With God’s help, Dean Jones triumphs over a terrible start in life.
My addiction started at a very early age. I had my first drink when I was eight years old.
Both my parents were alcoholics and didn’t have the time for us kids, so I had a pretty tough childhood. Because of their drinking, we had to grow and learn without my mum and dad showing us much affection or guidance in my life. I do not blame them; it’s just how it was.
I started drinking like an adult at 12 and by 14 I started smoking pot as well. I always hung around people older than me and would drink whenever I could. By the time I was 14 I was drinking and smoking all the time and ended up in a boys’ home for being an uncontrollable child.
Not long after this the police became a part of my life, and I was caught driving without a licence and under the influence. At 16 I was classified as a chronic alcoholic by a doctor in Newcastle.
My life was already a life of misery and things went downhill very suddenly from then on. I just kept doing the wrong thing and I was finally sent to
jail at 18 for drink driving and driving while disqualified. But I just didn’t learn—I kept offending and was jailed three or four times over the next 10 years. I knew it was wrong and I am not proud of it. It is just how it was for me.
For the next 30 years, drinking was all I ever knew and all I did. Stealing, lying, conning people and doing what I could just to get alcohol was all that mattered to me. It was a very sad existence. I had no respect for myself, no dignity, and didn’t care about myself, the world or anyone in it. Even after going to rehab
I still could not stop drinking.
Then I was told about Dooralong and that it was run by The Salvation Army. They had a 10-month residential program so I called them in December 2015 and was told it could take months to get into the program so I should ring back once a week to keep my name on the list. So that’s what I did.
I arrived at detox on 19 January and went to Dooralong on 28 January, 2016.
When I arrived I was very sick and frightened, and didn’t know what I was in for. But I soon got settled and was welcomed with open arms. ‘Finally,’ I said to myself, ‘it’s going to be all right.’
After about six weeks I surrendered to the Lord, as all my options had run out—it was recovery or death for me. Nothing I did before has helped get me sober and I want to thank Craig Stevens of Dooralong for the inspiration he gave to me during this process.
I now attend chapel at Dooralong and am a member of two churches, Long Jetty and North Lakes in Newcastle. So church and Christianity are the most important parts of my life, and I would tell anyone who thinks all is lost that it’s not over. God has plans for you all. All you have to do is let God help you find out what that plan is.
Giving the Lord a crack came to be the best thing I have ever decided to do in my life and now is the most important part of my recovery. I thank the Salvos for telling me just to be open, and when I did my life changed and the Lord became my friend and Saviour and my life went from misery to miracle. Now I wouldn’t swap it for anything. I love life and other people— and there’s no better feeling on Earth. God bless you all.