Category Archives: Sobriety

My drinking to my downfall and the rebuilding process.

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

Seven Years Sober – 29/3/12 to 29/3/019 – Just The Beginning

In the ten days since that Sunday where I felt I was at the end of myself, things had definitely changed. That was the last time I brought alcohol into the house and in the time since then, I had drunk only 10 pints, no more than two in one evening, there were even evenings without drink. Those ten pints over ten days was the equivalent of what I had drunk at the pub alone on that last weekend, never mind the wine I drank at home.

I had come to find as those ten days passed, that each time I drank, I disliked the taste ever more, by the time Thursday 29th March 2012 came around, I was pretty convinced I was meant to stop altogether. As I walked from that evening’s karate class over to the pub, I stated that if I didn’t like the taste of the first pint, then that was it, I was never drinking again.

I ordered my drink, found our usual table and sat down, then I tasted it, it was awful. I’m sure to this day, there was nothing wrong with that pint of cider, I’m sure it was perfectly okay, but right then, in that moment, to me it tasted like vinegar!

I finished the drink, it took some doing and that was it, I order a lime and soda, drank that and went home. That was the last drink of alcohol I have ever tasted, since that moment 10.30pm Thursday 29th March 2012, I’ve been clean and sober, totally alcohol free.

I’m sure I was meant to taste that drink the way I did, as I say, I’m sure it was perfectly fine, but this new spirit of God within was fighting against the alcohol addiction. This then was the real start of the fight.

Just two weeks previous, I couldn’t get through the night within out a drink, I just couldn’t not drink, now I was getting through the night without, so now was the big test, could I get through the rest of my life without it, so far so good, but it’s not been easy.

The continual fight against this inner demon has only been possible through the strength of God, without Him, I couldn’t do this. It’s easier now, but it wasn’t back then, there were some dark and painful weeks ahead, all may have seemed easy to just say no more, but moments would come where it would have been easier to give in to the temptation, than to fight it, in those moments only prayer and that strength through the Lord did I make it through, it was hard, but my God is bigger.

The process of recovery came that day I tried to end my life, the moment I put down that blade, I guess I surrendered to God, then over the coming weeks I gradually found Him more and more, I accepted and embraced Him, in turn He set me free. From the moment He said that my kids needed me more, the moment I heard that voice, I was His and He saved me.

A couple of weeks ago at Church, as the anniversaries approached of all these moments which define who I am now, I told my team at Church how much they meant to me, how without God and His Church, I would be nothing, without them I would be dead, I couldn’t help but cry as I thanked them.

After that one of the younger member of our team came to me, she’s in the same youth group as my kids and she told me that one evening Matt, our Pastor asked each of the youth group what they are most thankful to God for doing in their life, both my kids said they were thankful that God had save me!

Of all the compliments or words of encouragement I have heard over the last seven years, this was the most profound and instantly made me burst into tears, I didn’t realise how deeply they felt about this, I hadn’t really discussed any of this in detail with either of them, I didn’t know they felt that way, I couldn’t hold my emotions as she told me and as I write this now, I’m crying again.

The only thing I can say, is thank you to our great God. This maybe seven years sober, but it’s just the start and I pray I will have His grace and strength for every step of the future.

FROM THE DAY by I AM THEY
When You found me, I was so blind
My sin was before me, I was swallowed by pride
But out of the darkness, You brought me to Your light
You showed me new mercy and opened up my eyes

From the day You saved my soul
‘Til the very moment when I come home
I’ll sing, I’ll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul

Where brilliant light is all around
And endless joy is the only sound
Oh, rest my heart forever now
Oh, in Your arms I’ll always be found

From the day You saved my soul
‘Til the very moment when I come home
I’ll sing, I’ll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul

My love is Yours
My heart is Yours
My life is Yours
Forever

My love is Yours
My heart is Yours
My life is Yours
Forever

From the day You saved my soul
‘Til the very moment when I come home
I’ll sing, I’ll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul

From the day You saved my soul
‘Til the very moment when I come home
I’ll sing, I’ll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul
From the day You saved my soul

Cleaning House

For the previous week I hadn’t drank that much, not since the previous Sunday when I really found myself on the edge of life.

That night was the last time I had a real binge and the last time I brought alcohol into the house. Since then I had only drunk at the pub after karate and instead of downing as much as I could, I had just two pints each time and then gone home, I was gaining control, it was hard, but I was doing it.

Each night now since that moment on that Wednesday evening I had been praying, I had started this relationship with the Lord and from this I was gaining the strength to find control, but I felt I wasn’t ready for attending Church just yet, I felt I still had things that needed taking care of before I made that step.

So come Sunday morning I went into town and brought a number of things, including new bedding, a new watch, a journal and the biggest plastic container I could find.

