Tag Archives: Addiction

Beginning, End, Beginning

Beginning, End, Beginning

Beginning of a soul
Our God
He is there
He who forms the soul
Breathes life into the heart
Walking with us through life
Through every wrong turn
There in all our failures
There for every fall
He was with me at the darkness
When I couldn’t take no more
He heard my cries at the end

End is where He caught me
In the darkness of my nights
Where I could fight no more
He caught me in the fall
Removed the burdens from my hands
Released me from the chains
Addiction held me within
He turned the end around
Took away all the pain
And there it started again
As He took me back to the beginning



Please don’t take another pill
You’ve sucked it down
How do you feel?
Has it lifted you from there?
Or dragged you down
Down deeper far
Is this the answer?
Is this the way?
The artificial
Will it save the day?
Will it release the pain?
You hold deep down
The pain that erodes the hope inside
A pill won’t help
It just delays it all
Tomorrow the pain will still be there
Tearing apart the fragile mind
Of a broken soul beyond the world
I speak of this
I’ve took the bottle
It never helped
Just numbed it all
But it returns when it all wore off
And I took it again to try and hide it all
A bleeding heart in the dead of night
Lost his way
Dying inside
Until a day I could face no more
And as I stared to death beyond
His voice came through above the chaos
To shine a light upon the pain inside
From that day I sought Him more
The bottles, the pills had no hold
I put them down and sought His love
To find a way out of this pain
Through open doors I found the light
And I walk free once more
So is this pill the answer for you?
Or can you hear Him calling you
To rise from just where you are
He loves you as He loves me
He cries for you in heaven above
He waits for you
My friend I pray
Embrace His love

The Ransom – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The Ransom – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Lord You paid the price
The highest ransom
For this worthless soul
Taking up the cross
So I could live again
Why would You buy my life
At the cost of Your own
I was worthless in my sin
Just a wretch in my addiction
Yet You paid my ransom
With Your own life
So I could live again
What could I ever do to repay You
All I can do is to try
To try to be like You
I know that I will fail
But You will love me anyway

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Don’t Give Up

Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up
We’re going to find a way
Don’t let go
We can make it through

Addiction grips
Souls slide to despair
Addiction diminishes
Our hearts to hear

But light will come
I’ve been to where you are
But life will grow
When Christ finds you here

Submit your soul
To the Lord above all
Submit your life
To the Glory of the Lord

Don’t give up
We’re going to find a way
Don’t let go
With Christ we will make it through

1500 Sober Days

It’s hard to believe this journey, hard to believe that this evening I’ve had 1500 reasons to praise and thank God.  From those dark days of mid March 2012, when everything around me was collapsing in on itself and I finally realised that I had no control anymore, the alcohol had control over me.

I couldn’t say no anymore, even if I tried, to some it may seem like a cowards way to give in, but when you’re there in the middle of the fight, trying to resist, but just not able to, you know that it’s not being a coward, it’s being a prisoner of addiction. I still remember crying out I’m sorry as the tears fell, each time I left the house to go buy more alcohol, I tried not to, but I just couldn’t hold back the tide of addiction, I was useless to resist.

By that time I wasn’t even eating, I couldn’t eat, everything tasted like cardboard, I just survived by drinking, I was heading for oblivion. Darkness and the bottle were my only friends.

As that dark week dragged on I found myself on the edge, I wanted to end it all, but couldn’t.

Come Monday 19th March 2012, things began to change, there was a conscious choice to start fighting back, I rang Gareth, the Pastor at our local Church, met with him and made the choice to change everything.  In the ten days between that meeting and that last drink on Thursday 29th March 2012, I began praying for the first time in my life, reduced my drinking, stopped bringing alcohol into the house and started to sort myself out.

On that evening of 29th March, I made the declaration that I would never drink again if I didn’t like the taste of my first drink that night, it tasted awful, the worst drink I’ve ever had, I finished it, but since that night I have never drunk a single drop of alcohol again.

I’m in the happy place now that drinking is the furthest from my thoughts. Now it makes my angry when I see relentless alcohol adverts on TV, the though of being in a pub is hard to deal with, though with the right people I can go into a pub and enjoy a Pepsi, at times when I’m in a shop and see all the alcohol close to the checkout, I often feel like smashing every bottle.

This ride isn’t easy, life still has it’s good days and some really bad days, but each night I can be thankful to God that I am still sober and still free from those chains.

