In my previous post I was saying how lonely and bitter I became. Except for the necessary interaction with others, I became a recluse for the most part, and even now I still have that tendency to want to withdraw when life gets too painful – which it often can. Some use alcohol or drugs – my addiction has always been food, the sin called gluttony. I use it to stuff my feelings down so I don’t have to face them. I’m aware the Lord could help me with this if I trusted Him more, but as yet I do not.
In any case, on with my story. During these years I developed a bad nervous condition and was put on a drug called Serapax, much akin to Valium, and over a period of time became addicted. At the time I realized I had a problem I was sharing a house with another guy, and it became evident that that he was an alcoholic. After a couple of incidents of shared money being used for his drinking I managed to get him to go and get help at a drug and alcohol treatment centre called Holyoake. I had myself already been going there for help for myself. After a couple of weeks of going there I was told by one of the facilitators to ‘get off the fence’ and make up my mind whether I wanted to get off the drug or not, otherwise get out and make room for someone who did want to. I went home that night angry and resentful and struggled with myself till 2 am. But I came away from that with a determination to do whatever it took. Now here’s the amazing power, grace and mercy of our Lord. From that time I completely lost the urge to take the drug. The urge was taken; just like that [snaps fingers]. For the next 3 weeks as my emotions (which had been suppressed by the drug) returned, I was like a bear with a sore head and very difficult to be around. Fortunately, the guy I was sharing the house with also got sober.
It was not long after that I shifted into a place on my own, and what a blessed relief that was. I should probably back up a little here and say that not too long before I stopped living in boarding houses (got tired of living in tiny rooms in which a cat didn’t have room to swing a mouse) I got interested in CB radio, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Because I was able to start talking with people and making friendships over the airwaves, it caused me to be able to gradually start to trust people a little again. A married couple I got talking to from time to time ended being a couple of the best friends I had at that time – a friendship that lasted several years. In the end though they shifted back to the other side of Australia and I lost contact with them. So over a period of some time my emotional health started to return. Also during that time my sister had moved east, met a good man and got married and had five children. My parents went over to visit and fell in love with the Queensland country and decided to move over there to live. As they found a place to buy in the same town my sister lived it worked out well for them.
Anyway, after moving into my own apartment (flats or units they’re usually called here) I was for many years a truckie. Nothing as big as a semi-trailer big rig, it was just doing delivery work mainly. So, several years ago now, I was rung by a relative on a Friday night with the bald statement that my sister had just been killed in a car accident. I don’t remember much of that evening except for about 15 minutes walking around in a circle repeating to myself “This can’t be true, this can’t be true!” I knew I was going to lose it, and so called my dear friend who I’ve now known for over 20 years asking her to come over, which she did with all speed. She can never know the help she was that evening. I was very close to my sister and this happening knocked me backside over teakettle. The remainder of the weekend was a fog. My employer of the time was very kind in helping me get over there to Queensland in a hurry by plane. From the time I got the news until I arrived in the town in Queensland the next Tuesday I did not sleep, and so when I got there I slept the sleep of exhaustion on a bare mattress in my nephews place. One of things that blew me away at her funeral was just how many people attended from around the area. She was a believer and had for many years been quietly doing well for may people. So many came up and told me of the help she had been to them. There was at least 500 people attended the funeral.
Upon returning to Perth and resuming my job, things started to go downhill. By the end of the next year I had had enough of the job which had got to the point of me driving all day with lunch being a sandwich or some such in one hand and the steering wheel in the other. Non-stop in other words for often 10 hours a day. That might not seem a huge amount of overtime, but as any truckie can tell you, that type of work is very stressful. Anyway our manager, who was a Richard Cranium of the first order, came over to see me one day and started hopping in to me over something trivial, and pressed the wrong button and I lost it, giving him a month’s notice. When I left there I walked away literally not looking back. From there I quickly slid into depression, which I saw later had been a long time coming after my sister’s death as I had never allowed myself to fully grieve. I was in no fit state to work, so a local doctor got me put on sickness benefits for 6 months, allowing me time to get help for not only for my mental state but also the ‘frozen’ shoulder condition I had developed on that job.
Well, it’s late at night and I’m out of puff, so this is to be continued soon.