For Daniel Betteridge, the promise of new life in Christ is fulfilled every day.
I spent most of my adult life struggling with alcoholism, knowing I had a problem but being unable to fix it. Years after God saved me through The Salvation Army’s Bridge Program, I realised my new life is an answer to the countless prayers of those who loved me.
I didn’t know I was an alcoholic and always thought it was more about willpower. For years I had tried things to fix myself. I’d been to doctors and psychologists and counsellors and tried medication. I also tried hypnotherapy. When they all didn’t work I hit rock bottom.
Going into a communal living rehabilitation was the hardest experience of my life. I was in there thinking, “How did I get to this? How did I end up here? Twenty years ago, this was not where I thought my life would end up.”
Circumstances culminated to a point where I realised the hopelessness of my condition and the help that I needed was not to be found within me; it had to come from a power greater than myself, which is my God. That was about when I reached my lowest point. What I learned was that it’s possible to have faith, but keep God out of your life at the same time. That’s exactly what I had been doing.
I prayed for the first time in a long time and I asked God for help. I gave my life to Jesus and basically said, “I can’t do this on my own, by myself. I need you.”
From there it was a truly amazing experience. I felt like a weight lifted. For the first time in my life, I felt hope. For a hopeless alcoholic, a hopeless drunk, to experience hope, it’s just amazing.
Now, I’ve been given a new life. It’s not the old life ‘polished up’; it’s a brand-new life. My perspective, my thinking, everything is being restored. I’m now married, have two beautiful children, and I’m working for The Salvation Army in roles where I’m helping people. I’m part of something that’s bigger than me. I’m also a part of something where I’m in contact with people who have the same problem as me, so wherever I am able I can share my experience of strength and hope with others.
I’ve had talks with my parents and they’ve said things like, “You know, I’ve been praying for you for so long”, or just friends and family who have mentioned that. I don’t doubt the power of prayer any more. My wife recently found an old journal that contained some prayers she had prayed for me years ago. They’ve all come true.
I cannot thank my wife enough. I put her through hell and yet she never gave up on me. Her faith, in turn, helped me to understand love, which, in turn, helped me to understand how much love Jesus has for me. I believe God placed in my life the perfect wife for me.
There have been so many miracles in my journey. People think of miracles as being all ‘thunder and lightning’ and big things like that, but I think miracles happen every day—you’ve just got to see them.
*As told to Lauren Martin
First appeared in Others magazine