Steamboats - Chapter 13
One Step At A Time
I have met and spoken to many people who have been admitted into hospitals for treatment with their problem with alcohol . Each time they would have drink the intake of that substance damages brain cells that never repair and in the process upsets the chemical balance within the brain .
It’s usually the case that only when we realise that we are in trouble, we reach out for help . To tackle a problem like alcoholism it’s impossible to do it alone . We need help and we need to stop going any further down that one way street .
Life is too precious and our sanity must be protected above all else . Over the years since I began writing this book I have written down some comments you might be interested in reading from people who faced challenges to their addictions . All of these people are now living free from that curse in their lives .
I have their permission to write the following comments . The names of these people have been changed for the purpose to protect their privacy . It is their wish and mine that someone might benefit from their experience and by making these statements they might be of some hope to someone out there who would like to stop drinking .
I decided to stop drinking because I realised that it was up to me and nobody else to make that decision . The moment I knocked on the door for help other doors began to open which brought me to a place of understanding what I needed to do .
At eighteen I was still living with Mum and Dad . I kept my drinking problem a secret and no one ever knew how bad it was except me . I know now I am one of the lucky few to break away from this addiction in my life and urge you if you have a drink problem to get help . Take my advice and do it today . Tomorrow may never come and if you need help there is a lot of people out there waiting for your call
I was brought up on the Catholic faith and went to church regularly . I was introduced to alcohol ny work colleagues and it made feel happy . I continued drinking everyday until I found myself in a hard place with no escape . I lost friends and jobs and my drivers license . It took a while but when I realised how big of a problem I had by drinking and how much it had changed ne only them did I start to think about getting off that wagon . Thank God I am now in a better place because I no longer use alcohol; in my life .
I was happily engaged to be married . I had a good job and played sport . My future looked good , With the world at my feet I was confident and in control until a new friend introduced me to alcohol . I didn’t want to look like a wimp , so I started drinking and I liked it . I drank a lot and it took over my life . That’s really when my problems began . Regular drinking sessions with the boys ended the relationship I had with my fiancé . Next thing to go was my job , followed by my personality and moods . I had a new life then as being somewhere in a dark nightmare where my life was having daily drinks in some rented room five footsteps from hell .
I ended up in a hospital after trying to drive home after ten hours of drinking at a party one night . After I lost the use of my legs , I decided then to seek for a cure .
Up until a few years ago I was unable to talk to anybody about my experiences .
I am off the drink now and attend group therapy and feel ok but if there is one thing I have learnt about my drinking experience it’s there is no compensation for the damage heavy drinking can do . If you have a drinking problem stop it now before you learn the same lesson that I did
When a group of friends recently offered me drink at a party I decided to try it . The feeling I had was so good that I wanted to have another abd another .
At first my drinking binges were only at the weekend , Then it became a daily ritual where I would drink until I couldn’t stand . I soon discovered that I needed alcohol; to stop this shaking in my hands so I needed to drink heavier and more often .
I knew there was a point when I was going insane and could do nothing about it . So I was admitted into a mental health facility and after months of detox and therapy sessions I was discharged in one piece and for the next ten years I was on the long road to recovery . These days I am not drinking and I feel that sanity has returned to my life and am so happy to be living a normal life again . Believe me , when I say you’re mad if you keep drinking the way I did . You should stop now and get a life .
I started using alcohol as a social thing was enjoyed the ride . It had a colourful lifestyle but as time went on shadows crept into my life that became a drab existence and the colour had faded into a black and white relationship with alcohol . My friends and family had left me and I didn’t really care . I stopped eating and lost weight and then after my peace of mind as well . I had almost lost my life but thanks to some good people who found me lying in a doorway of a shop I was brought to hospital and given a second chance at life again . I have returned to life again and found hope with those people who supported me in my battle with alcohol . Please keep off drink before it leaves you the way I was ..
I started drinking early and got hooked . My friends and other contacts drank as well and we thought we were the men . We made a lot of money then in our jobs and for a while things were going well . After a fight fuelled by alcohol I hurt some pretty bad and still remember looking at him lying there on the ground covered in blood . It was too late to change what I had dome . The police had been called and I was arrested and did some time in prison . That was a helter skelter roller coaster ride as so I was going through cold turkey in there alone . One of the prison officers asked a Pastor to call and visit me one day . Thank God he prayed for me and now I realise the wrong I did but also the forgiveness and healing power of God in my life . The prayers that had being offered up on my behalf by Pastor and church community have helped me pulled me through . Since I got out of prison I have bit had another drink and work as a volunteer in the church community . Take it from me, if you want to be free , don’t let alcohol make you a prisoner inside yourself .
