Tag Archives: Alcoholism

You Opened The Door – Psalm 89:1

You Opened The Door – Psalm 89:1

In the quiet times
Of soul so downcast
I’ll remember the moment
You opened the door
When I found the light
And the song within my heart
To break this silence
I will sing
To remove the fear
A song of praise
For the moment
You opened the door
And came into my life

Psalm 89:1

Psalm 89:1

6 Years Sober!!! – 29/3/12 to 29/3/18

Six years has gone by so fast, I still remember the events of that evening.  Just eleven days before my world had collapsed in around me and I was looking for the end.  I couldn’t take my life that day, I was to live to fight another day and the fight was to take control of my life.  I then met with Gareth, the Pastor of a local Church and things began to change.

The more I faced the truth, the more I actually found out about myself and how bad things had got.  For months now I had found myself on my settee drinking wine until the early hours, drinking until I simply fell asleep, sometimes I would even fall asleep clutching an open bottle!  I couldn’t leave an open bottle, I had to finish it, even if I awoke at six o’clock in the morning, I would drink the half bottle or so, go upstairs, get ready for work and set off for a days work, just as if this was a normal thing to do.  The people at work never suspected a thing, they couldn’t believe it when I tried to explain, they certainly couldn’t understand it.

After meeting with Gareth I never brought any alcohol into the house, I hadn’t drank at home at all, I fought that urge and I was winning.  Even going to the pub after training I had began to conquer too.  Instead of trying to drink five pints before going home to continue on wine, I had set my limit at two and gone home early, I hadn’t totally stopped drinking, but had taken control.

What I was beginning to realise though, was that with every pint, I disliked the taste more and more.  So that night six years ago, after training as we walked across to the pub, I stated to a friend that if I didn’t like the taste of the first pint, then that would be it, I would never drink again.

It’s surprising what state of mine can do when you have control, because that pint tasted like vinegar, it was awful, so I simply finished it and have never drank again.

It was almost as though I was willing that drink to be so bad that I wouldn’t drink ever again, because it was quite simply the worst taking drink I have ever had.  I am sure in reality it was a perfectly good pint of cider, but in that moment it tasted like the worst, I wanted it to taste that way and by some miracle it did.

That was at about 10.30pm Thursday 29th March 2012, now six years on, I am still sober, I still haven’t had a drink and still do not want to have a drink, ever again.

I can’t say I haven’t wanted to drink since then, the first few months were hard, especially when withdrawals set in.  For a few weeks every muscle and joint seemed to ache continuously, it started with constant headaches and spread right through my body.  I remember sitting in Church one Sunday when they were at their worst, I was just crying with the pain, it was painful to simply sit still and painful to move, pain killers weren’t having any effect, I was struggling.  I remember sitting alone wishing for it all to go away, so tempted to drink, because I knew the body was simply craving the alcohol that it had become accustom to, I knew if I had drink most of the pain would go away, but I also knew if I did drink, that all the pain of the previous few years would return and I would finally crack under the pressure of it all.

I saw a Doctor who prescribed me cocodomal, I knew this was an addictive painkiller, so I used it sparingly, but in all honesty by the time I got this the pain was beginning to slow and I think I was over the worst of it, so I used it only when I needed to and used only about half a dozen of the tablets I was prescribed.

Over time things got easier, when life hit bit bumps, like when my two Nans died within two months of each other, both times I was really low, even one occasion I felt like just walking out into the middle of the local lake, to be not be seen again, I felt like drinking, but knew I couldn’t.  Things were hard, but the different now was, that since God had been speaking into my life, He brought me into a group of people who cared for me, they were and still are my support group, they stand by me in my low moments and they celebrate with me in my high moments.

I can honestly say that in the last couple of years there has been little or no temptation to drink, but I still have trigger points that shake me.  I don’t go out on work parties, I don’t want to be where people are drinking to get drunk, I can go with people to a pub or restaurant who are drinking, if it is just social and they aren’t simply getting drunk, I can handle sitting there with my coke while the enjoy one or two pints, I can accept that, it’s fine for people to drink, if they have the control, but where people just want to get lost, I am not interested, the thought of even going brings me to a panic attack, so I simply say no and don’t go.

I can’t drink from anything that resembles a wine glass, I have been served fruit juice in a glass that looked like a wine glass, even though the contents were purely innocent and it was handed to me in all sincerity, I asked for it to be put into a different glass and explained my reasons, they were very understanding and apologized immediately.  Even those fruit juices in bottles that resemble wine bottles freak me out, I sat at a friends where they had some of these, again purely innocent fruit juice, but the look of the bottles were like what I used to drink and they freaked me out, that night I didn’t mention it, but I did explain the next time I saw them, they understood.

