Tag Archives: Stress

2800 Days, 400 Weeks Sober

2800 Days, 400 Weeks Sober

From a time it would be hard to imagine getting through one day without alcohol to 2800 days, 400 weeks later, now it’s hard to imagine how I could have got this far without the Grace and the Strength of the Lord, none of this could be done without His love.

Before I wasn’t a nice person to be around when I tried not to drink, there were times when I had no money left and fought the urge to take what money I can find in the house to get a drink. I was short tempered and on edge, pacing around, snapping at the kids.  On those night’s Victoria would give me the money she had saved for food or bills, she said she couldn’t have me in the house like this, I was better to be around drinking, than not, that wasn’t normal, was it?

Somewhere deep down I guess I knew there was a problem, but that’s it with addiction isn’t it, it won’t let you admit it.  I was more comfortable drifting off into a deep sleep with a body pulsing with alcohol than spending quality time with those who loved me.

Before I realised how bad it was, I had lost the person I loved most, thankfully the kids never saw the worst of it, I wasn’t violent or abusive, in fact given the amount I drank I never lost control, I just got comfortable.  But as time went on it took more and more to get to that point, to get to the point I could sleep through the night.

My excuse, it was so I could relax and sleep, get through my problems without sinking, not much of an excuse I know.  I was convinced I was in control, not until I realised I had lost Victoria, did I realise how bad I was and how in reality I had lost myself.  In a way I hadn’t lost her, I guess she had lost the real me.

Even before the day I so wanted to take my own life, before my soon to be Pastor came to see me, before I made that first prayer, I can see the path to recovery that God had laid out to me.

He brought people into my life that would be the ones who helped me through those early weeks of recovery.  He put his word in my heart through music, four years before I turned to God, I had begun listening to Christian Alternative and Rock music, I sang along, not understanding the truth within it, but it was there for a reason, steps to come home to.

No one said it would be an easy ride, it hasn’t been.

Within a few weeks of quitting drinking, the withdrawals set in and the aches and pain almost became unbearable, to the point I felt drinking again was the only freedom from it.

I soon found out that is was prayer that set me free from the pain and the pull of the bottle.

At times I struggle with depression and anxiety, I’ve had a spell on anti depressants.  Currently I have to take mild anti depressant for persistent headaches that I’ve had since June, they’ve been diagnosed as tension headaches, some days they get me down, others aren’t too bad, light makes it worse, so I now wear glasses for reading etc, but also if I find the lights bringing my headache on.

I’ve been through periods of anxiety and suffered only a few weeks ago from a series of panic attacks, it made life difficult for a few weeks.

But I keep fighting, keep counting those days.

In truth, it may been 400 weeks, but this is just the start of the journey, just the beginning of a journey through life with God, everyday is a step in His grace, a day to be thankful for, even in the depression, the anxiety, the pain, I can still be thankful that He loved me enough to save me.

A few weeks ago I came across this song when I heard Dolly Parton had sung a it at the recent Country Music Awards Ceremony, over here in the UK we don’t really know much about Country Music, but most people know who Dolly is, there is after all only one Dolly Parton.  Once I heard the live version I sought out the original and came across Zach Williams’ album, I love it, but this song I have had on repeat for most of the last few weeks, I feel it could have almost been written for me, it expresses exactly how I feel, through everything THERE WAS JESUS.

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus

When the life I built came crashing to the ground
When the friends I had were nowhere to be found
I couldn’t see it then but I can see it now
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace
For forgiveness and a price I couldn’t pay
I’m not perfect so I thank God every day
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it

There was Jesus
On the mountains
In the valleys
There was Jesus
In the shadows
Of the alleys

There was Jesus
In the fire, in the flood
There was Jesus
Always is and always was, oh

No, I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You’re always there

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

Left Alone

Left Alone

And when I was left alone
I built this place into a fortress
A place where I stood strong
Far beyond the pain I held
And now
Now this place is a prison
No longer a home
Just living in a cell
Unable to walk out
Here I am sitting
Solitary, alone
Praying the angels sing
And the thunder come
For the lightning to strike these walls
And once more
Set me free

