Tag Archives: Friends

Change Is Coming

As the darkness of Sunday 18th March 2012 passed by, Monday morning came with a sense of hope, I knew I had something important to do, something that would change my life, the barrier now was fear and courage.

I had the day off work, there were a few things I had to do later in the day, but the most important thing, the most immediate thing, before anything else was to make a phone call to Gareth.

Everyone had left the house, Victoria had taken the kids to school and then gone straight to work, I was alone and I was shaking with fear.

I sat at the top of the stairs with my phone in my hand, the number ready to dial, now I had to fight the fear and find the courage within to call it.

I had decided the time to call would be around 9.10, time to get in the office, but not enough time to get busy with anything, that’s what I hoped anyway, now I just had to fight my shaking hands and press call.

An inner battle was raging, my soul knew it needed this phone call, if I was going to climb out of this pit I had created for myself, then this phone call was the beginning. Yet the monster of addiction that dwelt within wasn’t letting go that easily, it knew this call would change everything.

For a moment the monster was winning, I just wanted to put the phone down, turn away and carry on down this spiral.

But from somewhere I found the strength to call, I was shaking all over by now, I was so afraid of what was to come.

Gareth answered and I tried to explain who I was. I had met Gareth a number of times, only a year before we watched football together with other members of his church in my front room, but essentially he knew me as Victoria’s partner.

I tried to say hi, it’s Wayne, Victoria’s partner, I got half way through it and broke down into tears. I wasn’t that person anymore, that was over, even I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Thankfully, Gareth seemed to understand and knew who I was, he asked how I was doing, I managed to say not very well and broke down into tears again, I was really a mess and he seemed to appreciate that.

Somehow I managed to be coherent enough to arrange to meet with him later that evening, he was going to come over to see me and chat, from that moment things changed.

From there I jumped in the shower, then went into town, I hadn’t really looked after myself in a long time, I didn’t shave anymore, I didn’t do anything with my hair, my clothes were becoming rags, drenched with the smell of stale sweat and alcohol.

Now was the time to start looking after myself.

I can’t be anything to anyone, if I’m not something to myself.

That night I was so nervous, so afraid, I was still shaking. Victoria was going out, she knew about the meeting, she had checked with Gareth that I had called, she knew it was important too.

She came to me before she went out and asked a question that shocked me, it shouldn’t have done, she asked this every time she went out at night, she only asked if I needed to go to the shop before she went out, which in essence was asking if I needed to go buy alcohol, this surprised me more than anything. How could I think of drinking this night, there was no way, once more though this is how far I had fallen, this had become then norm, she knew it and had seen many times, but I hadn’t seen it.

Gareth was also bringing with him Alex, who I knew, I knew his family had suffered through alcoholism in the past, so I watched anxiously at the window for them to arrive, shaking.

Victoria asked how I was, I said I was scared, to which she asked why, I knew them both, there was no need to fear them.

But it wasn’t them, I was afraid of myself, afraid of truth of who I was would be coming out tonight, that’s what I feared, myself above all.

They arrived and at first I felt okay, Gareth stated that he hadn’t come to preach, but to talk to me to find out what I needed to turn things around, this made me feel a little more comfortable, for a while anyway.

He than asked what had been happening, that’s when it got hard. I tried to explain how things had gone over the previous two and half years, but it’s hard to speak between all the tears that were falling.

I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I did that night, I was a real mess. I could hardly get a statement out with crying at some point.

Each time I broken down I could seen the pain reflected in Gareth’s face, it was hard going for us all, but I was trying to tell the full truth, but in all honesty I didn’t know the truth myself. I tried to say how much I had been drinking, I told him what I believed was the truth, only over the coming weeks I realised it far worse than I knew.

They were with me for over an hour and half, I spent at least half of that time tears. But after that I felt a sense of peace had come over myself. I knew the start of the healing process had begun, I could feel that.

From that night I never drank in the house again, I didn’t stop drinking over night, but I started to gain control over it.

I didn’t know at the time where that strength had come from, but it started that night, it started really after I pressed the button to make that call.

TOMORROW by SIXX A.M.
Where ya gonna be tomorrow?
How ya gonna face the sorrow?
Where ya gonna be when you die?
‘Cause nothing’s gonna last forever
And things they change like the weather
They’re gone in the blink of an eye

Just look at yourself, can you see where you are?
Look at yourself, now you can’t hide the scars
Just look at yourself ’cause there’s nowhere to go
And you know

Tomorrow
You’re gonna have to live with the things you say
Tomorrow
You’ll have to cross bridges that you burned today
Tomorrow…
And everything you do, it’s coming back for you
You’ll never outrun what waits for you
Tomorrow.