If a glass bottle or glass jar bang together in a bag I get freaked out, I have to carry glass jars in separate bags, the sound of glass bottle against bottle reminds me of how I used to sneak wine into the house, how I would try to keep them quiet so Victoria would know, when I hear that noise now, I feel like I have to hide them just the same and then I realise how stupid I am being, so I carry glass jars or bottles in separate bags, I’m not weird, I just have my reasons!!!

Life hasn’t been simple since then, it’s had it’s ups and downs, it’s had it’s highs and lows, but for the most part it has been good.

I have had my bad times, but I have hope that conquers it, I have been low and depressed, but my God has walked through every dark night with me, it has been six strong years and I pray for the next six and beyond, that they will all get stronger.

I love this song, it says everything I have to say to God.

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

When It’s Yourself You Are Scared Of

I guess I never really thought it was possible that one could get to the point in life where they have lost touch with who they are.  Is that really possible, can we get so far from who we were, that we know longer know ourselves?

For me the answer is a definite yes, six years ago today I believe I got to that point and I feared who I had actually become.

Flashback to Sunday 18th March 2012 and my whole world was collapsing in around me, five days before I finally realised what I had feared for over two years, that my relationship with Victoria was definitely over, my drinking had put paid to that and now there was no way back, my blindness to who I was had led me down a path that was dark and lonely, at this point in time I believed there was no way back for me.

In those five days since the truth of the situation had been released, I had hardly eaten, but my drinking was escalating and I now knew I couldn’t stop it.  Every time I felt the need to drink, I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t, there’s only so much scratching at the skin on your arms you can take, only so much pacing around the house like a bear in cage, I had to get out the house to the shop and get something to drink and every time that I did, I cried and repeated “I am sorry, I am so sorry”.

Come Saturday the 17th, after karate I went to the pub with friends and drank five pints of strong cider, I tried to get my friends to stay later, but they had lives to get on with, I didn’t any more, so on the walk home I stopped at the shop around the corner and purchased two bottles of wine and sat in my front room and drank them both, then went to bed almost completely sober, all that alcohol and I still believed I was normal, life was sad.

But that Sunday I began to collapse in on myself, I found myself in my bathroom staring into the mirror, crying, telling myself how useless I was, how the world would be better without me, how my kids would better off without me, how Victoria would be better off without me, everyone would be better off without me.  As I ran a bath, I stared into that mirror and held a knife at my wrists, my intention was to simply cut my wrists and get into that bath and wait to die, life no longer seemed worth living.

Then that voice!

My dark thoughts of worthlessness continued running through my mind and then one thought, although a voice, not mine, it couldn’t be mine, but that voice spoke calmly, quietly and simply said…

It is better that your kids live with you how you are now,
than live with the memory of what they will find.

Then I looked across at the bath and saw a vision that shock me.  It was as though I was not there, I was looking down upon the room, I could see myself in the bath, pale, lifeless and in bath of red water and then I looked across the room to the door to see my six year old daughter looking through the door at the same lifeless body I was seeing.

I put the blade down and simply broke down, the anger and the pain ran through me, I was so angry with who I was, all because I realised that I neither the courage to live or the courage to die, I was in no mans land, in the void between life and death and not sure how to get back.

I cleaned myself up and made it to karate, somehow putting on that karate suit made me become someone else, like a superhero putting on their costume, I left my life behind and became someone who seemed to have it all together, the man in the suit had no problems, showed no emotional damage and no signs of any out of control addiction.  But when the suit came off, it was straight to the pub and repeat the previous night, have five pints of strong cider, head home, drop by shop, buy two bottles of wine and proceed to drink as if this was completely normal.

During that day Victoria had given me the mobile number of her Pastor, I had know him a while even though I was not a Christian and had no intention of becoming one, but after life had began spiralling out of control over that week, I had ask to speak with Him.  Firstly it was purely selfish reasons, if I spoke with him, tell him how sorry I was, then maybe he could talk Victoria round and get us back together, but now after what had happened, I knew I needed to speak to him to get well, to get myself sorted out, I needed help and didn’t know who to speak to, only Gareth.

So Monday morning I sat alone in the house after everyone had gone out, fear was growing within and I tried to fight it.  I knew I had to make that phone call to Gareth, but I knew life would change if I did, the addict in me tried to fight it, it didn’t want to lose it’s power, but what was left that was human needed to talk, needed help.  I fought every fear and though shaking, I managed to make the call and Gareth answered.

I could hardly speak, I couldn’t even explain who I was, I tried to tell him I was Victoria’s partner, that’s how he knew me, but I couldn’t get the words out, just tears.  Luckily he worked out who it was and quickly gathered I needed help, he arranged to come see me that evening and talk.  I put the phone down and life seemed to change from that moment, a clarity start to grow.

