Tag Archives: Skillet

The Story So Far – Chapter 3 – The Habit Grows

CHAPTER 3 – THE HABIT GROWS

Over the previous two years I had been content with maybe four or five cans of strong lager or cider a night, an alternative was a couple of bottles of wine, after training we would always go to the pub and I would have two, maybe three pints and then come home.  Now I had more money, I could buy more and not have to worry as I could still pay the bills.  For the previous two years I had been spending on average £80-100 per week on alcohol, I don’t know how, I wasn’t even earning that sort of money, some weeks I wasn’t earning at all, I had been borrowing money left right and centre, from my parents, from the karate club and even from my kids birthday and Christmas money.  Any money my kids got we put in envelopes in the cupboard for them to spend at some point, ultimately they hardly got to spend any of it, I would borrow it for a drink and never put it back, essentially I was stealing from my kids to feed my habit, some father!

But now I was earning, things began to escalate, now I could afford to spend more in the pub, two or three pints there became four or five and then come home and start on the cans I could now afford to keep in the house.  I would go to the shop just around the corner, buy a number of bottles of wine and cheap cans, I could stock up instead of living from night to night, although if it was in the house I would drink it, I couldn’t help myself anymore.

If I opened a bottle or can and started it before I fell asleep, I would wake up early in the morning and finish whatever was in front of me and then get ready and go to work, nobody suspected a thing.  I began to bring bottles of wine into the house and hide them down the side of the settee, I wouldn’t let them bang together in the bag, I sneaked them into the house and hid them, I don’t know why, but I did, I’m not sure why I bothered because in the morning I would leave all the empties on the kitchen side for Victoria to dispose of, I never hid the empties, which I guess is the norm, I just hid the ones I was bringing in, even though it was pretty obvious what was going on.

During the previous couple of years and also now I was working I would have moments of guilt and realisation, I’m not actually sure when they started, but it would happen when I was in the house and sober.  Usually this would be before I would get ready to go to karate, I would always stay sober for karate, it was the only place I felt normal and in control, the club was going well, it was successful and I enjoyed teaching, it was my release, so I never let drinking get in the way of that, but as I’ve said before as long I had something to do, I was fine, but as soon as the sessions were over I couldn’t wait to get in the pub and get those first couple of drinks down me and then whatever followed.  So these times mainly happened on a Sunday lunch when Victoria and the kids were at church and also Thursday evening’s when they went to her Mum’s for tea.

I would find myself looking into the mirror and all these thoughts would drift through my mind….

“I was not enough.”
“They were all better off without me, the world was better off without me.”
“I was a drain on them, I was wasting everything.”
“I didn’t deserve them.”
“If I were dead, they would get everything paid for, everything I couldn’t give them.”

All these thoughts of not being enough ran through my mind, I would pick up the little penknife that was always on the cabinet next to the bath and I would hold the blade against my wrist, as these thoughts became louder in my head, all I wanted to do was run that blade along my wrist and then get in the bath and wait to die, that was my plan, this happened over and over again, only one thought would stop it, the same thought every time….

“It’s better they live with you as you are,
than with the memory of how they will find you here!”

In other words, they need you regardless of how low and how much of a waste of space I felt, they needed me.  I would always put the blade down after that, but I would be so mad, always so mad, I was in this state of none being, too much of a coward to live, yet too much of a coward to actually end my own life, I was stuck in the middle of life and death and it felt like hell.

This was an event that happen a number of times over the years, always the same cycle, the same thoughts, the same anger, I could never bring myself to do anything more than the empty threats to end my life, they were difficult moments, moments that I kept to myself, moments I couldn’t let anyone else know about.  The sad thing was I knew what was bringing me to this point, I knew what was making me think these dark thoughts, it was the drinking, deep down when I was in these really low moments, I knew the source of all my problems, but I couldn’t do anything about it.  I would have a bath, almost like washing myself clean of these dark thoughts, get ready, go to karate, teach and then hit the pub and the alcohol and forget about it all until the next time.

