Tag Archives: tenth avenue north

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

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

Verse of the Day – 1 Thessalonians 5:4

1 Thessalonians 5:4

1 Thessalonians 5:4

I guess there will be times where we feel like we are slipping back into the darkness where we once found ourselves.  This has been true for me so many times, but only by clinging to the Light He brings have I been able to put the darkness behind me.

STRONG ENOUGH TO SAVE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
You fought
But you were just too weak
So you lost
All the things you try to keep
Now you’re on your knees, you’re on your knees

But wait,
Everything can change,
In a moments time you don’t have to be afraid,
Cause fear is just a lie
open up your eyes

And he’ll break
Open the skies to save
Those who cry out his name
The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you

Look
Now is not too late
Lift up your head
Let the rain fall on your face
You’re not far from grace
You’re not too far from grace

And he’ll break
Open the skies to save
Those who cry out his name
The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you

And he’ll break
open the skies to save
those who cry out his name
the One the wind and waves obey
is strong enough to save you

I know the weight of this world can take you down like gravity
And I know the current of yourself can take you out
Out to sea
But hold on, hold on

And he’ll break
Open the skies to save
Those who cry out his name
The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you
 

Verse of the Day – Ephesians 2:10

Ephesians 2:10

Ephesians 2:10

We were created to do good things, by the hands of God, the creator of the universe, yet maybe sometimes my own hands are to busy holding on to things, that I do not need, to do the good things I was created for.

EMPTY MY HANDS by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
I’ve got voices in my head and they are so strong
And I’m getting sick of this oh Lord, how long
Will I be haunted by the fear that I believe
My hands like locks on cages
Of these dreams I can’t set free

But if I let these dreams die
If I lay down all my wounded pride
If I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive

So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

These voices speak instead and what’s right is wrong
And I’m giving into them, please Lord, how long
Will I be held captive by the lies that I believe
My heart’s in constant chaos and it keeps me so deceived

But if I let these dreams die
If I could just lay down my dark desire
If I let these dreams die
Will I find you brought me back to life

So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

‘Cause my mind is like a building burning down
I need your grace to keep me, keep me from the ground
And my heart is just a prisoner of war
A slave to what it wants and to what I’m fighting for

So won’t you empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

Empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

With you
I need you now

 

Verse of the Day – Proverbs 29:25

Proverbs 29:25

Proverbs 29:25

I think each of us has given into fear, when it grips it is hard to see any way through, but then we hear the voice of the Lord and He leads us back into the light, everything changes, but still we let fear in, rather than trust in the Lord.

AFRAID by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore

When the world shakes
Feel my heart race
When the voices start again
Oh, the panics creeping in
Who will I listen to
Fear never told the truth

So I’ll wait on You tonight
Worries only wasted time

I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
Not like before, oh
I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
I’m safe in Your love, oh, Lord

In the future
You will return
We’ll watch the darkness break
And finally see Your face soon
Forever be alive
With Your Kingdom, death will die

So I’ll wait on You tonight
Worries only wasted time

I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
Not like before, oh
I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
I’m safe in Your love, oh, Lord

This world cannot take my treasure
This world doesn’t own my tears
My hope is alive in heaven
I will not give into despair
I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to be afraid anymore
Oh, Lord

I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
Not like before, oh
I don’t wanna be afraid
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
I’m safe in Your love, oh, Lord

Don’t wanna be afraid
(Don’t want, don’t want)
Don’t wanna be afraid anymore
(Don’t want, don’t want)
(Don’t want, don’t want)
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
Don’t wanna be afraid
(Don’t want, don’t want)
I don’t wanna be afraid anymore
(Don’t want, don’t want)
(Don’t want, don’t want)
I don’t have to be afraid anymore
 

Verse of the Day – Psalm 139:13-14

Psalm 139:13-14

Psalm 139:13-14

To know that we were knew by the Lord and formed by His own hand, fearfully and wonderfully made is an amazing thought and feeling.

YOU ARE MORE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

 

Verse of the Day – Psalm 71:17

Psalm 71:17

Psalm 71:17

At times I wish I had know God in my youth, then all those mistakes of my life may never have happened.  But as it is, I have my testimony, I have the memory of those moments where God has clearly touched and changed the direction of my life and for that I am truly thankful and will always declare His marvelous deeds.

I HAVE THIS HOPE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?

But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

So, whatever happens I will not be afraid
Cause You are closer than this breath that I take
You calm the storm when I hear You call my name
I still believe that one day I’ll see Your face

And I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go