When I got home, I put my old bedding in the box, this still had that smell of stale alcohol and sweat, it smelt of the old me. I put in old clothes that I usually wore when around the house, these smelt the same, they had to go too. I also put in my old watch for the same reason.

Then on top of all that, there was one more thing that had to go. The previous Sunday I hadn’t quite finished the second bottle of wine I had brought home, since then it had sat on top of the fridge, untouched.

As the week went past I found myself talking to that bottle as I walked by it. I wasn’t going mad, I was taking control. Each time I walked by I told it that it couldn’t have me, I had a plan for it and that didn’t including drinking it. I told it that it didn’t have power over me anymore, I was winning.

So I took the bottle down, placed on top of everything else and closed the box. I wrote in the box the date and “The Healing Had Begun”. Then I took the box and put it in the cellar with all the other boxes of stuff that have been forgotten about over the years.

It’s still there, seven years on.

I felt I had to pack away that part of my life, clean house and start afresh, this was the end of what was bad and the start of something better. That day everything that reminded me of the worst of me had to go, I had to say goodbye to it, it was part of the process, part of the healing.

DEAR X (YOU DON’T OWN ME) by DISCIPLE
Dear pain, oh, it’s been a long time
Remember when you were holding me tight
I would stay awake with you all night

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies

I let you go but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Dear hate, I know you’re not far
You would wait at the door of my heart
I was amazed at the passion in your cries

Dear anger, you made me so high
You were faithful to show up on time
Such a flame that was burning in your eyes

I let you go, but you’re still chasing

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

You tempted me to look back
But everything that we had together was a lie

Go ahead, you’re never going to take me
You can bend, but you’re never going to break me
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Go ahead, put a target on my forehead
You can fire, but you’ve got no bullet
I was yours, I’m not yours anymore
You don’t own me

Finding Peace

For the second night running I had very little sleep. Just two pints in two days was not enough to take the edge off what was happening. Although I had a sense of change, I was changing things about myself, fighting the urges of addiction and generally trying to be a better me, I don’t think as yet I had fully embraced the effect God was already having on my life.

I didn’t know who had spoke to me on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t known who had whispered that my children needed me. I didn’t know who had said I had to listen to “Healing Begins”, these were just voices in my head, I didn’t know then that they were the voice of God.

Work for me is pretty much a nine and half hour shift, then at times a would leave work, walk fifteen minutes to where I used to work for the architects and do a few hours work there, come Wednesday evening this was my day.

It had been a hard day at work and then the work at the architects wasn’t straight forward either, I wanted to get in there do what I needed to do, then get out, but this wasn’t happening, things were going on and on, it seemed like there was more and more things I had to sort out.

I remember beginning to get stressed with it all and thinking to myself, it would all be alright, on the way home I could nip to the shop, pick up a couple of bottles of wine and then when I get home, all would be alright, I had something to look forward to!

I finally finished my work and set off home. I got home, had tea, watched a bit of tv with the kids and then decided it was time for bed, then it hit me…

I hadn’t had a drink.

I hadn’t gone to the shop or grabbed those couple of bottles and I hadn’t missed it or craved for it since leaving the architects, something had changed, there was a Spirit within I never knew I had.

At that moment I closed my eyes, put my hands together and prayed, I thanked God for the strength He had given me to get through this night, I prayed for that continued strength to keep fighting, to get through all of this.

Then I put my head on the pillow and went to sleep. I woke the next morning with the alarm and immediately felt I had had the most peaceful nights sleep ever, at that moment I felt with all certainty that God had heard my prayer and answered it.

In that moment God became real to me, for years I had not believed, now I knew He was there and I knew He was for me, all I could do was cry, but now for the first time in ages, they were tears of joy.

That morning my journey with God started in earnest, things had really changed.

GIVE YOU PEACE by ECHOING ANGELS
I see you lying their whispering prayers
I hear you breathing out hollowed be thy name
Holding out my hand catching every tear
Oh my child I’ll never leave your side

I will give you peace when the walls come crashing down
I will give you peace through the night
When you’ve had all you can take can’t face another day
I’ll give you peace, I’ll give you peace

For such a time as this I have you here
Chosen for the lost to show I’m near
Through your brokenness my glory shines
And through your frailty my strength will rise

I will give you peace when the walls come crashing down
I will give you peace through the night
When you’ve had all you can take can’t face another day
I’ll give you peace, I’ll give you peace

Your beautiful, your beautiful
Perfect in my sight
Righteousness adorns you my bride
Your beautiful, so beautiful

I will give you peace when the walls come crashing down
I will give you peace through the night
When you’ve had all you can take can’t face another day
I’ll give you peace, I’ll give you peace

I will give you peace when the walls come crashing down
I will give you peace through the night
When you’ve had all you can take can’t face another day
I’ll give you peace, I’ll give you peace