By February 2012 I was drinking more and more, I started work at 7.30am in the morning, if I went to the pub in the week, I wouldn’t get home until about 1am, I would then put the TV on and carry on drinking until I simply fell asleep.  Many times I fell asleep on the settee, with a can or a bottle of wine in my hand, I was getting that good at it that I wouldn’t even spill a drop, I would wake up and drink it anyway, get up for work and nobody suspected a thing, the only person that really knew what was going on was me, I was hiding it as much as I could, not in a deliberate way, in a semi conscious sort of way, trying to justify it as normal, even going so far as lying about my consumption.

Since 2000 I had been on medication for chronic high blood pressure, which is an hereditary issue, periodically I was supposed to go to the Doctor’s to have regulation checks and test, twice a year in fact, I used to avoid them as much as possible until I got the letters stated my prescription would be stopped until I attended a review.  I would then make an appointment and get checked out.  The night before I either didn’t drink or only drank a couple of cans.  The medication somehow kept my blood pressure acceptable, but the Doctor always asked those lifestyle questions about diet etc, including the question about alcohol consumption, I knew what that they considered 11 units of alcohol the limit per week for a healthy lifestyle, I didn’t pretend to be a saint, I would pitch a number a little higher than that, but at least half of the real total, in truth I don’t think I knew the real total of what I was drinking, but I certainly wasn’t going to admit it to a Doctor, even on the contract for employment at my new job there was the question about alcohol consumption, again I lied, this time I made it look more like I was a good little boy and kept the figure somewhere near the 11 unit limit, I couldn’t admit to anyone how much I was drinking, not even myself.

For the first time in many years, that February I got Victoria a valentines card, I wrote in it that I loved her still and always will, when I came home from work that night the card was nowhere to be seen, neither was there was any mention of it at all, I guess it went straight in the bin. I really wanted to follow the card up, to make a gesture to Victoria, but finding it was nowhere to be seen, I lost heart, I knew I was going to hear those words she had uttered before, I couldn’t bear that pain, so went about my daily routine and drank as usual to hide the pain, to remove myself from the hurt and put all the torment off for another day, one that wasn’t far away.

As February fading and March came around I was definitely drinking more than ever, by now I was spending around £150 a week on alcohol, between the pub and the little shop around the corner.  I didn’t have to try to face the demons on nights I had no money for alcohol, now I had money, I always had a few cans in the house, although by now my drink of choice was wine and two bottles of it a night, plus a couple of cans as a starter.  By now it didn’t matter how much I drank, I never felt drunk, I still had all my wits about me, I could walk fine, I could talk fine, no staggering or slurring of words, yet it still kept me removed from the pain and anguish, it relaxed me enough to take me away from everything and I needed that, I panicked without it, I couldn’t cope, with it I slept like a log and the real world seemed so far away.

MONSTER by SKILLET
The secret side of me
I never let you see
I keep it caged
But I can’t control it
So stay away from me
The beast is ugly
I feel the rage
And I just can’t hold it

It’s scratching on the walls
In the closet, in the halls
It comes awake
And I can’t control it
Hiding under the bed
In my body, in my head
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this?
Make it end!

I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I’ve become
The nightmare’s just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster

My secret side I keep
Hid under lock and key
I keep it caged
But I can’t control it
Cause if I let him out
He’ll tear me up
And break me down
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this?
Make it end!

I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I’ve become
The nightmare’s just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster
I, I feel like a monster

It’s hiding in the dark
It’s teeth are razor sharp
There’s no escape for me
It wants my soul,
It wants my heart

No one can hear me scream
Maybe it’s just a dream
Or maybe it’s inside of me
Stop this monster!

I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I’ve become
The nightmare’s just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I’m gonna lose control
Here’s something radical
I must confess that I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster

I, I feel like a monster

My Year So Far In Music

Back in June I started thinking about songs that map out my journey, I was listening to a lot of music, Christian artists mainly or just music that was inspiring, on my Baptism day I posted six songs on my Facebook page, six songs mapping my life from February to July, one to describe each month and a quick reason for each, now I have expanded the list for the whole year and I will describe the reasons in more detail:

January : Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay

So carry me
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
(Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay)

Back in January I was oblivious to what was happening in my life, I was working now for a couple of months, Christmas wasn’t that bad (the year before I was ill over Christmas up to New Year), so the drink had been flowing well, work equalled money, money equalled beer, so I was slowly becoming a Dead Man, people were carrying me, I just couldn’t see it, my friends, family and workmates didn’t know it, it wouldn’t be long before I was dead on the floor.  When I first heard this song following the breakdown of my life, the lyrics hit me right between the eyes, I was that dead man, I was carried longer than I ever realised, I had been dead on the floor for years.

