“She just said “get him on the plane, we’ll meet him at the other end and we’ll take care of him. This is what we do.”

I remember calling Karen when I found out about my husband’s alcohol addiction. She just said “get him on the plane, we’ll meet him at the other end and we’ll take care of him. This is what we do.”
I had to stay in Slovakia because we were co-leading a ministry out there, I couldn’t just up and leave. We’d been in the country for 26 years, we’d raised a family there, our lives were there.
Steve didn’t ever decide to become an addict, he slid into it. He’d had various illnesses, struggled through a family crisis and hit a patch of burnout. As a team, we were always giving him space to recover, giving him time, trying to relieve the pressure. What we actually gave him was space to go even deeper into alcoholism.
We would notice strange behaviour. He was unreliable at times, not contactable at others and I would note that he drank too much when we were together. Since I’d never been a drinker myself he would reassure me that it was fine.
Finally, I persuaded him to go to a doctor when we happened to be over in the UK. I had initially asked for a referral for psychological analysis, and thankfully the doctor insisted on starting things with a blood test and physical assessment. I think he probably knew what he was dealing with, but he very gently kind of steered us towards a test which showed serious liver enlargement. It was the kind of damage that was either part of a hereditary condition or as a result of alcohol abuse.
We got the results from the doctor once we were home in Slovakia, and that’s when I called Karen. Steve left and started his recovery from an addiction that he’d hidden very well, and it was the deception that became one of the most difficult things I had to deal with as I came to terms with it all.
For a long time I had turned everything back on myself. I thought it must be me with the problem. Getting the news from the GP lifted a burden from me, as I finally knew it was not something I imagined. It was real.
Always thinking I was seeing a situation wrongly damaged my confidence. Whether consciously or not, Steve had diminished who I was in the course of covering up his addiction. The alcoholism didn’t just harm him, it harmed me too.
As bad as addiction was for us both, I always believed that you can go through anything if you go through it with God. I believed God was loving, was in it with us and had something for us as we went through it. Nearly two years after Steve got on the plane, he’s not only been restored, but is now in a better place than he was, using his gifts in ways that are helping him to help others.
But what is also interesting is how the men he helps have opened his eyes too. As he is mentoring other guys at Walk he sees some of their actions and decisions and it triggers a memory for him about how he was or what he did. That has given us the opportunity to have some healing conversations about my experiences of being with him during his alcoholism.
There is life before and life after something as massive as addiction. It has changed us. Walk has helped us make this new life better than we could have imagined.

Stories of hope and of lives changed

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