I was born in 1970 into a stable family with good parents. Being atheist we did not attend any Church nor I Sunday School. By my teenage years I was suffering from depression and by age 16 started to drink, smoke and take Cannabis. By 17 I was certainly an alcoholic and with Cannabis I found I was hooked from almost the first time I tried it. Coupled with my depression my lifestyle became increasingly erratic although, like many addicts, I was able to hide my addictions from my family. Life was getting increasingly out of control. By I was 19 I was coming to an end of myself – the emptiness of going from one high to another punctuated with deep lows was gnawing at my soul. My life was a mess.
In December 1989 my friends and I were invited to attend a church young people’s group in Glasgow. At first I declined, as did my friends. However, we did decide to go to the meeting, but only to disrupt it. My friends backed out but I still went. Although when I got there I found it to be a pleasant atmosphere and I did not disrupt the meeting after all. I attended a couple more meetings and found my heart warming to both the atmosphere and also what was being taught, even though I did not fully understand it.
I started going to evening services at the church in late December 1989. In the second week of January 1990, after the youth group, the minister gave me a lift home. I asked him what it meant to be born again – I can’t remember the exact words but he explained that we must see that we are sinners before God, who is pure and just, that Jesus Christ is the only one who has satisfied God’s righteous anger towards us because of our sins and it is only God who can change our lives. He gave me a booklet called Journey Into Life by Norman Warren. I read it and became convinced of my sins and I put my faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
There were some ways my life changed immediately but I did not at that time see I was an addict. I started to attend both services on Sundays and the mid-week meeting for prayer and bible study. I also bought a bible to read at home.
After a month or so I woke up and, although I did not hear a voice, it was as if someone said to me ‘it has to be God or the addictions, but it can’t be both.’ By God’s grace I chose God. I cannot say it was a pleasant experience to stop smoking, drinking and taking Cannabis immediately but God helped me through and by His grace I did stop. I don’t pretend to be perfect but I know that God has never let me down, despite my failings.