——————————

February: Monster by Skillet

My secret side I keep
Hid under lock and key
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
(Monster by Skillet)

This is a song I had played many times, infact it was one of the most played songs on my Ipod over the previous three years, but I was again completely oblivious to it’s relevance to my life.  The truth is there was a monster in me, I did keep it caged, but I couldn’t control it, I never let anyone see it, but it was there, I tried to fight it but lost everytime, it had control, I was it’s slave, a body and a soul consumed in torment.

——————————

March: Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness, You held me
Still held me
(Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn)

To understand the song you have to know the concept of Brave Saint Saturn, the band have released three albums that tell the story of a space mission to Saturn, the first album deals with the departure, the second the mission and it’s failure, the third the rescue and return.

Daylight is from the second album, the mission has gone wrong and the crew are stranded in darkness with no contact with mission control.  The song is meant as a metaphor for that feeling of isolation, that feeling I was going through, feeling lost and alone in darkness, unable to reach out for help.  The crew members try desperately to reach mission control, but fail, then they hear a voice, as their ship comes out of the darkness.  I felt the same way, I was lost, until a voice came through from mission control to bring Daylight to replace my darkness, Gareth Morgan came through bringing the light of Jesus with him, I truly made contact with mission control when I prayed for the first time on 21st March 2012.

——————————

April: Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

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
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)

I’ve posted before about the song Healing Begins and the message I received to listen to this song, all through April this song was my guide, it stood by me through the pain and my struggles, it kept me on my path, even when I felt like falling back into the darkness, it kept my striving for the light.

——————————

May: Right Beside You by Building 429

When the walls are closing in
And you think you’d rather sink than swim
When you think there’s nothing left for you to lose
I’ll be right beside you
(Right Beside You by Building 429)

Another song that I had listen to many times, but this song became more important to me as my journey with God took more significance and relevance in my life, I was still coming to terms with the pain and withdrawals, I realised when I was at my lowest, so close to succumbing to temptation, if I asked for help from God it was there, he was right beside me, it just hit a chord with me, it didn’t matter how low I was he was right beside me.

——————————

June: Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple

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
(Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple)

This song was another I had listened to over the last few years, I really liked the song, but again never looked at it’s relevance to me, but as I became stronger and moved further away from the drink, I felt like I was gaining some element of control over it, I knew how to handle most of the feelings of temptation.  So X, which in my case stood for alcohol really didn’t own me anymore, it was still there trying, but I was fighting it, I had an element of control now, DEAR X (ALCOHOL), YOU DON’T OWN ME!!!!!!

——————————

July: Unbreakable by Fireflight

Now I am unbreakable, It’s unmistakable
No one can touch me, Nothing can stop me
(Unbreakable by Fireflight)

On the day I was baptised I posted this list of songs on Facebook, without any real explanations, I was looking for a song for July that described how I felt that day, having been baptised in the amazing circumstances that happened that day, well I was so high on the whole experience that I felt Unbreakable, nobody could break how I felt that day, that feeling would last for sometime.

 ——————————

August: Rise Above by Fireflight

Counting scars and losing track
Afraid to crash we never spread our wings
And with every chance we take we find a reason
To give up on the hope that we all need
(Rise Above by Fireflight)

With my control over my problems gradually improving, out of the blue I found this song, it said everything I was feeling at the time, whatever came my way, I had to rise above it, keep going on my path, whatever was throw at me, I could not afford to let it bring me down, I simply chose to rise above it, so this song just said everything.

