I first started experimenting with drugs and alcohol when I was 15 years old – drinking vodka with my friends and smoking cannabis: this was pretty normal every weekend. Although my parents had brought me up not to behave in such a way I was completely rebellious. My parents separated when I was 15 but this is not why I drank or took drugs. I liked the effect and loved going out with my friends. I lived with my dad when they separated and he worked hard. This meant he couldn’t really keep an eye on me 24 hours a day and, although my big sister took over my mum’s role in the house, she was also unable to stop me from being so rebellious.
On the night of my 16th birthday party I got very drunk. Many people brought alcohol and there were soon at least 60 people at my house. I had liked this guy for some time and he knew I liked him. He was drinking gin and must have been about 25 years old. We all left the house and went to someone else’s. I was so drunk I could hardly keep my eyes open and I remember being in a room with the bed against the door. That night I lost my virginity. Even this did not deter me from getting drunk.
I then met someone and lived with him, on and off, for nearly four years. It became abusive and it ended when I had enough and got extremely drunk at a wedding and kissed another man. I continued getting drunk and taking all kinds of drugs: ecstasy, acid, mushrooms, amphetamines and other uppers. I tried to get my life together when I was 19 years old and went to the doctor for help. I had a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and would have regular sessions talking about my problems. They also prescribed me anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I went college to do an Access course as I wanted to become a nurse. I passed the course, but that’s as far as I went. Throughout this time I was searching for an answer and often thought to myself that there was more to life than taking drugs and drinking. I read lots of inspirational self-help books and tried many alternative new-age religions – a bit from everything.
Drifting along I started really to try and make a change. I worked for a year but really struggled to keep it together. Eventually I had to give the job up as I had been admitted to a psychiatric ward several times. Each time in hospital I wanted to get better and hated the person I’d become and the things I had done. I remember one time I was in a psychiatric ward and my mum was on the phone begging me not to keep doing drugs. I know I meant it in my heart when I said to her that I wouldn’t do it again but, the very next day when I was released, I went to a party and got trashed. So I ended up in the same place again. I missed out on so much with my family and my friends and became a lone wolf.
The last time I went into hospital a place came up for me in a rehabilitation centre. Although I still wasn’t convinced that I had a problem I went as a last resort. I was there for three months and then moved on to secondary treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. I stayed clean for four years but was still really unhappy and full of fear. I would wake up and think to myself, “If this is life clean and sober I don’t want it.” I knew that a drink would lead to another drink and then more drug abuse so I took lots of painkillers and ended up in hospital. How very dark it is before the dawn! The day I got out I was resigned to the fact that I might always be mentally ill and need medication or help in some way. But – God had a plan for me and I met three girls who were clean and sober and attending 12-Step meetings and church. Life got so much better as a result of being around these people and they told me that God could do for me what I couldn’t do for myself and that He was the answer. But I was still preoccupied with my ex-boyfriend. I thought I could help him get clean. One day I went to see him and was full of anger and resentment that he could not stop for me – so I relapsed. I drank some whisky and that lead to nine more months of turmoil. The physical craving was beyond my mental control; I could not stop, even if I wanted to, because the craving for drugs was so strong. Eventually my boyfriend went into rehab and I decided to try and give up again. I went back to those girls I’d met before and carried on doing support groups. I was prescribed Codeine Phosphate for the pain of withdrawal by a doctor and got hooked onto them – and so did my boyfriend. It took a year for us to separate and get clean again but this time I knew that I needed something more so I cried out to God, “help me please.”
I was in Cardigan, walking down to the supermarket one day, and just felt as though someone was prompting me to go into New Life Church, so I went over and soon found myself inside being prayed for. Thus my journey with God really began. Little did I know that my boyfriend, who had left that same week, was going through detox ‘raw’ with prayer and he also rang me up in the same week to say, “I love Jesus.” I was shocked and excited because I knew then that God really did have a plan. A year later we were married.
God has given me a new heart and definitely has plans for me and my husband. Since being married we have had people detoxing in our home. It is so amazing to see people light up and look healthy and full of life again. I never forget that these people are God’s children and think, “What would Jesus do?” I have a vision for a place where people can come straight from the street to detox. There are so many people we come across every day that want to stop what they are doing and be well, but we have waiting lists and all sorts of hoops to jump through sometimes that make it too late. I’ve lost many friends to addiction. God’s love and power flows in our home and, through us, many have come to know Jesus and love Him too.
I went to Bible College and graduated with Distinction. As a result of reading Gods word every day and spending precious time with Him I don’t have to attend self-help groups etc. any more. It’s all just about JESUS and bringing people into His Kingdom. By the leading of the Holy spirit Spirit I have remained totally clean and sober three years now, no drugs from doctors, no more hospitals.
Today I know a peace like no other and I feel so loved by my Heavenly Father.