For thirteen years my life was completely dominated by drugs and alcohol. I began taking drugs at the age of twelve when the lady I baby-sat for paid me in speed. Any attempt to get off speed produced such severe withdrawal symptoms that I slashed my wrists and ran out of the house crying in a sever state of panic. Later my friends introduced me to cannabis then to ‘magic’ mushrooms. From ‘magic’ mushrooms I graduated to heroin and began shoplifting in order to pay for my habit. I was caught and ended up in court.
I overdosed several times, including once in the dealer’s house because I had been drinking before I took the heroin. He dragged me outside away from his house, left me face down in the mud and called an ambulance. Gradually I moved from smoking heroin to injecting it. Drugs produced the strangest feelings, panic attacks and terrifying hallucinations; visions that were so frightening that I am still not able to confront them, I was convinced that the Devil was trying to get me. This also made me very paranoid and caused me to withdraw into myself.
One Christmas Eve the family had bought a bottle of wine to drink on Christmas Day. I couldn’t open my eyes or sleep because the hallucinations were so bad. I drank some wine to see if it would help, and found that it did, so I started to drink to give me the confidence to go outside with friends and to help me cope with the panic attacks. Inevitably of course, I began to drink more and more. By the age of 15 or 16 I was drinking 12 to 13 litres of cheap cider per day. At the beginning of the week I would have a shopping trolley with about 60 bottles, but they would only last until about Thursday. Over the next few years the drinking got worse and I went back on heroin. I was in and out of hospital and rehab a few times trying to get myself better, but I only stayed sober for a few months; there really wasn’t the after care that I needed to help me stay clean.
I was so physically ill by this time that I became really suicidal. I began cutting my arms and neck. I was becoming so ill without the drink, but at the same time I couldn’t keep it down. I began to sleep in the doorway of “Balfour News” a local Newsagent’s with Max my dog. Every hour I would wake up and drink. By 5:30 a.m. I would be sitting on the bench, by 9:30 a.m. I would have drunk between 2 to 3 litres of cheap cider. After this I would fall asleep, and when I woke up I would drink another 3 to 4 litres and fall asleep again.
On one occasion when I was taken to hospital they refused to admit me, they said that they were “not a Rehab Unit”. I sat outside the hospital shaking violently, feeling really panicky, with sweat pouring down my face, trying to force some drink down, knowing how terrible I looked. People were watching me, I had sunk so low, really hated myself, and my Mum was really upset because they would not admit me. Once when Mum had called the ambulance because I had overdosed, they tried to revive me, Mum was frightened by all the thumps and bumps she could hear coming from the bedroom, eventually they gave up and said that there was nothing more that they could do. But the Lord graciously spared me again.
One day I slashed my neck and wrists; as I was walking to Chard Hospital I met Pastor Jenny from South Chard Church. She took me to a friend’s house where they cleaned me up. Jenny started to talk to me about Jesus. I told her how desperate I was to get free from drink and drugs. I met her a few times after that and she brought me to the Church. After a while I met her husband, Pastor Neil. My flat caught fire during this time and I was going to be evicted because of the drink and drugs, Neil spoke to Social Services and they agreed to let me stay. He also got me into hospital, but before that, while I was still drunk, I gave my life to the Lord, when I came out of hospital and was sober I did it again. While I was in hospital Neil and Paul, one of the church members gave me some Christian CD’s, I listened to them every night and read my Bible; it really helped. Because of my psychological state and the damage to my liver, Doctor Barnes the Psychiatrist who worked for Social Services said I was the one that he least expected to survive, but here I am.
When I was so drunk and at my lowest, suicidal, having slashed my wrists and neck, I could not understand why Neil and Jenny were so kind to me, but now I know there is one who has always had His hand on me, and has never let me go. Jesus who loves me so much that He gave His life for me on the cross, who has saved me, has reconciled me to God my heavenly Father, delivered me from drugs and alcohol, and has totally changed my life.