After returning to SA, events unfolded that motivated me to step back from church ministry. Feeling I could not handle people’s expectations I grew bitter towards the church and resigned. Guilt that I had failed God consumed me.
An opportunity arose to start a business in the coffee industry. Although I felt my calling was not in business, I promised to use the profit gained to further Gods mission and utilize it for His kingdom.
Having unresolved issues and not being able to forgive myself or others, I turned to the comforts of the world of delusions and got swept up by a whirlwind of success, entertainment and fleeting happiness.
During this time our fourth son was born. I opened a number of coffee shops and experienced great success, although life’s struggles and inner turmoil resurfaced once again. Being under a lot of pressure, constant challenges and time constraints forced my unresolved root issues to surface, restarting my battles once again. At this time I would not face nor get the help that I needed. This brought about a desire to escape and drugs seemed to be the answer to that.
Being exposed to a hard-core substance one evening got me gradually experimenting more and more. Things began to get complicated and problems grew bigger and bigger. Eventually my business failed and my addiction to substances became known to all. The cycle of addiction was filled with denial, unmanageability, guilt and pain. I eventually attempted treatment and recovery but was not willing to surrender my life to God or deal with issues. Substances became a familiar friend, one in which I would turn to in the midst of any storm.
I made numerous attempts at getting treatment and going to various centres in desperation. I made many promises and had the best intentions to recover. Even with the best intentions one can still fail at making healthy choices. This led to continued disappointment, selfish pursuits and destruction from all angles. Not only were my choices killing me but they were killing all those who loved me. My one son became so angry from all the pain that I put the family through that he started to hate me strongly, hating the very ground that I walked on. He did everything in his power to protect his mother and his siblings from me.
The family eventually gave up and my wife, Estelle, divorced me. I was in a long term treatment centre at this time. This is when the penny dropped. I no longer had support, nor did I have any more chances. Reality hit me like never before. The next attempt at Recovery became the real and final turn-around, there was nothing left to lose and repentance seemed sweeter than ever.
I began the journey of surrendering to the will of God for my life and accepted that God had another plan. No longer was I going to do my own things and hold onto the things that set me back. Transformation started to occur and realisation of my true worth in God brought about a turn-around.
God started to restore the relationship I had with Him and then all else began to fall into place. Once I gave up trying to do things my own way I found myself depending on God in a totally new way, for the very first time. I discovered that God’s love endures forever and found freedom from hurts and habits that kept me stuck in my past. Years had passed and my family continued to have reservations but they began to see that the new Peter was a different kind of person and decided to give him a chance.
Tough love and consequences played an important role in getting me to reach the end of myself. I learnt that trust would not be built in a day and that respect needed to be earned. My efforts to bring the pieces together would have been futile if God was not a God of restoration. Changed behaviour and pure desires characterised this new lifestyle of repentance and freedom, living that out with my one and only true Saviour.
Eventually, after many years I remarried the wife of my youth and mother of our four children. God had restored what seemed impossible to man; the family has gained all that they had lost, and more.
Today. Life has shown that there is no short term solution and that faulty beliefs and bad habits develop over a long period of time, and the recovery process takes time and commitment.
16 YEARS OF EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF ADDICTION RECOVERY COUNSELLING
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