Life may not be perfect or the way I want it, but I’m still alive, deep inside I still believe that had God not saved me from myself, I would not have lived beyond 2012, for that I am truly thankful.

I can’t thank everyone enough for the support I have received in those 1500, to everyone I have met at Everyday Champions Church, who have been by my side all the way through and also everyone who has took the time to read this blog, to comment and encourage or have simply liked one of my posts, I thank you all.

I sing praises to Your name
Praises to Your name
The name that’s so much higher than all names

All honor to Your name
All honor to Your name
The name that’s so much greater than all names

Be lifted up
Be lifted higher
Be lifted up
Be lifted higher

Your name is life
Your name is Hope inside me Hope inside me
Your name is love
A love that always finds me always finds me

From The Fortress Of Darkness (James 1:12-15)

From The Fortress Of Darkness (James 1:12-15)

I came from a world
That tempted my soul
My temptations my comfort
No resistance could I find

Then He broke wide the walls
Of my fortress of darkness
He led me out into light
As chains of addiction fell broken

Those temptations have faded
My soul has control
By the strength of the Father
I am counted free once again

James 1:12-15

James 1:12-15

Rivers In The Night

Rivers In The Night (Colossians 3:15)

Each night that passed
Followed by the dark of day
And there I drowned
In the vast oceans
Of my fallen tears
Another sip, another mouthful
From endless bottles
To wash the pain
Of one heart split in two

The nights endless came
In my slumber a dream
A precious dream
That just for this night
The rivers upon my cheek
Would come the daylight run dry
The silence of my dreams echo
Across the skies unto the heavens
To the King upon His thrown

Endless nights came to pass
As through my clouds You came
Daylight rose once again
To shine upon a shattered heart
With peace You broke chains
And love that starved the cravings
Rivers of sorrow and pain dried
Tear of joy now fill my oceans
A heart once split is now Yours forever

Colossians 3:15

Colossians 3:15

A Place I Feel Safe

A Place I Feel Safe (Psalm 31:3-5)

A view of the future
Seen from the past
It’s where I’ve been
Yet not where I’ll return
They set the traps
Though You hold me safe
Glass walls
The temptation
I turn from them all
I run to You
My rock
My fortress
To a place I feel safe
And there I kneel
Before You Lord
And I commit my spirit
To the hands of Your deliverance

Psalm 31:3-5

Psalm 31:3-5

The Story So Far – Chapter 8 – Breaking The Chains


That last dregs of the bottle of wine remained on top of the fridge all week, I never had urge to drink it after I put it there, instead I began to talk to it.  No don’t get me wrong here, I wasn’t losing the plot and having mad conversations with an inanimate object, well I was, but for me the bottle represented that monster within.  Every time I walked past it I would point a finger at it and tell it that it couldn’t have me, I wasn’t going to drink it and it wasn’t going to win, I told the bottle I had a plan for it and that I wasn’t drinking it, I had this big plan to carry out on Sunday morning and this bottle was part of it, I told it that every time I walked by it.  I was in control now, I had a strength I couldn’t understand, but I was fighting back and I was determined to win and I was determined to let this bottle know who was in charge, I was and it was going to lose the battle now.

So when I woke the next morning, I got ready and headed off into town to carry out the first part of my plan.

The big plan was to pack my life away, get rid of everything that tied me to the alcoholic slob I had become, all of it to be symbolically put into a box and put in the place where all the other unwanted rubbish goes.

I wasn’t ready for Church yet, deep inside I wanted to go, but I had things to do before I made that step, I know I had found God, I knew He had heard my prayer and was answering them, but in my mind I still had things to do, I had to be clean before I walked into Church, I had to rid myself of some the dirt that was clinging to me, I wanted to be in control and this old me well and truly part of my past and a new start in Church was part of the future, I didn’t want to mix the two.

So I took myself into town, I brought the biggest plastic box I could carry and a marker pen.  Although my watch worked perfectly, the strap was caked in stale sweat and the odour of my alcoholic life, the watch was a past Christmas present from Victoria so I didn’t want to get rid of it totally either, so I brought the exact same watch, I had a plan for the other one.  I purchased a set of new pillows and pillowcases, my old ones also had that odour, that stale smell to them, there was no way I was ever going to wash that smell from them, it would be a constant reminder of the me that used to lay his head upon them, they had to go, so I purchased new ones.