Painted Pictures

Painted Pictures

I wish I could paint a picture
To show how I feel inside
I wish I could play the music
The theme of this hectic ride
I wish I could write the lyrics
Of a song that reaches heaven
And this will become clear
Of how messed up I am living

To Smile

To Smile

All the fake smiles
All the forced laughs
Let them go
Just forgotten moments
Of a sorry and distant past
Embrace a future
Shining like starlight
Through grace
Let go of all past mistakes
To Him none of it matters
Let your smile be one of joy
Beneath the love of God
A day is to come
When the smile is true
And the laughs are full of joy
But just for now
If the tears should fall
Just keep on holding on

The HurtAnd The Healer

The Hurt And The Healer

Don’t you know I’m hurting
Behind the smile I force for you
Can you feel this pain
When you say snap out of it

Do you sense the turmoil
Behind the tears I yield
Have you seen the loneliness
Within the scars I hide

Have you felt the coldness of a heart
That’s given up on life
Could you yield a mighty flame
To reignite this soul that’s died

This weight you could not carry
It’s a burden I must endure
So could you breathe beneath this grave
Of the lost life I threw away

You cannot hold this feeling
It belongs to me alone
You cannot taste this pain
Only I can keep it within

You could never hold back the walls
That close in around my soul
And who could ever free themselves
From the chains I form for myself

No one one earth could understand
Not one could feel this way
None hold the pain that I hold
It’s mine and mine alone

And when the shadows creep
There’s no one here but me
And when the voices scream
No one hears them only me

But I hear them child
I hear the lies they say
I see beyond the shadows
I the light is within

I’ve seen the scars you make
I felt the pain of each
I watched the tears fall
I’ve collected every one

I’ve been with you everywhere
You just chose not to see
I’ve looked over you since forever
You just never to turned to me

And I’m here with you now
Now you’re crying out to the world
Though it seems none are listening
I am feeling every word

I’m calling you from the shadows
Calling you into this light
I’m taking you from this darkness
To be a beacon to people of the night

Stand with me my child
Take your refuge beneath my wings
Walk with me my child
Into all I have for you

I promise I will carry it all
The pain of all you’ve been
Look around I’ve set you free
All your chains have been released

And I Still Can’t Find The Cat!

I had great intentions for Thursday, I had booked the day off work to get a bit of work done for the Architects and also planned to do a few things around the house before friends from my Church Connect group came around later in the evening.

I needed to get stuck into some drawings before I go away next weekend, so I planned to get up fairly early and get quite a few hours in and then sort out my front room. That was the plan anyway.

I woke early Thursday morning with my early alarm, I switched it off and intended to sleep in for while as I didn’t have to be at work at 7.30am.  It was just after 4.15 in the morning, then I heard running water, like a tap dripping.  I couldn’t remember hearing that the evening before, so I got up to investigate.

A few weeks ago I finally left the settee in the front room and moved into the downstairs rear bedroom.  It was the first time in over seven years that I have slept in a bed in this house.  My room has a hall between it and the kitchen, I looked out of my door into the kitchen and there I saw it, the kitchen and hall floor were swimming in water!

The sound of the dripping was coming from the kitchen ceiling, water was falling onto the worktops and the tiled floors, it was dripping down the walls, it was everywhere.

I ran through the kitchen and straight upstairs to the bathroom above, wondering if I had left anything running, I couldn’t remember doing so, but that was where the water was coming from.

When I got to the bathroom, it was swimming in water too.  The tiled floor was deep in water and it seemed to be coming from the toilet.  I couldn’t make out where, until I saw the big crack down the rear corner of the cistern.  The water had been flooding out and obviously the float valve just kept letting it try to refill. There was water everywhere.  I grabbed all the towels I could find and put them down on the floor around the toilet and ran back downstairs to find the stopcock and switch off the water.

I put a few towels down on the kitchen floor to mop up what was there and waited for the water to stop dripping through the ceiling.  I rang my Dad just before 8am and explained what had happened, He used to fit kitchens and bathrooms, so he came around with Mum to take a look.  We tied the valve up in the closed position so it would stop trying to refill the toilet, that way I could switch the water back on.