Victoria was going out that evening, she knew I had spoken with Gareth, she knew he was coming to see me and bringing a friend that I knew also, she arranged for the kids to stay in their room whilst they were here, then she said something that shook me.  Normally if she was going out I would run to the shop and stock up with enough alcohol to get me through the night, so she asked if I needed to go to the shop before she went out?

That’s how she thought of me now, the hopeless one, addicted to drink, she had tried over the past two years to tell me, to help me, but as an addict you just don’t want to listen, you believe they are just getting at you and turn away.

But this night, I knew I couldn’t drink, this was the night to stop, how could she think I would drink in front of them, I reply with “why are we out of coffee?” and then broke down.

She asked if I was I alright and I said I was scared.  To which she replied that it would be okay, I knew Gareth and Alex, I didn’t need to be scared of them, but all I could say was…

I’m not scared of them, I’m scared of myself!

The sad fact was that I finally realised I didn’t know who I was anymore and tonight I would start to find out, the truth had to start somewhere and it was this evening, with these people.

I sat nervously waiting for them and then as they sat in my room, Gareth asked me what was happening and how things had got this way, all I could do was tell him what had happened over the last two years and in particular the last week, all of this between floods or tears, I don’t know how much I cried that night, I don’t think I have ever cried that much before or since.

In the course of the discussions I tried to explain how much I was drinking, I gave Gareth an amount, but it was a lie, I didn’t know I was lying that night, I didn’t know the truth myself, that would become clear over the next ten days, when I reached the point that I knew I could no longer drink.

But that night before Gareth and Alex, I began to find out who I had become and how low I was, it was a tough way to find out, but it seemed the best and maybe only way.

I didn’t realise until months later, that it was God that whispered in my ear that Sunday afternoon and told me my kids needed me, it was God who brought Gareth to my house that night, where he discussed the need for Christ in our lives and told me it was Christ who could calm the storms within my life.

Over the next ten days, I began to get control over my drinking and my life, from that previous night I no longer brought alcohol into the house or drank within my room, I was drinking at the pub with my friends, but I had control over it, just two pints, then home.

Then come the 29th of March, I came to realised that I no longer liked the taste of what I was drinking, it did nothing anymore, that night as I walked to the pub I stated that if I didn’t like the taste of the first drink, then that would be my last, that drink tasted like vinegar, it was the worst drink I had ever tasted, it was the last alcohol I ever consumed and I intend it to stay that way.

The truth is hard to take sometimes, if it’s the truth about ourselves we never want to hear it, we are afraid of it and refuse to believe it of ourselves, but sometimes we just can’t avoid it, I could avoid it no longer, because if I continued listening to my own lies, I would have carried those lives into an early grave.  I firmly believe that had Gareth not answered that call and came around that night, then I would not have made it through 2012, my health was a mess, my blood pressure way out of control, even though I was on my medication, my kidneys were being affected and as the episode before the mirror had not been the first time I had contemplated my life in that way, it was the closest that I come to taking it and I am sure that without that night, it would happen again and I would find myself closer to the edge of no return.

I am thank for Gareth answering that call that morning, I am thankful the Gareth and Alex came as friends to talk to me, but mostly I am thankful to God for bringing them into my life, that they may lead me to the Son, who would then lead me home.

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

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

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

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

So let ’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

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

Drinking Dreams

From time to time, like most people, I have quite vivid dreams. Some just strange, some fairly normal (not many) and some with reoccurring themes. There’s nothing strange about that, this is I guess fairly normal for most people.

Just one dream haunts me now, only a few months ago I remember thinking that I hadn’t experienced this dream in a long time, in the previous five years it had been one of those bad reoccurring dreams, that left me frozen. But now I remember thinking that if this dream had passed into memory them I have made another significant step in recovery from my alcohol addiction.

Then just a few days later it came back.

The worst thing about this reoccurring dream is the immense feeling of guilt, when I wake it leaves me confused, stunned and filled with guilt and sorrow.

In these dreams I see myself having innocently taking a drink of alcohol, it doesn’t matter if it is just a sip or a skin full, as soon as I see that image in my mind and there within the dream I experience a mass of guilt and then immediately I wake and that guilt stays.

I wake in a state of complete confusion, not knowing if the guilt is real, I’m cold inside, frozen, I believe I’ve lost it all. Sometimes I even have to look around my room to check the evidence of drinking is not there, looking for the glass or bottle that I have just seen myself drink from, I search for it to make sure it was just a dream.

It can take a while to come to the realisation that this is only dream, trying to get back to sleep, still shaking from the overriding guilt is hard. The last thing you want is to drift back into the same dream, but at the same time you need the peace that sleep can bring, I hate these dreams, they are my nightmares.

