I arrived at Bethesda from a treatment centre in Cape Town. I have been in the best facilities and had the best counsellors that my parent’s money could buy. I could not however, get clean. I told myself that I would ‘do’ Bethesda for one month, enjoy the aesthetics of the place, obsess about my weight – things like that and generally give myself a break.
I have now been here over two months at my request and can hardly believe the change even in my mindset. I am actually experiencing an attitude of gratitude, something I had only heard people talk about before.
Some of what I had been taught about addiction came under challenge and I started to feel confused and uncomfortable. What these guys were saying implied that all my knowledge was just theory, and I found lots of new ideas being thrown at me. There was a different structure here. At all the other places I was comfortable to have structure forced upon me. At Bethesda I was offered flexibility and it un-nerved me. It placed the responsibility into my own hands with regard to written work and planning for my future.
Initially I started to see how I could manoeuvre this to my benefit, but soon came under challenge. I was confronted about ‘acting out’, but not so much in a ‘group attack’ as I had been used to. This time I got individual guidance, and was not asked to conform to a regimented structure.
In group we were asked the following question one morning: “How would you feel if each morning and evening you could personally walk with The Lord for fellowship”? Together the group then established that because all our questions would be answered and love would be the seasoning of the day, life would have in-depth significance and security. I sat back thinking “hell no”. I was afraid of the image of being with an all-seeing being, fearful that he would see who I am and all that I have been. I would run, feeling so unworthy.
Colin intimidated me. His conviction and belief were so apparent. I could then see that I had built a wall around myself and that I had never really committed to anything in my life. I was being offered The Word of God in a new way, even for the first time in my life and for once I was out of arguments.
I cannot pin-point the exact moment, it just slowly dawned on me; hey, this God has been working in my life. During the step work, the pain and the shame of it all was actually physical to me. I cringed at the things I had done, but this time, I turned my eyes upwards and begged Jesus to release me.
I had no hidden agendas and I was totally open to this Jesus. As I acknowledged this belief, I handed my heart over to Him. In that moment of anguish and desperation, I received the healing power of Jesus. Today I know that God is working in my life and I am humbled, truly grateful and actually excited about the future. I became hungry for God’s Word, this Good News of Jesus Christ. He spent time with prostitutes and sinners, I am overwhelmed.
The blessings I have received are too numerous to mention, but as a fledgling Christian I am assured and rejoice in His Love and presence in my life. Today I have a picture in my heart of a landing strip with just the one light, right at the end. I, a plane, flying chaotically and waywardly and experiencing extreme turbulence, am trying to land on the straight and narrow ahead of me.
Bethesda is the beacon of light, illuminating my path and guiding me to the landing strip.