Tag Archives: Alcoholic

8 Years Sober

It’s hard to believe I’ve made it through to eight years sober today, usually something to celebrate, but here alone in this uncertain period of lock down it seems trivial and not really worth the celebration.

Its been a tough last nine months, I spent the second half of last year suffering with headaches, in the end the doctors put them down to tension headaches. At first they thought it was because my blood pressure had gone back up to sky high levels, despite the tablets, so with some experimentation with different tablets and numerous trips back to the doctors it came back down, but the headaches remained, thankfully they became less severe and manageable that I just got used to them.

For the last twelve weeks I’ve had a cough that just won’t go, that was before this Covid-19 virus had made the news, again despite frequent trips back to the doctors and blood tests and x-rays, they still can not diagnose it, so now I have been referred to a specialist because they down know what’s going on, when that’s going to happen given the current situation is anyone’s guess. At least for the time being at has eased, it hurts my ribs to cough now, at least I’m not almost passing out each time I cough, that was hard going for a while.

Given the symptoms of this virus and a persistent couch being one of them, I have been worried, any sign of a temperature I start to panic, but so far it’s all okay. Imagine going to the shop and not being able to stop myself coughing, I’ve definitely had some funny looks in the last few weeks. It’s a worrying time for all at the moment, although we may not like this lock down that most of us face, but it is necessary and those that make these decisions are doing what they can to save as many lives as possible.

But given all that, I’m still fighting, still sober, still thankful to our God for the grace of a second chance. I’m grateful for the people God has brought into my life to help me along the way, I couldn’t have done any of this without them.

RESCUE STORY by ZACH WILLIAMS
There I was empty-handed
Crying out from the pit of my despair
There You were in the shadows
Holding out Your hand You met me there

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You are, You are
You are my rescue story
You are, You are

You were writing the pages
Before I had a name
Before I needed grace, oh
Singing songs of redemption
‘Cause every time I ran away
You were louder than my shame

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh…
You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh…
You never gave up on me
Oh, You never gave up on me
Oh, this is my testimony

Oh, You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
‘Cause You are my rescue story

You are, You are (You are my rescue story)
Oh, You never gave up on me, never gave up on me
You are, You are
Yeah, You are my rescue story

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

Letting Go – Exodus 10:4

Letting Go – Exodus 10:4

I remember those days
With the bottle I couldn’t let go
I tried to put it down
Still it’s pull was beyond my strength
Each day got so much worse
Spiralling down to out of control
Until the Lord came calling
To give me the strength to let go
And there I found my life
One so different from before
To make it through each day
Together with my Lord

Exodus 10:4

Exodus 10:4

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

In That Moment – Psalm 29:3-4

In That Moment – Psalm 29:3-4

In that moment
Above all the chaos
And the screams within
This tortured mind
A voice spoke louder
Like thunder to me
Yet still a peaceful whisper
The power of the voice
Set down the blade
And cut the chains free
One that day
In that moment
I heard His voice
One that set me free
From the chaos
And addiction’s chains
Now forever thankful
For that day
And that moment

Psalm 29:3-4

Psalm 29:3-4