Tag Archives: Recovery

Under Grace Thrives – Romans 15:13

Under Grace Thrives – Romans 15:13

Another day
Yet another year
Where hope is living
Under grace thrives
Where peace conquers
The shame of my addictions
And the love of the Lord
Shines so ever brightly
Ever thankful for every moment
That I living within this love
Where hope is living
Under grace thrives

Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s still there, seven years on.

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

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

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

I let you go but you’re still chasing

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

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

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

I let you go, but you’re still chasing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hadn’t had a drink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healing Begins

Having not drank on Monday evening following my meeting with Gareth, I found it hard to sleep. When things got bad over the last few years, I began to use alcohol more and more just to get through the night, the harder things became, the harder I found it to switch off and sleep, but if I drank, I drank until I simply fell asleep.

Gradually it took more and more to get there, but I did, I got so good at it I could fall asleep with an open bottle of wine in my hand and wake hours later without spilling a drop, I would then finish the bottle, get up, get dressed and go to work, still nobody noticed.

Now I was fighting it, but in doing so I still couldn’t find peace enough to get through the night.

But the battle had started and I was finally willing to fight for myself and what was left of my family.

I woke from what sleep I had managed with a new sense of beginning, I knew change was there to be had, it was my time to grasp it. As the day went on, I had in my head the words of the song “Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson, love him or hate him, some of his songs are classics, as I went through my work and then karate, I had the words of the song in my head and knew if I wanted change, then I had to be the change.

As the evening went by, I heard another voice in my mind telling me to listen to a song called “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North. I knew the song, I liked the song, it was a Christian song by a Christian band, but over the last few years I had taken to listening to some alternative Christian music, I had many Christian artists and songs on my iPod, I enjoyed the music, even if I didn’t understand the content. But as the night went on I couldn’t help but feel I had to listen to this song sooner rather than later.

After karate I went to the pub with friends, normally on a Tuesday I would have four pints and then go home and drink whatever I could find in the house, but not now. I hand two pints and then that was it, I got up and left to go home.

Half way home, when my friends had all gone their separate ways, I took out my iPod, found the song and pressed play.

All I could do was cry.

As I walked down the street listening to the lyrics of this song, it felt like the singer was speaking directly to me, telling me how I had been and how it’s now time to accept the healing the light can bring. I played the song over and over again, all the time crying.

That night I failed to sleep again, still the reduced alcohol couldn’t put me to sleep, I struggled my way through the night, so I put my headphones in and just listened to “Healing Begins” on repeat.

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 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

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.

Turning Point

Having finally admitted that the consequences of my drinking and actions had put a wedge between myself a Victoria, causing a crack that could no longer fix fixed, I was a mess.

After the talk we had on Tuesday night, I lost my appetite for everything, except for drinking, I didn’t eat a meal until Friday evening, I tried to eat as the days passed, but my appetite was gone and all I wanted was to drink, the spiral was getting tighter and tighter.

Come the weekend it got worse, Saturday evening after karate I went to the pub with a couple of friends, I forced them to stay long enough to get five pints of strong cider in, then on the way home I picked up a couple of bottles of wine, went home and drank them both. I was now so far in that I could drink all this and still go to bed feeling like I was sober. There was no hangover come the morning, I guess I was in a permanent state of fuzziness, that hangovers just didn’t happen anymore.

Sunday morning was Mother’s Day, come mid morning I realised the kids hadn’t got anything for their Mum, no present or card, I should really say that I hadn’t got them anything to give, that I suppose is my responsibility, but I was in such a state I had completely forgotten.

This realisation of how far removed from this world I was in hit hard. I went upstairs to run a bath, then I just there looking at myself in the mirror, I began telling myself how useless I was, in my mind all these statements came rolling through, telling myself how they were all better off without me, I was draining them, holding them back, I was a waste.

I came to the conclusion that they would be better off if I was dead, I picked a penknife, opened the blade and held it against my wrist. These thoughts kept running through my mind of how they would be better off without me. My plan now was to get in the bath, cut my wrists and simply wait to day, that was it, it was all over.

Then it happened, I heard a voice, His voice.

Out of nowhere in my head, I heard a voice say “it’s better that your kids live with you as you are now, than live with the memory of what they will find”.

As I heard it, I looked to the bath and there I saw an image of myself laying there pale as anything, dead in a bath full of blood, then I looked to the bathroom door and saw the face of my daughter, just six years old, in shock at the sight of what she had just seen.

I put the knife down and simply broke down. I was so angry, angry with myself, I felt like I was in this state of nothingness, having neither the courage to live or the courage to die, I was in a void, I was lost.

Somehow I cleaned myself up and made it to karate, put on a brave face so no one there could tell there was anything wrong in my life, I carried on like it was just another normal day. Then followed the same routine as Saturday night, five pints, pick up two bottles of wine, only this time I did’t quite finish the second bottle.

I think that evening I knew things were going to change, I had made it to the edge and just clung on for while longer, but hope was on the horizon, Victoria had given me Gareth, her Pastor’s mobile number, now I just had to have the courage to call it.

It’s hard now to think about the importance of those words that I heard. For the previous couple of years I had literally stolen from my kids, their birthday and Christmas money was usually put away in the cupboard, but before they could spend it, I had taken it to buy alcohol with, this is low I had become, stealing from my kids.

And now a voice I had never heard before says they need me.

This wasn’t the first time this scenario had played out, but this was the first time I had probably seriously consider ending my own life, this was definitely the lowest moment of my life.

Things could only get better and come the morning things were going to change.

JUST SAVE ME by LIKE A STORM
Can you hear my voice
Where you are?
When I’m without you
Every moment falls apart
I’m a burned out light in the dark
In my empty shell I am calling out

I’ve lost my faith,
Lost my way
It’s all so far away

What have I become?
Can’t face the morning sun
Just save me
You’re the only one
Who can pull me out
Save me from myself
Just save me
Just save me

Pull me closer to you
I can’t escape this
Emptiness I fell into
Caught in a shadow
I can’t see through
I’m nothing without you

What have I become?
Can’t face the morning sun
Just save me
You’re the only one
Who can pull me out

Save me from myself
Just save me
Just save me

Lost my faith
Lost my way
I need to feel you here again
Just save me

From what I’ve become
Look what I’ve become

I bleed for you
I bleed for you 
I bleed for you

What have I become?
Just save me
Can’t face the morning sun
Just save me
Now I’m screaming out
Save me from myself 

What have I become?
You’re the only one
Who can pull me out
Save me from myself
Just save me
Just save me