My name is Lee and I am a believer who struggled with alcohol addiction.
I grew up in an environment where we were subject to alcohol from a very young age. Everywhere we went we were subject to alcohol, whether we were with friends or family, alcohol was always involved. So I grew up not really knowing or understanding the long term affects that alcohol has on your body because it was just basically acceptable and it was just what we all did.
Before recovery I was a full blown alcoholic. I was working for a huge IT company with a good job. On my way to work in the mornings, I would drink a beer, sometimes two. I would spray deodorant, chew chappies, eat sweets and avoid, or not get too close to management so they couldn’t smell that I had been drinking. I could still function and there were never any issues with my work even though I was a bit drunk most of the time. In April 2013,after 7 years working for this company, I just walked out, no notice, no phone call, nothing, just absconded. My daughter had been living with me and the December before I left my job she moved to Cape Town to live with her mom. I had in the interim sold my house, so I had quite a bit of money in the bank from the sale. So there I was all alone with a lot of money in the bank, or so I thought at the time. I moved into a cottage and so started my drinking “sabbatical”. I would eventually end up with a routine, I would get up in the morning, open a beer, get dressed, drive to my local pub, get there somedays before opening time, around 9am, now by this time, I have already had about 2 or 3 three beers at home. I would generally have a beer and a jaugermauster chaser and it wouldn’t matter what time of day or night this was, whether it be 9am or 9pm.
I wouldn’t and eventually couldn’t eat because my stomach had shrunk and my body was just so used to alcohol. I did have plenty of food at home and if I did cook, which was very rare, I would leave the dishes for ages before washing them. I eventually ended up passing out with a beer next to my bed, and when I woke up I would just reach out and grab a beer while lying in bed. My health started to deteriorate, I lost a lot of weight and there wasn’t a heck of a lot to start off with, my hygiene was almost none existent, I would crawl out of bed, splash my face with water, spray deodorant over my clothes and drive to the pub. I wouldn’t shower for days on end. My legs became so weak that I battled to stand up on occasions because my body was so drained, tired and worn down, basically from lack of food. I eventually started hallucinating that I could see and talk to people that were not even there, and yes, this was only from alcohol abuse, no other substance abuse, which basically freaked me out that my mind was playing tricks on me. This all came to an abrupt end after 1 year of not working and just solid drinking when I was almost arrested for breaking and entering into my landlord’s house. I was so drunk and messed up in the head one evening that I thought the landlord was holding my daughter in her house so I smashed the window to try and get into her house but my daughter was actually in Cape Town. The police arrived, with guns drawn, they took me to the police station when they eventually phoned my sister at about 2am in the morning to come and collect me. Luckily I wasn’t arrested because the police found a report lying on the table in my cottage from a doctor I had seen about 3 weeks prior to this event, stating that I have an alcohol addiction, that he was considering booking me into the psychiatric ward at Helen Joseph hospital and if I carried on drinking, I could become bipolar. So at this point, I had no money, no job and now no place to live because the landlord didn’t want me back living on her property.
Then my sister and my brother in-law invited me into their home, they were like angels on earth sent to save me from certain death. I think if I had carried on the way I was drinking, I am sure within another month or two, my body would have just given up and I probably would not be standing here today. So began my road to recovery. I then went to rehab for 21 days, where I sobered up and learnt a lot about a sober life again. I never had a relationship with God, I only attended church for weddings and funerals, I had never read the bible but I did know about God and Jesus. While I was in rehab, there were bibles in our rooms, every day I would open the bible onto a random page and every time I did this, I would read a verse which was actually going on in my mind, or in my surroundings, it was then that I started to realise that there is a God and he is watching over me. My relationship with our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ has grown so much that I know attend church, I attend a home cell, I read my bible regularly and I pray all the time. It is almost like Jesus is standing next to me, encouraging me, making me feel safe and he is proud of me.
While I was in rehab my sister had found Mighty Wings and our journey started when we attended the empowerment seminar on the 7th of June 2014. I have been clean and sober since the start of my recovery journey. But not without my struggles where I could draw on my group, the lessons and my faith. I enjoyed ERP and the GAP programs but it was when I started the 12 step program, something in me just “said” this is what I am looking for. The denial, the acceptance, the victory, spiritual, amends, hope, inventory, step 4, the whole of the 12 step program was just very powerful. My walk with God and his son, my saviour Lord Jesus Christ has made me a much calmer person on the inside, more understanding and a lot more willing to accept the things I cannot change. My walk and journey with Mighty Wings has been so amazing, I have met so many awesome people, caring, non-judgemental, always encouraging, God fearing human beings, that just want the best for other individuals to succeed and be the best they can be, addiction free, the way our Lord Father God made us and wants us to be. I encourage all recovering addicts to stay on with Mighty Wings after their year program is complete and become part of the Leading Edge team, giving back, watching others, admiring the personal growth each person goes through and the achievements they accomplish. As a Leading Edge member, you give others hope that there is a life after addiction. I am working again but I still living one day at a time, one step at a time.
I would like to end off with Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.
God Bless, Thank you