I also grab a notebook and a decent pen.  One of the suggestions Gareth had made when we met was to journal.  He talked about how he empties his mind before bed by writing it all down, in that way he didn’t have to keep carrying it, he could write it down where it could be re read when needed and that way he found it easier to sleep.  I had never kept a journal or a dairy before, in all honesty I had really written anything since I was at school, apart from the odd letter at work, which were all based on standard templates, I had really never written anything of value.  But I decided I was going to take on this piece of advice and start from that very evening keeping a note of everything that was to happen to me.

When I got home, I took the old pillows and placed them carefully in the bottom of the plastic box, then I grabbed all the old clothes that I used to lounge around the house in, the ones I did the majority of my drinking in, the ones I spent days on end wearing, I took all the worn out clothes and underwear and put them carefully on top of the pillows in the box.  Then I took off the old watch and placed it carefully onto of the clothes.

Then I went into the kitchen and took down the third of a bottle of wine that was sat on the top of the fridge, I took it to the box and carefully positioned it up on the clothes in the centre of the box, then I closed the lid.  I took the marker I had purchased and on the box I wrote the message…




Then once I was happy that I had put in the box everything that I could that reminded me of my old self, I took the box and put it in the cellar.  Our cellar contains everything that we no longer need, most of it is old paperwork and kids stuff, stuff that could be got rid of, but somehow we never actually have, one day it will be cleared out and all will be consigned to the rubbish bin forever.

The Forgotten Box

The Forgotten Box

When everything was in place I set off for karate and once more followed that old pattern, yes I did go to the pub again and yes I did drink, but once more I was content with two and set off for home when I had drank the second.  There was no detour on the way home, I simply got home, picked up the book I had brought earlier in the day and began to write about the last week, I back dated the book to the day I met Gareth, that was day my life restarted, it was as though a big part of me died when Sunday 18th March 2012 ended and the me that woke that next day was a fighter, ready to break free of the chains of sin that had held me.

On Tuesday morning I had a bit of a setback of sorts, I had to attend the Doctor’s for a prescription review for my Blood Pressure medication, when I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure, my blood pressure had been somewhere around 200 over 118, which is very high, for a then 26 year old, exceptionally high, after a few tests and some medication trials, my blood pressure failed to come down, so the Doctor at the time referred me to a heart specialist.

For a number of months I was under the specialist, he performed all sorts of tests, but couldn’t get to the route of the problem, he tried combinations of various medicines and gradually it came down to normal levels, the specialist was happy with that, he came to the conclusion that as heart disease and high blood pressure ran deep in both my mother and father’s families that is was an hereditary problem, but if I kept on the medication then it should stay under control.

Since that time I had been taking three tablets a day to keep it under control.  I knew that when I didn’t take any medication for a period of time, that the blood pressure steadily went back to it’s normally high levels.  But over the last few years I hadn’t missed my tablets for any significant period of time, each time I had been checked over the few years it was at normal levels, the tablets were doing their job, keeping it under control, all despite my excessive drinking and my lying to the Doctor’s about it.

So when on this morning my blood pressure had shot right back up to excessively high levels, I was shocked.  I explained to the Doctor everything that was happening and that I had realised I had a problem and I was trying to deal with it.  He asked if I wanted help with that, but I declined, he schedule another appoint for a few weeks time and scheduled me for a number of tests in the mean time.

This result came as a big shock, every other time it had been fairly normal, slightly higher than normal, but ever since I had been on the medication it had been that way and that was considered acceptable by both the specialist and my Doctors.  Now it had shot back up, even though I had been on the medication for some time, it put me on a real downer for a moment, in the midst of all this optimism, I was knocked right back.  But then I became convinced that had I not got this under control sooner, there would be no later, I became convinced that had I continued with my drinking, I was heading for a heart attack that I may not make it back from, I became convinced that I would not make it to the end of the year had I not taken steps, yes this was a knock back, but it’s also a wake up call.  I knew that this disease was going to kill me, I believed that I would have been either taken by the heart attack I was heading for or taken my own life!  But after a little soul searching through the day, I began to realise that I was actually doing the right thing, cutting down, trying to stop, getting my life in order, making a new start, there was a future, a future that would see me beyond this year, I just had to hold on, trust in God and let him guide my life now, he hadn’t save me just to let me die again, I had a way forward.

