Business owner David thought his after-work drinking was completely normal until he got a wake-up call.
I was a guy who thought, “Well, everyone has a drink when they finish work—that’s normal”, but what started as two nightly drinks turned into four, and eventually into many, many more.
My drinking began to take a serious toll on my wife and children and business and employees—but I couldn’t see it at the time.
Realising that everyone around me thought I had a problem made me decide I should probably try to do something about it. There’s no local detox but I was allowed to detox in hospital close to my family.
Just as I was leaving, the Capricorn Region Salvos were starting a First Step Program (a step-by-step journey of education, intervention and recovery). I got the support I needed through the program, and facilitator Jenny and the then local Salvo officer (minister) Major Colin were inspiring.
The program is fantastic and you get out of it what you put into it. The group becomes like family. The shared meal at the end also plays a massive role and everyone really looks forward to it each week.
There have been many challenges over the past three years, but I just kept pushing forward and have noticed many parts of my life becoming more positive. Things started to change for the better in my marriage and my children were noticing a difference. I am really so grateful they stuck with me.
Eventually, I discovered that I was also starting to help others in their recovery. It felt great that I was able to give back, and I was offered a chance to come on as co-facilitator in the group. That has been fantastic and it has been a privilege to help other people get well.
Despite my previous drinking, I have a Christian faith and come from a Christian family and I can see God’s hand so strongly in my life.
While of course it wasn’t God’s desire that I became an alcoholic he has still used the situation and brought good out of it. I have come to know his love in a very real way and have met people who have helped me to develop as a person.
Through the program I have also been able to share God’s love with others and now have a strong desire to work in recovery—maybe a total career change.
Sometimes it is just a matter of staying in touch with God and asking, “Who do I need to contact?” You pick up the phone, ring someone from the group you haven’t seen for a couple of weeks and just say, “Hey, you’ve been on my heart”.
Often they will say, “Oh man, I’m so glad you rang, I was back into the depths of despair” and suddenly they are encouraged and laughing.
As told to Naomi Singlehurst