I was born into a family where my father drank to excess and came home angry all the time. My Mother, my sister and I were in fear every time he came in the door. I witnessed my Father almost beat my Mother to death but she stayed with him, because she believed that he would be given custody of the children if she left.
When not directed at my Mother, my Father’s anger was vented on me. Worse than the terrible physical pain, was the emotional abuse. I was told that I was “useless”, that I was “the village idiot, who would never amount to anything”. The worst thing for me in all of this was that, no matter how much I prayed, God did nothing to stop it. Life got so bad that, at age 8, I tried to strangle myself with a lamp flex.
Being only a child and being told so often that I was a “waste of space”, I ended up believing it to be true. My Father eventually stopped drinking, having beaten my Mother so badly that she almost died. However, his verbal abuse of me never stopped until he died.
At age 14, I was sent to a “List D” school, as my parents signed me “out-with parental control”. They claimed that they could not understand why I was behaving so badly, as I got everything that they could give. This was a dreadful lie but it got me away from the abuse for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the damage was done and I really did believe that I was a waste of space and a failure. I turned to drink to block out the pain but this, of course, only led to further trouble – and prison. I then started taking drugs – eventually taking every drug available. Sadly, this went on for many years, even when I was working and bringing up children of my own.
Due to my low self-esteem, I got into an ill-advised relationship, with a lady who could not commit to me, exclusively. We eventually separated and I was given custody of my son, who was 8 at the time. My son and I then moved to England and, for the next ten years, I stopped drinking etc.. I worked hard and gained a number of qualifications. However, at age 18, my son moved back to Scotland and, once again, I spiralled out of control. I began to take heroin and crack and all this led to my losing my job and all my savings. I then gained a “hit” on me, due to money owed. I ended up in a dingy flat, surrounded by addicts. I weighed 6-and-a-half stone and was at my very lowest.
It was then that I met a good Christian gentleman from Brisbane Evangelical Church in Largs. He arranged for me to go into a Teen Challenge Rehabilitation Centre – where I lasted 12 days! Two months later I tried again and this time stayed for two full weeks! Eventually, I found myself in the Victory Outreach Rehab Centre in Birmingham, where I went through three months of withdrawal. One day, I got really angry and screamed out to God to help me and, from then on, things got better each day. I put on weight and began to learn Scripture. I also learned how to pray, to preach and to evangelise.
After 18 months in the Centre, I was made Home Director and ran the Centre for the following year.
Since that dramatic day, I have continued to walk with God and, having seen and known the worst and best in humankind, I can honestly say that the best thing I ever discovered is the love of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. I do not regard myself as a recovering addict – I am a new creation in Christ. As it says in Galatians chapter 2 ,verse 20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me”.