As the next few days went by I made a decision that each day I would try to change just one thing, to make a change in myself that I wasn’t happy with.  It’s impossible to change everything in one go, it has to be a process of gradual change.  So one day at a time, I changed one thing about myself, these changes ranged from having breakfast, to walking with my head up.  Now that was a hard one, I was known for walking fast, I guess it came from being short, when I was young I had to walk faster than everyone else to keep up, even though I have grown a little since then, I still move the legs at the same speed as I always had and therefore now walk faster then everyone else, even my old squad coach, who was well over six foot, wouldn’t walk with me, even though I am only five foot four & half inches (believe me the half an inch is very important), but when I walked, I got my head down and just went for it, never noticing what was around me, this change I couldn’t do in one day, it took day after day of trying to be so deliberate about keeping my head up, I wouldn’t take on another change until I had achieved this one, it took some time, but I did it.

Another one of those changes wasn’t easy either, this one took more than a day too.  In fact I still find myself failing with this one from time to time, especially on the bad days, but also on the good ones too.  I had this habit of responding to people who asked how I was with the phrase “not too bad”, well I decided that this was a get out clause.  What does “not too bad” actually mean, before it may have been quite accurate, I was bad, but not too bad, yet not good either.  But now things were different, okay things weren’t great, but they were getting better, they were so much better than they had been just over a week before, but was I that bad anymore, no, in truth I wasn’t.  So I decided I was to respond with “yes, I’m good thanks”, to have that air of positivity, to proclaim that I was actually okay and I was happy to say that.  Again this wasn’t easy and still isn’t, this one took so much longer and in all honesty I never really mastered it, at times I still catch myself saying “I’m not too bad”, I have to remind myself and pull myself up on it and then the next time to remember, life is good now I’m free.

On the Tuesday evening I went to the pub again after karate, from the night that Gareth came round I hadn’t had any drink at home, I had only drank in the pub after karate and never more than two pints, I had set that as a limit and I was keeping to it, I had gained control.  But this night I realised there wasn’t really any enjoyment in it anymore, I didn’t get that ahh feeling after the first mouthful, to be truthful it was hard to drink now and I actually began to dislike the taste, it wasn’t a bad pint, it didn’t taste any different to any time before, but something inside was saying you don’t like this anymore, you don’t need this anymore.

So when Thursday evening came around and karate had finished, I was walking across to the pub with a friend and as I walked I said to him that “if I didn’t like the taste of this first pint, then that was it, it was to be my last one and I wouldn’t drink again!”  As I walked in and ordered that first pint, there was this feeling inside that I was almost wishing myself not to like it, I didn’t want to like it anymore, I wanted to let it go, forever!  I sat down with my drink and took the first mouthful and it tasted absolutely awful, again it didn’t taste any different to before, but I hated it, totally hated it. So I decided I would finish the pint, but after that I would order a soft drink and that was it, no more, so when I went to the bar again, I ordered myself a lime and soda.

That was the last alcohol that I have ever consumed, since I finished that last pint at 10.30pm, Thursday 29th March 2012.  That day is forever etched in my memory, I have counted every day since that day, that was the day the Lord truly set me free, gave me the strength to say NO MORE, it wasn’t my strength, I knew I didn’t have any, I fell each time before that, it wasn’t until Gareth came into my life, bringing with him the keys to the door to a life with God, all I had to do was have the courage to open the door.  Once that door was opened, a strength came upon we that allowed me to fight back, to get control, to fight an addiction which had taken the best of my life away from me, all by the strength the Lord had placed within me.

In my weakness, He is strong.

That first test of my sobriety came a couple of nights later, one of my work colleagues was transferring to another branch and a leaving do had been arranged, with a meal at a Chinese restaurant in town and then a pub crawl afterwards.  So just two days after I vowed I would never drink again, I found myself the first to arrive at the pub next to the restaurant, I looked around and everyone was drinking alcohol and I had a big choice to make, stand strong or be weak and join in, so I ordered a Coke, the others began to arrive shortly after and each one ordered an alcoholic drink.  I had let everyone at work know what had been going off and that I had decided to stop drinking, no one pressured me, they left me to it as I ordered further cokes as they carried on with the alcohol.  Once the meal was over they all decided to carry on drinking in the pubs around town, I told them I was going home and left.  I was never one for pub crawls, I didn’t actually like drinking in town, I liked the pub I usually drank at, mainly because it was fairly quiet and I could chat with my friends, we would take part in the quizzes, something which I was particularly good at, I enjoyed that, but not the pub crawl atmosphere in crowded pubs with loud music, so doing something you really don’t enjoy when in all honesty you are struggling with not drinking, just didn’t appeal to me so I went home.

