Issues

Facing the issue: addiction

One Christian's story of overcoming drug dependency

ISSUES-DRUGS&ALC-STORY

“I can still remember, quite clearly, the first time I ever smoked dope. I was 15 years old, and we were standing in the park, amongst some trees. There were about four of us and I was offered a smoke, which I willingly accepted. I was curious as to what it would do to me, which is why I tried it.

“The next time I smoked dope was in a friend’s garage. I very quickly began buying about £5 – £10 of dope a week. I used to smoke it just at weekends, but somehow it gradually turned into every night. I even smoked dope and drank on the nights before my exams, but my Mum and Dad knew nothing about this at all. I was quite good at pretending and deceiving.

“I was 16 years old when I first tried LSD. Again, I was offered it by a friend and again I had no hesitation in saying ‘Yes’. I continued to use different kinds of LSD for a couple of years after my first experience, but it was never as powerful and strong as that first time.

“I was also 16 years old when I first tried speed (amphetamines). Again I was introduced to it through friends of mine. Speed is a white powder and I used to sniff it up my nose. There was a time in my life when I used to sniff speed daily and I used to smoke dope daily too, as well as drinking alcohol. I did not think my life was out of control or that anything was wrong with the way I was living my life at the time. But suddenly drugs, any drugs available really (including alcohol), had become the centre of my life. They were all I thought about, talked about, and all I lived for. Even girls began to take second place to the love of drugs in my life. Without even knowing it I had become a drug addict.

“I was 17 years old when I first smoked cocaine, but only tried it a couple of times. I was 18 years old when I was offered heroin. I was physically sick twice and that put me off so I didn’t try it again.

“I remember looking at myself in the mirror one day. I had just sniffed some speed up my nose and I was making sure that none was still around my nostrils. When I looked at my reflection, it didn’t look like me. I was pale and spotty and just looked a wreck. I didn’t know who I was anymore or where I was going or why I was living.

“I didn’t t know there was any other way to live my life, so I just carried on the same way. At the age of 18 years I was sacked from my part-time job as a cashier for stealing money from the till. I was arrested and taken to the police cells and had my finger prints taken. I ended up going to court and pleading guilty to two offences: theft and fraud. I was fined for each offence and paid it off week by week. Most of my money in those days was spent on drugs and alcohol. I was thin and did not really eat properly as a result.

“So when I was 19 years old I tried to change things and escape from my drug use by travelling around Europe. But the first thing I did when I arrived in Greece was to smoke some dope and get stoned. I remember thinking that this is supposed to be what I’m trying to get away from. I just couldn’t help myself. I still went back to the drugs and alcohol. I returned to England having learnt that people are all pretty much the same wherever you go. Everyone has to work, sleep, eat, drink, have relationships etc. It’s just that the languages, food, shape of house, things like that are different, that’s all. Human beings are human beings wherever you go and that’s that.

“One thing I felt I had learnt, however, was that people who showed love and care towards others seemed to be the happiest kind of people. So when I was 21 years old I applied for a job as an auxiliary nurse in a hospital. I lived in the hospital and worked with people with broken backs and necks. I enjoyed this work as it was full of love and care and I found it satisfying and fulfilling.

“It was whilst I was working on the wards that I met volunteers who came in to help with various duties. One of these volunteers was a Christian who gave me a Bible. I began reading it and I came across some of Jesus’ words saying he knew who he was, where he came from and where he was going to. I had no idea who I was or where I was going. In fact I wondered about all that immensely.

“As I read those words of Jesus, I knelt down and prayed that I would be able to know who I was and where I was going. Suddenly I knew that Jesus had died in my place and everything that I hated about myself, feeling dirty, black, and unclean, had been forgiven. I felt an invisible wave of ‘cleanness’ flow through me. I cried and talked to Jesus about many things for what must have been some time. I had been born again. I felt like I had been given a fresh new start. I stopped taking drugs, I even stopped drinking alcohol for three years, although I drink occasionally now. I stopped smoking fags three months later.

“That was 15 years ago and it seems like I’m writing about a different person. I am now happily married with two beautiful children. I returned to education when I was 31 years old and qualified as a Social Worker. I now work with people who have drug and alcohol problems. I visit the local police station and Magistrates and Crown Courts and talk to people in the cells.

“It used to be that drugs and alcohol were the centre of my life, but now Jesus and my family are the centre of my life. Thanks to Jesus, I now know where I came from and I know where I’m going.”

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