And are you terrified by sadness
And have you given into madness
You’re running out of places to hide
‘Cause everybody’s got a reason
To justify how they’re feelin’
Maybe you should open your eyes

Just look at yourself, do you like what you see?
Look at yourself, is this how it should be?
Just look at yourself, ’cause there’s nowhere to go
And you’ll know

Tomorrow
You’re gonna have to live with the things you say
Tomorrow
You’ll have to cross bridges that you burned today
Tomorrow…
And everything you do, it’s coming back for you
You’ll never outrun what waits for you
Tomorrow.

Are you waiting for the reason to change?
Are you waiting for the end, has it came?
Nothing’s gonna stand in your way…

Just look at yourself, do you like what you see?
Look at yourself, is this how it should be?

Tomorrow
You’re gonna have to live with the things you say
Tomorrow
You’ll have to cross bridges that you burned today
Tomorrow…
And everything you do, it’s coming back for you
You’ll never outrun what waits for you
Tomorrow.

Goodbye My Friend

Last week was strange week at work, it just didn’t seem right, something was missing, someone.

Nick worked at our store for over four years, until he left last September, but still since then he comes in almost daily as a customer.

He worked in tool hire, but his counter was next to me, being of similar age and having similar likes in terms of music, sport, films etc, we got on well, even though our football teams were fierce rivals! I can have a weird sense of humour sometimes and out of nowhere find an offbeat reference to some old film, song or whatever, to something that’s been said, only Nick would laugh, no one else got it, nearly always Nick would, I did catch him out every now and again, but not very often.

Last Sunday I was on my way home from karate, when I met another old colleague. He said to me it’s bad news about Nick, to which I replied what do mean. He said that someone had sent him a text to say he’d died. I laughed it off, must be a joke, I only saw him in the shop a few days ago, must be just a mad rumour.

When I got to work Monday, I found it was true, his son had come home Friday to find him dead. The whole place was in shock, we couldn’t accept it.

Nick was a year younger than me, I used to joke to the customers that he was the older one of us, they always agreed and he would go to great lengths to prove me wrong, it was our on-running joke. Now he’s gone, I can’t help thinking that people younger than me shouldn’t be dying, that should not happen.

The other thing about it all the bothers me and my colleagues, is the relationship between Nick and his son Ollie, they were more like best mates. Nick had two sons and he lived for them both, everything he did was for his two boys, but the bond between Ollie and Nick was just so close. For Ollie, who the youngest son, to find him like that is just unimaginable.

Ollie’s a good kid, with a sensible head on his shoulders, I’m sure he’ll be fine given time. I pray for him.

Through all of this I can’t help but think, why Nick, this should have been me. Almost seven years ago, I wanted to take me own life, I almost destroyed myself drinking, it should have been me. But on that day God spoke and told me my kids needed me, so I stopped my plan and sought help. So why save me, but take Nick?

I guess in a way I’m questioning God, but deep down I know his timing is beyond our comprehension. At work, as a Christian, I can’t explain why to friends and colleagues, it simply was just his time.

As I walked to work, knowing what had happen I suddenly thought, that I hope after all our chats, he had made his peace. I have spoken honestly about my past struggles at work, spoke of my feelings, the depression, the suicide plan, the drinking, my faith, I had had conversations with Nick about these things. Then I remembered one time he said that I was the only person he had heard talk about and describe some of the feelings he had too, I hoped this was enough that he found grace.

As I walked a little further, I heard a thought in my head say, “Don’t worry, we’ve got him”. Then I had a vision of an army of angels lifting him up. It made me smile, Nick wasn’t a small guy, that was another running joke we had, his fat jokes about himself and my short jokes about me, we would get them in about ourselves before others could and then laugh at each other, never any malice, just two friends and colleagues having a bit of banter.

Nick’s brother is also a customer, I told him what I felt I had heard and seen, he laughed a little too, I said I’m not sure if it helps, but I’m sure he’s in a better place. Although he’s not a Christian, I believe he knows he’s in a better place, he said Nick was close to his Gran and he believed they were now together again.

We still don’t know exactly what took Nick, he was a big guy, but fit and strong with it, so we are still waiting to hear and have the funeral date confirmed, it sounds like most of the branch want to attend, so maybe it will have to close down for a few hours, we’ll see.

Thank you Nick for being a friend, for all the laughter and jokes we shared, as well as the deeper conversations we held.

Goodbye my friend, we’ll meet again one day, I’m sure.

SATURN by SLEEPING AT LAST
You taught me the courage of stars before you left.
How light carries on endlessly, even after death.
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite.
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

With shortness of breath, I’ll explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.

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

Always Found – James 5:19-20

Always Found – James 5:19-20

If I turn and run
Who will follow me?
Will I be alone?
To wander the wilderness
Where hope fades
And tears fall
Who will come?
Will they see?
Of course they will
For He sees my heart
He set me within friends
Who belong to the kingdom
They will come
In my harder times
With words of truth
As to who I am
Can I ever be lost?
When I am always found

James 5:19-20

James 5:19-20

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