Freed from Addiction to Gambling, Drinking and Smoking
This testimony is my account of how the Lord set me free from the chains of addiction, and completely turned my life around.
First Steps Before A Fall
I got saved (became a Christian) in 1999 but fell away (left the church) after a few years because I never succeeded in overcoming the flesh; in other words, I struggled with sin and stopped trusting God to change me, which He actually promises He will do for those who trust and obey His word. REVELATION 14:12 –
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” I did love God and in other respects my life was great; I was doing well in my Christian walk but there were underlying problems I didn’t let God help me with.
Compromise and Despising God
Above all, I didn’t let go of my desire for the world. Jesus said that if you are a friend of the world you are an enemy of God because you cannot love both.
“...know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
God says we have to choose Him over the world, and hold on to Him no matter what comes our way. MATTHEW 6:24
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
It is not possible to compromise and walk with God. Either love God, or hold on to the world. I held on to the world, so I automatically started to despise God! I stopped trusting Him, stopped relying upon Him, and eventually left the church.
Addictions Get Out of Control
I offended pretty much everyone in my life with my behaviour
At first life didn’t seem too bad. I was able to hold down a decent job as a plumber, and even went on to get qualified as a heating engineer. I was working for my brother-in-law who was patient with me when I had bad spells with alcohol. At the beginning of this employment my drinking was really bad. I would take days off because I was hung over, or even a week off to recover from injuries sustained while drinking. I spent time in police custody due to drunkenness and offended pretty much everyone in my life with my behaviour. I was still able to build up a relationship with my daughter, and throughout my life for the past 8 years I cherished my relationship with her. She lived with her mother in a different town and I’d only see her at weekends, but quite often I would disappear out of her life for a few weeks at a time because I chose to drink rather than spend time with her. She was a huge part of my life, but eventually my drunken behaviour was to almost destroy my relationship with her. That is another story. I’m only emphasising this to show that even when your addiction is hurting those around you, it isn’t necessarily enough to make you stop. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, and yet my own need to get drunk took priority over her. It is outrageous, and may be impossible for some to understand. Unless one has been an addict and “been there” it is probably impossible to understand the power addiction can have over “normal” behaviour.
Hitting Rock Bottom
A few years after leaving the church I met a nice girl, my life improved somewhat, and my drinking was restricted mainly to weekends. I seemed to have things under control and my relationships within my family were good, but my alcoholism and addiction to gambling were always just under the surface. I wasn’t dealing with them, but rather restraining them. In 2011 I separated from my fiancé and then my drinking and gambling came back with a vengeance. Things got really bad and I started drinking at every opportunity and gambling whenever I could. I attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA). I also had a private counsellor from Addiction Support and Counselling (ASC), who I visited weekly. Nothing worked. My financial desperation spiralled out of control and I was in more debt than I could cope with. I abused every line of credit available to me to fund my gambling habits. This left me feeling depressed, which in turn led me to drink more. My life then got worse when I lost my job. This meant I had a lot more “free” time on my hands which I chose to spend drinking. I gave up the discipline of my routine jogging, and my motivation was deteriorating more and more. I tried setting up my own plumbing business but it was a failure, as I couldn’t keep money in the bank, and I was unreliable.
Remembering God’s Promises
I remembered His promises that if I seek Him I will find Him
During this dark period I felt that God still had His hand in my life, because when I reached rock bottom I knew in my heart that God could turn everything around, if I would only pray and ask Him. I was so ashamed of myself it was very hard to speak to God, but I remembered His promises that if I seek Him I will find Him and if I knock then the door shall be opened to me. MATTHEW 7:7 -
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. I started searching my Bible and crying out to God. I had lost my daughter, my job, my self-respect and more things besides. I seemed to be so lost in my addictions that I did not expect to ever be able to pull myself out of the dark hole I was in, but I still knew that God could help me.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Repenting and Turning Back to God
It was at this point I decided to get back in touch with my friends from the church. The Christian life seemed so far away that I thought it was very unlikely I would manage to change, but I remembered that God CAN and WILL help me if I only ask. Christian friends then prayed in the name of Jesus Christ for my life to be mended and for me to be healed from my addictions. There were no fireworks or ground-breaking earthquakes, but I knew in the depths of my heart that God had heard me, and that He was setting me free. It’s hard to describe. Changes were not instant from one day to the next, but even when I slipped or failed I still felt that - for the first time in five years - I was beginning to get control of my habits. I am now free from any of these addictions, and today I am free from alcohol and free from gambling.
Holy Spirit Cleaning Up My Whole Life
The Holy Spirit has not only freed me from addiction and removed the dark depression from my heart; He’s cleaning up my whole life. My business is doing well, I’m in control of my finances and clearing my debts, my relationships within my family are improving, my friends have been commenting on visible changes in me, and I am actually JOYFUL!!! My depression is GONE, my alcoholism is GONE, my gambling addiction is GONE, and most importantly my feelings of constant guilt are GONE. I AM FREE!!!
2 CORINTHIANS 10:4
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)“
I can promise you that they aren’t too big for God to deal with
Looking back, I now realise that none of the agencies which I had tried for help, like the AA, could work because I wasn’t asking Jesus for help. They may work for some people, and I’m not undermining these organisations as they can, and do, help some people improve their lives, but true healing comes from God. There are many, many more exciting things I have experienced over the past months, and I’d love the chance to share some of them with you. If you are reading this and you have had similar struggles in your life then please get in touch. I believe there are many people like me out there who need help, and encouragement, or maybe just an understanding ear. Whatever your problems are, I can promise you that they aren’t too big for God to deal with. Nothing is too big for God. LUKE 1:37
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Thanks for reading.
In the love of Christ, Brian