I went to see if I could just replace the cistern, but the chances of getting one to fit where small, it seems I may need to replace the whole toilet, so for now that can wait until I get back to work next week and I can order a new one through work and get someone to fit it.

We cleaned and mopped up as much of the water as possible, but that was my morning gone, the plan for the day had flown out the window and I was shattered.  I opened up the kitchen and bathroom windows as wide as possible to air both rooms, hoping they would dry out quicker, then I went back to bed for a while, to catch up on the sleep I missed that morning.

I gave up on the idea of getting any work done or getting things done around the house, by the time I woke again, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.  Mid afternoon I was laying on my bed, just watching the TV, when I thought that I heard something in the kitchen, I got up and went to look.

That’s when I saw a small cat in the hall, I don’t have a cat, I’m not a big cat lover.

The back door was locked so it didn’t get in there, I shouted at it to get out and gave chase, but I don’t know where it went, it was faster than I was, I couldn’t see it downstairs, I heard a noise upstairs, so I ran up there, closing the door to the stairs behind me, it wasn’t up there either, by now I am starting wonder if I am seeing things.

I still can’t find that cat and I haven’t seen it in the street the last few days since, it’s a small cat from about ten doors down from me, I see it most days in the front gardens, but not since!  I am hoping that the noise I heard was the cat jumping back out the bathroom window onto the roof of my bedroom below, I think that is where it came in from and hopefully went back out of.

I can live without using that toilet for a while, I still have a toilet downstairs, so that’s not a problem, it’s just that I could do without the expense at the moment, I am taking the kids away next week, although my Mum and Dad have paid for the caravan, I still need spending money for us all.  I still need a few things in my bedroom too, I don’t have much furniture, what I do have friends and family have donated to me.

At one point on Thursday I was beginning to think why me, why just as I thing I am getting somewhere and moving on, something like this happens to set me back.

Early last year I heard God’s voice say to me that “the seven years of drought will soon be over and trust me that prosperity will come”, just as for the first time in seven years I feel I am really moving on from the past situations, little things like this come against me.

But I put this aside and refuse to be beaten down by it, it’s a setback, yes, but it’s not the end, I will get past it and will continue to trust in God’s promise that prosperity will come.  I have come too far to let a broken toilet and flooded rooms stop me, it’s all cleaned up now, I can get a replacement toilet cheaply through work and someone to fit, all will be fine.

After all the initial feeling of why me, it all seemed to fade away later that evening when my friends were around, I actually found it quite funny and obviously the toilet jokes were plenty.

So I refuse to see this as a setback, it’s just an obstacle, but I will get over it and move on.

But I still can’t find the cat!!!!!

I don’t wanna be
Stuck in this misery
I tried my best to make it on my own
But I’m in way too deep
So deep that I can’t sleep
I just wait for the sun to break the dawn

And I’ve given up on myself
I’m giving in to someone else
To wash away the madness
‘Cause you don’t care what’s happened
You don’t even think about the things that I’ve done wrong

So give me a new start
Creating me a new high
And pull me in to your sweet embrace
Gimme amazing grace

Now I wanna sing
And tell about the mystery
Of how someone can love a wretch like me
‘Cause You can make a blind man see
You can change their destiny
Of everyone that comes to you and believes

You’re got to give up on ourselves
And give in to someone else
To wash away the madness
‘Cause you don’t care what’s happened
You don’t even think about the things that I’ve done wrong

So give me a new start
Creating me a new high
And pull me in to your sweet embrace
Gimme amazing grace
Check Out

Giving up on ourselves
Giving in to someone else
To wash away the madness
‘Cause you don’t care what’s happened
You don’t even think about the things that I’ve done wrong

So give me a new start
Creating me a new high
And pull me in to your sweet embrace
Gimme amazing grace
Gimme amazing grace
Gimme amazing grace
Gimme amazing grace

Yesterday’s Rain

Yesterday’s Rain

Dark and gnarled they rise
To the shadows of darkened leaf
That blacks out the daylight sky
So no light can find it’s way
How did I find my way here?
Here my soul sleeps
And my heart bleeds
The darkness from within
Flows out upon the ground
Among the dying plants
Where little ever grows
Here I lay
In this humid air
That squeezes upon my lungs
I gasp for air
I try to breathe
Is this where death begins?