 ——————————

September: Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band

You are calling you are calling me to you
And i run     and i run to you
I need you i cant get enough of you
I come alive when im in your presence oh God of my salvation
(Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band)

This was again another song I had added to my Ipod well before my world changed forever, but one morning on way to Church it randomly played, I was blown away by it’s beauty and the simple message, the song just hit me.  Walking home from Church I listened to it over and over again, I just felt the song, it says everything to me really, it didn’t matter what I did or where I tried to hide, he would meet me, Christ would find me and I am so grateful that he did.

 ——————————

October: Times by Tenth Avenue North

My love is over. It’s underneath
It’s inside. It’s in between
The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel
The times that you question, ‘Is this for real?’
(Time by Tenth Avenue North)

Of all the songs on the album Over and Underneath, this song originally I didn’t really like, I still wasn’t a big fan when my world changed, then after listening to their new album The Struggle, I revisited this song and I finally understood it.  The song basically has two parts to it, in the first part the singer questions his relationship with God, the second part God replies that no matter what you do his love will always be there.  At a time when things in my journey became real and I questioned if I was ready for it, I got my answers, this song played out in my life, I questioned, he answered.

 ——————————

November: Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird

Waking up before the sun came up, was a fight that I would lose
To fall in love without a heart must be the hardest part for you
If I could change anything I’d change everything but you
Please promise me you won’t change a thing
(Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird)

The reoccurring theme here is that all these songs were on my Ipod well before my fall, they were there, I had listened to them many times, they were on my regular play list, but I hadn’t heard them, I hadn’t taken their lyrics and questioned them or their relevance to my life, now I feel them, I see the words, I hear them, at times many of these songs still reduce me to tears, I just can’t believe I never really heard them before.  If I could go back to that darkness I was in, with what I know now, I would change everything but Christ, in fact I have, the only constant is Christ, I have with his help changed everything.

 ——————————

December (hopefully): Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K

I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta thank God for that
I’m torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I’ll fall apart or stay intact
(Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K)

I know we are only in November, but I love this song, it is my all time favourite Christmas song, narrowly beating “Fairytale of New York”.  I just hope that I make to through the year with out collapsing (again anyway), I will certainly thank God for that, though not everyone I love will be there to greet me, I will be thankful to have at least reached Christmas, things could have gone horribly wrong this year, between contemplation of suicide and being a heart attack waiting to happen, whatever happens for me this Christmas, I will be glad just to have made it.

More Spiders & A Balloon?

I got back home after karate a few weeks ago to the sound of manic laughter, the whole house was vibrant, that made a change, I usually get back to everybody in separate rooms, with very little interaction.

My partner (so to speak) was in hysterics, waving her phone about in fits of laughter, I couldn’t get a grasp of what was causing the laughter, but I could hear a commotion coming through the kitchen from the back room, then it was all explained.

On the phone was a freshly recorded video of my 11 year old son, trying to eradicate a spider with a balloon, yes you did just read that right a balloon, an inflated rubber balloon!!!

It appears that a spider was spotted by my son walking over the top of the room door, so my son had picked up a balloon in an attempt to squash the spider, he was jumping up swinging the balloon at the spider above the door, as I am only 5 foot 4½ inches tall (yes the half is very important) he is also quite short for his age, so you can image this looks quite a spectacle. He eventually managed to hit the spider with the balloon, which sent the spider into free fall down on to the top of the door architrave, the spider did it’s best to hide there, but my son was still jumping up, still swinging the balloon, still trying to squash the poor spider.

Well as you know my history with spiders (see The Seven Legged Spider), I had to make an amends here, so I stepped in between the frightened, quivering spider and my maniacal son, reached up over the door and this time carefully took hold of the spider, I took it straight to the back door, where I successfully managed to get the spider through the door and into the garden with all eight legs still intact.

I’ve gotta make a stand
But I am just a man
(I’m not superhuman)
My voice will be heard today
(Hero by Skillet)

Hopefully, that spider has gone back to the army of seven legged spiders, that have been plotting their revenge over the last few months, proceed to explain how I saved it’s life and all of it’s legs, in turn, gaining me a small amount of redemption and a stay of execution from the impending revenge attack.