The whole night was full of mixed feelings, at times I felt comfortable, I could laugh along with things and at other times, I hated being there, I wanted out, I didn’t want to drink, I wasn’t going to drink, but being there was excruciating, the monster inside was stirring and I was doing everything I could to keep it down, I managed, but it was making me really uncomfortable.  When I got out it was such a relief, the fresh air was so inviting after being locked inside with your worst enemy parading it’s self in front of you.

When I got home I watched a bit of TV with my son, filled in my journal, then put my headphones in, listened to Healing Begins, then prayed, listened to Healing Begins once again then went to sleep, I had a big day ahead in the morning.

Since that night that I got the message to listen to Healing Begins, I had taken to listening to it when I woke in the morning, wherever I walked I listened to it and the last thing I listened to before I went to sleep was this song.  It was my inspiration, at times it still had me in tears and even now when it comes on my iPod, on a random shuffle, it brings a tear to my eye.  It was such an important thing for me in those early weeks, gradually more and more songs spoke to me, but this one was the one that was speaking to me above all others.  At the time I don’t think I really appreciated where the need to listen to that song came from on that Tuesday night, that repeated message, that feeling that I must listen to this, it took some time to come to the conclusion that it was God speaking to me, God telling me to listen to that song, he spoke to me through that song.  Music has always played a big part in my life, all sorts of music, everywhere I went I had music with me, when I worked, I had music on in the background, music was a big thing for me, so it was natural that this was used by the Lord to speak into my life, now when I look back to all the music I had been listening to over the previous four years, it was not by chance, there was no coincidence that I was listening to Christian music during the worst moments of my life, none at all.

Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom
Lift Your eyes to heaven
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
If You’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom

Give Your all to Jesus
Give him all, there is freedom
Give Your all to Jesus
There is freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom
If your burden’s heavy
He brings freedom

If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom
If you’re hurt and broken
He brings freedom

Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Great is Your faithfulness
Great is Your faithfulness

1000 Days Of Sobriety!!!

It’s finally here, the last weeks of counting down the day until I could celebrate my 1000th day of Sobriety, come 10.30pm this evening it will be official, as that was the time I took that last drink on 29th March 2012.

It’s funny how it fell at a time of the year where drinking would be pretty integral to the festive celebrations, up until Christmas 2012 I can’t remember the last time I would have gone through Christmas without having at least one drink, even when we were young kids we were allowed the odd shandy made from the beer my Dad would get in for the period.

Usually on Christmas Eve I would wander into town to pick out a couple of bottles of sparkling wine to have with Christmas Dinner, I would pick something a little be more expensive than the usual cheap wine I would drink day in day out, of course there was only me drinking it, maybe Victoria would have a glass, but not often, she didn’t really like the stuff.

There has been the odd moments in those last 1000 days where the thought of the urge to drink has been high, but I’ve managed to suppress the feeling and carry on with this sober journey, some days it’s not easy, other days you don’t even think about it, you just wake the next day as normal, only with no headache, no fuzziness, no permanent hangover.

Towards the last days I had pretty much got the point that I could get through five pints and a couple of bottles of wine, then still go to sleep feeling pretty sober, I wasn’t slurring my words or staggering about, I would simply fall asleep, sometimes still with a drink in my hand.  I lost count of the times I woke with half a bottle of wine still firmly clutched in my hand and without spilling a drop, I would wake sometimes around five o’clock, drink the rest of that bottle and then shortly after get up and get ready to go to work, it’s amazing how no one noticed.

Obviously there has been a saving in so many ways, in 1000 days I have saved the following;

Money:     £17,558
Units of Alcohol: 29777
Calories:     1693155

Although I feel pretty rough today, with a cold which has been brewing over the last few days, I can safely say that even that is far better than the permanent haze that I was walking around in, I wouldn’t change this freedom from that for anything.

Things here at home may still not be perfect, not all my prayers have been answered yet, but life is so much better since I put my trust in God and prayed for the strength to get by just one night without drinking, which through His grace turned into a new life without drinking.  Each day I wake knowing I still have the gift of the strength to see me through each day, no matter how good or bad the day may be.

I have spoken with my Dad this evening, my Uncle is doing much better today, yesterday wasn’t that good following the operation, he was in a lot of pain apparently, but he seems to be in good spirits today, which is very good news, we just await news of whether the operation has been a complete success.

It been an amazing journey over the last 1000 days and I have had some amazing experiences of God and His love, but this is just the beginning, just the first 1000 days, I look forward to many more.

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