You would say that a night,are would generally involve a monster of some kind chasing after you, in my dreams the monster is me, that part of my past that will probably always chase me. I had hoped I had ran far enough away for it not to catch and chase me anymore, but it is still there, my monster is still chasing, but I am determined that it will never catch me.

It can try to take in my sleep, but it won’t get me in my life.

I was given the strength by God to resist, that strength I will carry with me always, if I choose to, and I do.

Psalm 46:1-3

Psalm 46:1-3

Dreams will always come and go in life, but God doesn’t, He never leaves.

OF MEN AND ANGELS by THE ROCKET SUMMER
Stop the press, everything’s a mess
You can look alive, but you are not at rest.
And i-ideas are flowing through your head
A million miles an hour while lying in your bed
A lucid life you never thought you’d lead
Are you working everyday?
Are you working just to bleed?
I know

You’re staring at the names of the famed that are dipped in gold
The feeling you deserve what you’ve heard
But it doesn’t go that way

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak but lack love.
Oh, love, will I stab you in the back?
Working everyday,
I’m afraid I forgot to show what’s most important: love

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

Have you ever been the man that just ran
When you knew that God was talking?
Have you ever heard his voice through the noise
But just let it go away?

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak but lack love.
Oh, love, will I stab you in the back?
How can I go with mine instead of yours
When yours is always right
I’m sorry just pour into me love

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

A heart at rest is harder now
Don’t let it go away
A hard earned pay, a hard earned pain
Right now they’re just the same
What’s the use, why work so hard
When it’s not what you crave
When what you need is: love.

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

These Bones Shiver – Romans 6:11-14

These Bones Shiver – Romans 6:11-14

These bones shiver
Beneath it’s pull
As fingernails stripped
The skin from the bones
A mind rang
With voices of desire
As the bottle stood waiting
So weak a spirit
No resistance to give
Addiction led to sin
And all to near death
Until the Lord’s voice
Rang true within the mind
The bottle lost it’s pull
To a new spirit within
To fight the sin of the past
Resisting the sin of tomorrow
The bottle was smashed
Long ago
When a new being rose again
His grace runs through my all
As I died to myself
Sacrificed with my Christ
So in mercy I could rise again
No longer these bones shiver
I am alive
In my Christ
My strength
All wrapped up in Him

Romans 6:11-14

Romans 6:11-14

Verse of the Day – Psalm 18:31-33

Psalm 18:31-33

Psalm 18:31-33

It’s three hundred weeks since I last had an alcoholic drink, back then I didn’t think I would have the strength to resist it pull anymore, that was until I began to accept the presence of the Lord and praying to Him, from that moment things began to change.

Then that night three hundred weeks ago I finally found the strength to say no more!

STRENGTH by JONATHAN DAVID & MELISSA HELSER
I climb up high above the tree line
‘Cause I want to see Your face
The mountains high, and the valleys deep
But You’re waiting there in the clearing
With fire in Your eyes
Fire in Your eyes

You wash me clean, with clear bright water
Running down my soul
You clothe me in the oil of laughter
And joy begins to take control
Like fire in Your eyes
Like fire in Your eyes

Strength
You give me strength
You lift my weary heart
You’re the fire in my veins
Strength
You give me strength
You raise me up again
I will never be the same
Strength
You give me strength
You lift my weary heart
You’re the fire in my veins
Strength
You give me strength
You raise me up again
I will never be the same

Oh You, God
Never grow tired or faint
You’re never gonna change the way
You love me, Jesus
And Your love
Knows no height or depth
It knows no length or width
And it’s changing me

Oh You, God
Never grow tired or faint
You’re never gonna change the way
You love me, Jesus
And Your love
Knows no height or depth
It knows no length or width
And it’s changing me

Oh You, God
Never grow tired or faint
You’re never gonna change the way
You love me, Jesus
And Your love
Knows no height or depth
It knows no length or width
And it’s changing me, again

Strength
You give me strength
You lift my weary heart
You’re the fire in my veins
Strength
You give me strength
You raise me up again
I will never be the same

I see You on the cross
I see You in the grave
I see the pain and tears
That You freely gave
I see You standing up
I hear You call my name
I see the fire in Your eyes
I see the fire in Your eyes
I see the fire in Your eyes
I’ll never be the same
I’ll never be the same
I’ll never be the same…
 

Rebuilt – 2 Chronicles 34:10-12

Rebuilt – 2 Chronicles 34:10-12

From broken walls
To rebuilt again
From my fall
You sent those to rebuild
Trusted and appointed
Stone by stone
They put me back together
Stronger than before
Back when I broke myself
The flood of poison wash me away
You set their hearts
Rebuilding bit by bit each day
Now I stand stronger
Against the winds of time
Rebuilt by the faithful
Appointed by the Lord

2 Chronicles 34:10-12

2 Chronicles 34:10-12