BY DAVE OAKLEY, GUEST WRITER.
SO MUCH FUN
It is fun to experiment when we are young. We feel adult, in control of our life. We feel we can take on the world, life seems so exciting.
The taste of alcohol and the euphoria it brings is very fun and pleasurable and so we indulge and an addiction is born. The addiction grows until we are its servant, trapped, our life is down the gurgler.
The same goes for addiction to drugs. First the experiment, then enjoyment, then continuing the enjoyment, then the trap is sprung and addiction has us in its grip.
How to break the power of addiction?
David Oakley found the way. The way is Jesus, Jesus is the addiction defeater.
'You're a drunk, mate, an alcoholic, ‘Kevin said, one of two guys in Perth, with whom I shared a room. He was right, of course. My life was out of control with drinking, I was living to drink and drinking to live. Alcohol told me where to go, what to do and who to mix with. Initially promising heaven drink had instead led me to the gates of a living hell.
Kevin’s voice and words held no weight nor had the power to break through the alcoholic daze I found myself in. God’s voice and words could and did.
OLD HABITS DIE HARD
It was a year later. I'd just spent three weeks in a Mental Health Facility in Melbourne after hallucinating on a Pioneer Coach coming south from Brisbane. I now felt good. Three weeks dry, full of good food and counsel. I felt like things were looking up for the first time in years.
I decided to carry on to Adelaide and control the drinking. Maybe even look up my first wife who had left me three years earlier after just nine months of marriage. I found a room in Kent Town and a job in a foundry and started afresh. Old habits die hard.
I was soon drinking more and more, before work, during work, straight to the pub after work, Saturdays and Sundays. The inevitable happened. A Saturday, Sunday session flowed through to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I came to myself looking into the mirror behind the front bar of the Botanic Hotel, here in Adelaide. I think it was a Thursday.
I was a mess, my hair was dirty and uncombed, my eyes were wild, staring and bloodshot, my skin was a pasty colour with large red blotches where my blood pressure level was through the roof. My clothes were stained and smelling. I was shaking uncontrollably internally and externally. Unable to hold the drink in front of me, I had to lap it like a dog. I felt totally lost and alone, no hope and nowhere to turn.
It was quiet in the bar, no barmen and no customers, then I heard a voice, I believed then and now it was the voice of God.
‘Dave, if you don’t stop drinking you will be dead within the year and in hell.’
That freaked me out, I left the drink, left the bar and went back to my room. Locked the door and lay on the bed, fearful and exhausted. One hour, two hours, I don’t know, but I began to see monstrous bats flying through the door, the walls, the windows, coming for me. I was terrified to my core and screamed out, ‘God help me.’ I found the strength and courage to get off the bed and out of the room and ran terrified through the streets of Kent Town.
I ended up in St Anthony’s Hospital in St Peters suburb. Three weeks later into the program I was given a day pass, I was sober, felt good and confident to control the drinking.
I had dismissed the voice I heard as another figment of my drunken imagination and set out to prove it. I went back to the Botanic, sat at the bar and ordered a drink. I thought as I took the first sip, this is good, another drink won’t hurt, no one at the Hospital will know. Maybe a third, I’m in control. Alcohol was refastening it grip upon me once again.
Once more, it was quiet in the bar and I was on my own, when I heard ‘that voice’. The voice spoke with authority and certainly, ‘Dave, you have been warned, if you don’t stop drinking you will be dead within the year and then in hell.’
This time I put down the drink and walked out of the bar and by the grace of God have not had another in forty-three years.
NEW THINGS HAVE COME
About this time, I met my now wife. Doreen took me to Bethesda, a church on Marion Road. The message was based on 2 Corinthians 5: 17, 'Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creature. The old things passed away behold new things have come.’
That was what I wanted, what I needed I responded to the altar call the preacher made. Led by the Spirit of God, I walked away from the sin, the guilt, the shame my drinking had led me to and away from the gates of hell and through the gate that leads to heaven and Eternal Life – the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are reading this and find yourself bound, shackled and held captive by addiction my prayer for you is that you would be set free by the power of God and the Name of Jesus.