The thickness of this forest
Walls of rotting bark on my every side
The ivy spreads upon the floor
Running rings around towering trees
Looking for a way forward
For there is no way back
Only darkness upon the left and right
Still darkness up ahead
Where do I go from here?
It has a similar feel to before
Is this real or just in my mind?
I’m struggling for what is truth
How is one released from here?
Or does one become darkness’s tree?

I can hear a faint wind
Blowing through the trees above
It’s shakes the branches overhead
Only to bring down yesterday’s rain
A temporary cooling upon my brow
For a moment I can taste the spring
But ultimately lost in this humid tide
Still I struggle to breathe
I scratch upon the forest floor
Crawling in the dirt for an exit
I can’t see the way out of here
But still I must believe
If I believe it’s here
And trust what’s left in my heart
Surely the light must appear
I can’t be destined to spend all my days?
In this darkness and it’s fear
Etching words of anguish deep upon my soul
As I fall lower and lower upon this floor

Still yesterday’s rain falls upon me
With every shimmer of the winds above
Above me the darkened branches
Spread their leaves across my sky
Blocking out the light of life
Only the waters of the rains make it through
Here nothing lives around me
Only the creatures that dwell in the dark
Their faint noises tease my fear
And my tears mingle with yesterday’s rain
I’m lost and can’t find myself
Can I be the only one in here
Are the creaking of the branches
Just the cries of all my fears
The ones that leave me heart
And cry out to the night

Are my fears and anguish creating this forest?
Is this darkness the shadows of my depression?
Does my crying heart create the rain?
That falls like yesterday’s hopes
How can I wash away this dirt?
From the forest floor where I’ve found myself
As I crawl upon bleeding knees
Tattered and torn the rags I wear
From mattered hair to filthy toe
I have become a mess
The dirt of darkness and failure
Stain my being
And still I can’t breathe
There’s no air to fill these lungs
The only relief is yesterday’s rain

My consciousness slips
These fading eyes feel so heavy
I’m struggling to raise my face
To look and find any way
Or a chink of light before I fail
The sound of fear all about
Echo the anguish of this heart
Is there a way?
I must still believe
That no matter how dark this forest becomes
The light will come and find me here
To erase this fear
To silence these cries
And bring back life
To fills these lungs
And heal this heart

Can you hear the whisper of the wind?
Can you hear my voice among the leaves?
I am the wind that shakes the trees
The wind that makes the raindrops fall
I am here
I have always been
You’ve lost your way
Misplaced your hope
But I have brought the rain for you
Yesterday’s rain full of yesterday’s hopes
The hopes you held when life was strong
The hopes you held within my hands
Remember them they have sustained you
Now lift eyes and hear my voices
And see this forest slip far away

I hear the whisper
But my mind is weak
Consumed by the fear my heart bleeds
My soul shakes
A shiver of despair
All I see is the darkened trees
That block my way and pen me in
The dirt is deep and here I sink
No light above
Only the darkness of the forest leaves
Speak my Lord so I know it’s You
Call my name louder than this fear
Command me to rise
And see Your face
Before the forest takes this life

Around me now I hear the wind
Ever strong in the tallest trees
The leaves they shake
Like fear consumes them
And the endless shimmer
Brings down yesterday’s rain
Stronger and stronger the wind becomes
And relentlessly the rain falls
I’m flooded now with what feels like hope
As the water washes away my dirt
I lift my eyes
Desperate to see the skies
Still I see the shaking trees
With falling rains and loosened leaves
And slowly slowly my fear released

I am the whisper
I am the wind
I am the voice the forest fears
I am the maker of yesterday’s rain
I am the Father of your soul
I won’t let the forest take your heart
I won’t let the fear tear you apart
I won’t let you stay in this place
I won’t let the darkness win
I won’t let your hope die
So lift you face and look to me
Don’t see a forest
Just see a tree
A tree that became mercy’s cross
Where the lamb conquered sin and shame
So look up and hear my voice
And believe this forest will fade away

