63 – We are family (2020)

Gary, me, Yvonne, Darrin and Neil

Hearing what others think of your writing is full of mixed emotions. Anyone that takes the time always gets my respect, even if their criticism of negative, it is appreciated.

As many of you know, I put some rambling memories of my past into a book form – “Completing the Tenner” and have sold/ distributed probably around 500 copies.

I’ve been encouraged that it has evoked nostalgia and memory trips of the GOOD Easterhouse, the place of community and family. Where the neighbours always had a piece for you if no one was at home. ]

TV was mostly off as the real drama took place on the streets outside and was best viewed in Ultra High 3D Definition (mostly from behind the curtain).

I’ve loved talking with people near and far, and I’ve been blessed by those that have received hope for their own through how Christ stepped in and rescued me from addiction – He is more than able you know.

But family feedback – that’s different. Feedback from those closest to me that had not just live through my addiction – but bear the consequences – that I feared.

The first time a family member really connected with me was probably everyone’s favourite nephew, James, and him telling me how he read my (at that time blog post) Bite Size out to my sister -his mum, and being in fits of laughter.

But the more serious side, the reality of having an addict in the family, still raw. Still to real for all the damage done in those days. I know, I am forgiven by God and by my family, but as many of you know – memories can creep up on you like a predator, looking for an opportune moment, and pack real BITE when you least expect it

Yesterday, I was doing some research for a uni class, and went scouring my messages – (I am doing a PHD in procrastination after all),  and discovered a message from my youngest brother, Neil. Neil was in his escape hole in Gairloch in the north of Scotland. The content of it was really personal and REALLY emotional. It was meant for me and me alone. However, I felt the bigger picture of the message – the hope it conveys for families with a loved one caught in addiction – was worth sharing.

I asked Neil for permission to share publicly what he meant for me privately.

“Why?” I hear you ask.

Read the message and then I’ll answer:

Gary, Neil, me and Darrin at Tracy and my wedding, Dublin 2001

Wednesday 11/11/20

Hello brother, after all my moaning at you to give me a copy of your book, that’s me just got round to reading it. I had picked it up several times but never managed more than a few pages before something got in the road. I’m not a great reader. Don’t have the patience and never make the time but knew I’d make the time one day, when it was meant to be.

Anyway, I’ve escaped to my wee happy place at the wee cottage up near Gairloch. (You’ll need to come sometime) With no mobile signal, no WiFi and no distractions. With only a log burner and the local radio station playing some old country music for company.

I started reading your book yesterday and couldn’t put it down. It took me back to the good old (bad) days. Could see most of it play out before me, almost as if I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. Got to page 100 last night and finished it tonight.

I laughed and cried and cried a bit more.

I think about my ma, my da & John nearly every day but very rarely get emotional. Think I had tears reading every chapter tonight

We’ve never really spoke about how I felt growing up with an addict as a brother and all the issues that came with it. Suppose it was just another hurdle that I got used to and it became ‘my normal’.

Maybe one day we will but what I know is, as messed up as it was, it has made me a better person. more understanding, less judgemental. Everyone has a story. None of us are perfect. I’m proud of where I come from and my family.

I was so happy when you went to re-hab. Not because it meant you couldn’t steal my things anymore I don’t think I ever cared much about all of that. Suppose I’ve never been materialistic But because of how happy it made my Ma’. Every step of your journey made her more proud. I think she could finally rest.

I don’t forget where you have come from and want you to know I’m proud of you. It could be so different and I don’t take any of it for granted. Stupid things like a coffee before the football with my big brother, mean a lot. More than you’d think. You should be proud as well. Keep doing what you are doing because you are making a difference.

Love you brother

Well, even though it is very personal, it’s also a tremendous insight to life beyond addiction – FOR the family.

If you are a mum out there with a son/daughter lost in the wilderness – hang on to Jesus and hang on to hope.

If you are a brother /sister -fed up with the carnage – grab Christ’s courage and hang on to hope.

A child pained by a parent imprisoned by drugs – Christ holds the keys to their soul’s freedom, hang on to hope.

Jesus made the difference in my life and allowed my mum the pride that you will see in Neil’s comment.

I spend a fair bit of timer with my siblings just now. We enjoy each other’s company. We can take each other’s moans. For some this is normal, but for is it took years and a miracle from heaven for me to be able to enjoy anyone’s company. As well as my own brothers and sister, I would also say that I enjoy a good bond with Tracy’s brother and sister, and their partners (nieces and nephews not so much haha).

Anyway, for my wee brother to take the time to send me this, especially considering how honest it is means the world.

I’ll finish with this – get to know how much God loves you through Christ – its both more than you think and not what you think. It might juts be the bridge builder to your own family that you need.

Wee brother I love you. So grateful for who you are and thank you.

This POST is part of a wider collection to show the journey that would eventually lead me to the cross of Jesus Christ, my personal redemption, and my journey of faith afterwards. If you would like to know more of my story, please click on my “About” page and take it from there.

Alternatively, you can visit the Media Links page and see a short visit done by BBC Radio Scotland for an interview I did there.

I have now released an early edition of my story, Completing the Tenner

I have also published two poem books: Simply Jesus  and Five Weeks in May

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FWIM Cover_New_cropped_Kindle_version

You can purchase these direct from Amazon (please use Amazon Smile link below and Amazon will contribute to ECC at no cost to you), They are all available in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

Or you can buy directly from me. Email me directly to arrange this.

There is now a devotional aimed at new Christians called “Take a seat this is available direct from me.

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If you or someone you love, needs help with the Christian response to addiction, or if you would just like to know more or need hope, please click on one of the following:

The Haven
Teen Challenge Strathclyde
Teen Challenge UK
Teen Challenge Global
Street Connect
Bethany Christian Trust
Jumping Jacks Outreach
Cornerstone Assemblies of God, Maryland
Broken Chains Ayr
Easterhouse Community Church
Stuart Patterson

Shop through Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate 0.5% to Easterhouse Community Church, costing you nothing.

Alternatively, you can donate to the work of Easterhouse Community Church via PayPal


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