With nothing much happening in my life I was bored and thought drinking alcohol would make me feel better . Sure thing for a while it did . I even had a new circle of people who hung out with me . We drank a lot most nights and that was cool until my life felt empty and cold . Outside of drinking alcohol there was nothing else happening in my life and it became clear I was going crazy with depression after every drinking session I had . I was given a course of electric shock treatment (ECT) followed up by tranquillisers and sedatives . At this stage my mind had been hijacked by prescribed drugs that I was mixing with alcohol and that was not doing me any good . I realises I had a problem and decided to fix it before I forgot who I was which was becoming difficult for me at times . I reached out for help and many come to my rescue . In the end , it come down to you so why don’t you do it for yourself and get off the drink before it’s too late . I was a gone but lucky for me I returned .
It’s hard to break a habit that you have been doing for many years , It takes strength and courage because you have to walk away from the things that identify you as the person you are . The feeling you get is like jumping overboard from a ship into an ocean , abandoning those you knew and the lifestyle that went with it . Living a life without the daily rituals of what you did when you did it . Almost like an abandoning of self not knowing who or what you’re going to find .
The mind becomes a battlefield where the war on addiction begins with one step admitting you have a problem. Next you need to fuel up for the journey and fire up the jets , check the weapon system and you’re ready for take of . This is a battle for your life and there can be no turning back .
My mind was hijacked yesterday and in a steamboat I sailed away
far out into the stormy sea , where the wild winds blew everyday .
Drink after drink , day by day with a devil may care attitude
Swaying on a slippy deck I tried to walk as best as I could
but huge waves left me on the rocks half way to insanity,
I heard a voice in my head , it’s your last chance , reach out to me .
The crew said , there’s no hope for him and in my head their words all stuck .
So I stayed at the bottom of a bottle where I had been sucked .
I swallowed an ocean dry because mothing mattered anymore .
The future was disappearing and yesterday I couldn’t restore
I had to say goodbye to all the crew and jumped off that steamboat
Half man , half alcohol , I clung to hope and tried to stay afloat.
Help . man overboard , I cried , as I drifted away from excuse
I faced up to reality otherwise life might cut me loose
So I reached out my hand , Lord save me , I cant do this by myself
It was then I found safe harbour , the second step to better health.
Once I stopped taking alcohol my problems began . Cold turkey brought me into a nightmare existence where I experienced both audible and visual hallucinations . What I heard and seen where not pleasant . It is worth mentioning that constant daily use of alcohol had brought this experience into my life . Each day was hell and each day I continued to fight for my life . I cut myself off from the circle of friends I had who were still drinking . I was not a popular guy anymore as that someone I used to be was not that person anymore . Like the words of a song from the Moody Blues , I was lost in a lost world . I grasped on to help wherever I could find it .
I began going to church every day and prayed very hard . It came to me one day in the dark night of my soul like a light through an old window that had been closed .
I knelt before the altar and said these words ,
“God you created me . You know every hair on my head and have counted every bone in my body . You have carved my name in the palm of your hand . Dear God you know my heart and my mind . You created me so it would be no problem to cure me . God help me to recover . Heal my shattered nerves . Cure my battered mind . God I am handing myself over to you completely as from today “
At that very instant I heard God say in the depths of my heart and mind ,
“Why did you not come to me before now “
From that day I never looked back . I was so angry with myself because for I had not thought to ask God’s help . It was all so simple and yet I never saw it .
That day I made the third step to recovery .
From there each step became easier because He was carting me
I looked back at the life I had lived with the people who I should have walked away from and the things I had done and the person I had become . Now I could see where I was which gave me the ability to see where I was at and now I knew where I wanted to go . God worked on me during this time mapping out a future plan .
I continued to allow God to work on me and he was . Every where I went and with everyone I met . I found a new life and a good job .
I pulled me through the nightmare .
Every step of the way God had reminded me , I am with you always .
No one would have any idea what I had been through but Him . I was now the person he wanted me to be . What had happened to me was more than a recovery it was salvation and restoration of my mind body and spirit .
An awakening so powerful came into my life of how awesome God is and how only through his power was I able to cope with all the hardships my addiction until that experience was completely obliterated .
By the time I was ready write things down ion paper I was cured completely .
What I had now was a stronger faith and an understanding of a communicating with God in a living way .
To this present day . I am giving talks on how to overcome addiction with faith alone and how win the battle to with trust and faith in God alone .
I have spoken to some of those Doctors and psychiatrists who had once said I would never be able to live a normal life . They could not believe that I was the same person they had diagnosed many years before and squashed their previous diagnoses of me .
I have had apologies from other people had judged me wrongly . The truth of it is none of them ever knew how to deal with my problem and so they resigned themselves to writing me off as a hopeless case however Jesus my friend and saviour took me into his hands and cured me and now I know His love for me is stronger than anyone and that Hs will for me is to be a whole person not half man , half alcohol but one with Him .
I hope some of this experience may shed some light into how with faith we can conquer anything .
This true story of how I found my way to health again through Christ . I hope that this story may help someone , somewhere who may be facing difficulties in life .
I pray that the hope of the risen Lord will bring you out from the darkness and into the light of his wonderful love .
Jesus rose so that we may have life and live it to the full .
A Novel by Paul McCann
Link to Authors Preface