With my eyes lifted
I see beyond these trees
As the light breaks through these leaves
The rain still falls
Washing clean my soul
And all the cries of fear I heard
Are replaced the prayers of a thousand saints
Spoken loudly in a thousand tongues
The fire of the sun lights up the sky
As the darkened leaves fade away
Before my eyes the scene has changed
I look to the tress and they’re not the same
No longer dark and gnarled climbing high
The branches have gone
The leaves have fallen
Now every tree is the shape of the cross
Upon my knees
My tears still fall
Yet the fear doesn’t fill them now
It’s my joy that simply falls

Ahead just one tree remains
The glorious cross
That trampled sin and shame
The ground around me
Like a pasture new
The greenest grass
Where fresh flowers bloom
The cross before
The light above
From all that despair I am released
The hope of the rains
Have formed rivers in me
Now I rise off bleeding knees
Yet the blood has gone
No scars remain
This world is mine to walk again
And whatever comes
I’ll forever remember yesterday’s rains
That the Lord gave to me
When I lost my way
I thank You Lord
For yesterday’s rains

Verse of the Day – Psalm 16:9-10

Psalm 16:9-10

Psalm 16:9-10

In a week where suicide has been highlighted in the media once more, by the tragic death of Chris Cornell, I am ever thankful that I was saved by His hand.

I pray for the family, friends and fellow band members of Chris.  As with many his music through the last twenty years has been a part of my life and sadly another great talent has fallen to a problem that is so often just brushed under the carpet.

Suicide and the thought of it is so real to so many people, both young and old, in my opinion it is the point where all hope has gone.

Only one can replace that hope, only one can save those so lost, only the Father.

I love this song by Blue October, the singer Justin Furstenfeld has himself struggled with anxiety, depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts, the lyrics are very real and the last line says it all…

Ask him to help you carry on.

All my life
Been running from a pain in me
A feeling I don’t understand
Holding me down

Rain on me
All I am, getting harder
A heavy weight
I carry around.

I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
Consume me,
My shadow see through me

Fear in itself
Will reel you in and spit you out
Over and over again
Believe in yourself
And you will walk
Fear in itself
Will use you up and break you down
like you were never enough
I used to fall, now I get back up.

I’m up here
I’m looking at the way down there
I’m staring through the I don’t care
It’s staring back at me

The beauty is
I’m learning how to face my beast
Starting now to find some peace
Set myself free

I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
Consume me,
My shadow see through me

Fear in itself
Will reel you in
And spit you out over and over again
Believe in yourself
And you will walk
Fear in itself
Will use you up and break you down
Like you were never enough
I used to fall but now I get back up

I’m moving on
Oh god just move on
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid….
Get back up
Get up

Fear in itself will use you up
And break you down just like you’re
Never enough
I used to fall

Ask for more
If you’re bitter still
Ask him to help you carry on.


I’ve Been There – Psalm 37:3-7

I’ve Been There – Psalm 37:3-7

Ever fallen in the dark
Where You feel no one will go
All alone
Desperate for air
Such a none believer
All hope had left the soul
Take it from me
I’ve been there
Where life felt such a chore
Wishing for the end of the world
There is a way out my friend
I promise you this
Only One carries enough hope
To rescue your wounded soul
To bring you back to life
My God, my Father
He was my way
He found me in that darkness
And brought me to a bright new day
Trust in Him
Hope in Him
Don’t worry for those who label you
With names you never deserved
You are more than they could ever say
Because my child
You are HIS

Psalm 37:3-7

Psalm 37:3-7

Just Whisper – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Just Whisper – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Heavy come the days
Tiring upon the heart
Draining of the soul
Too tired to even sleep
Worries running through the mind
Like trains in a busy station
No rest, no peace
You just can’t let go tonight
Well, close your eyes my friend
Just say the name of our Lord
In this restlessness
Just whisper Jesus, come to me tonight
Our Lord will answer
With a peace unlike any other
He’ll carry you to the morning
Take the weight of your troubles
To bring you peace this night
So close your eyes and be still
Just whisper His name
Let your sleep be peaceful
And your burdens fall away

2 Thessalonians 3:16

2 Thessalonians 3:16