my heart and my faith.

I’m working it all out, I’m gradually getting my head around it, it was after all just a dream, but I guess it has triggered something deeper inside.

I feel for too long I’ve held everything within, I know I have in my own way been struggling for at least twelve months, I’ve tried to push through on my own, without bothering anyone else, but you can only push so far alone.  Today I think was the day when it all had to come out.  A few things have been troubling me over the summer, I’ve tried to deal with them and just get on with it, but I think today it all became too much, today it hit the surface.

I have friends coming over later to chat, friends I know I can be genuine with, explain it all, they probably know my story, my fears and my struggles better than anyone else, they know of my past experience with these dreams, I know this can only be a good thing.

I haven’t written too much in the way of stories or articles in the last year or so, I have put all my hurt and struggle into my daily poems, but never fully addressed them.  In a poem I can touch on a subject without getting into explanations, maybe I hide behind them sometimes, but I write them with a truthful heart, sometimes with the pain, sometimes the hope and sometimes the fear, but I still understand I have been hiding and now is the time to stop, to be honest.

In being honest, I know I will help myself deal with this guilt and maybe help others understand that maybe they aren’t the only ones that feel this way too.

I started this blog exactly seven years ago today, maybe the time is right to get back to what I started to do when I began this blog, talk about exactly how I feel.  I’m going to continue with the daily poems, but I am also going to start writing like this again too, maybe once a week, maybe once a month, but I am definitely going to write more and deal with my feelings again.

Time to stop hiding.

THE HURT AND THE HEALER by MERCYME
Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say it’s over now

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ll fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

The Normal – Proverbs 2:7-8

The Normal – Proverbs 2:7-8

I look around
At this normal world
To see them enjoy
What brings me struggle
A part of me longs to be
Of normal like them
But that’s not my path
It’s too dangerous to walk
But I know I’m made
To be so different
To carry my faith
And walk with my Saviour
I’m not to be normal
No, I’m made so much stronger
And I’ll have victory over
The normal that once broke me

Proverbs 2:7-8

Proverbs 2:7-8

Under Grace Thrives – Romans 15:13

Under Grace Thrives – Romans 15:13

Another day
Yet another year
Where hope is living
Under grace thrives
Where peace conquers
The shame of my addictions
And the love of the Lord
Shines so ever brightly
Ever thankful for every moment
That I living within this love
Where hope is living
Under grace thrives

Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13