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Rescued from a life of drink and cocaine

December 2021 | by Mrs Yvonne Edwards

Yvonne Edwards
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By August 1995 my attempts to run my own life in my own way and under the guise of my own very fluid moral code had landed me in hospital hopelessly and helplessly ruled by alcohol and cocaine.

Things had started so well. I’d been born into a loving, stable family and received a very good education which opened the door to many opportunities. I worked hard and enjoyed my career for many years.

I had married a kind, gentle, honest, hardworking man, and we had three beautiful children. But from my teens to mid-thirties, alcohol and drugs had subtly and gradually taken on increasing importance.

Looking in from the outside, all appeared well and even successful. A loving husband and children, a large home in the suburbs, cars, holidays, disposable income. As a wise lady once said to me, the ‘shop window’ looked good, but what was going on in the stock room?!

Scratch the surface and you would find a very loyal husband trying to hold me and our home together, constantly covering up and making excuses for my appalling drunken behaviour, unpredictability, and unreliability.

During my thirties I had every type of intervention available: numerous trips to the doctor, relapse prevention, talking therapies, and on and on. Always, after brief intervals of sobriety in which my family’s hope would be renewed, I would drink again.

My neighbour was a retired Christian minister. He would kindly visit, leave me little books and leaflets (which remained very much unread), and also talk to me (I didn’t listen).

Anybody who tried to speak of God was summarily dismissed – my atheistic belief system left me unwilling and unable to entertain the idea of God. My childhood encounter with ‘religion’ had rendered me stony-hearted.

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I’d always been driven by a wild optimism and zest and enthusiasm for life – a real Type A personality with great self-belief in my ability to overcome life’s hurdles and obstacles.

I had travelled and lived overseas in my early twenties, made friends easily (although didn’t always manage to sustain these friendships due to my increasingly bad behaviour). I had a phoenix-like ability to rise and rebuild from one self-imposed crisis to another.

I met my husband-to-be in my late twenties, and, having fallen in love, I had no doubt I could put my hedonistic and wild past behind me, settle down, and be a good wife and mother. I was wrong.

In fact, my drinking increased and I steadily spiralled into an at-home drinker, hiding my bottles, lying to my husband, and attempting to maintain a veneer of respectability.

The optimism and enthusiasm of my earlier days evaporated and I was left with an impending sense of hopelessness and futility – the fight had gone out of me and I was resigned to drinking myself to death. How dark it was!

I had a deep love and affection for my husband and my dear children, but even this was insufficient to stop me drinking.

At the end of August 1995 I was admitted to hospital very underweight and with an enlarged liver which rendered me a strange hue of yellow. After a few days free from alcohol and cocaine, I began to feel a little better and was allowed to walk in the grounds of the hospital which were very peaceful.

I knew in my heart I was the author of my own downfall and did not blame anybody else. But I also knew from past experiences that it was inevitable I would drink again, no matter how deep was my desire not to.

I returned to my room and opened the bedside drawer looking for something to read, hopeful I might find a glossy fashion or beauty magazine. I found a Bible.

I’d seen a Bible before and remembered reading Bible stories at school – Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Moses, Jesus’s birth (Christmas nativity) and his death (at Easter). I’d consigned it all to the box marked ‘myth and fable’.

However, I fanned through the pages and stopped at a story in Luke’s Gospel. I began to read of Jesus dining with a Pharisee (Luke 7:36 and onwards).

As I read the words, ‘A woman in the town who led a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume,’ I was overwhelmed by the knowledge and dread of myself as a sinner. I suddenly realised that was what was wrong with me.

I was overcome by great sorrow. I knelt by my bed weeping, and continued to read through the story of Jesus’s encounter with this sinful woman. I realised that God had made me and I had spent all my life turning my back on him. My grief was so heavy and I cried and cried, saying, Please, please forgive me.

As I read this short story, I saw that Jesus forgave the sinful woman and I began to sense his forgiveness and love for me. At that moment in time my life was eternally changed. The peace of God entered my heart, mind, and soul.

As the night came, I was talking to God and asking him not to be gone in the morning, pleading with him not to leave me. I felt fearful of sleep, but I slept peacefully and soundly.

God was there in the morning, and he has been there every day and night ever since. Some 26 years have passed and God has been faithful to his promise to never leave nor forsake me.

I went home to my family as a Christian wife, mother, and daughter, sober and with a heart thankful to God for his amazing love. I joined a local church and was baptised in November 1996.

The wonderful gift of being sober, the desire for alcohol and drugs completely removed, pales into insignificance when I reflect on the vast forgiveness of God and the price my dear Saviour paid at Calvary ‘to save a wretch like me’. This is the true miracle of a sinful woman forgiven by God.