Testimony > Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco

Climbing slowly back towards freedom

Drug addiction” concerns many drugs; Jacqueline explains how she left them all behind her and found real freedom.

It started with just a bar of chocolate when I was 15: anyone with bulimia knows the terror of not being able to taste a small piece of this comfort food without guzzling (there’s no other word for it) the whole block, nor of eating a piece of bread without polishing off the entire loaf…

At school they don’t teach you the intelligence of the heart

I smoked my first cigarette when I was 17: I coughed my lungs up, it was disgusting, but I was in such a bad way that six months later I was smoking two packs a day. I was a nice, well-behaved girl from a school that supposedly created intelligent people. But they didn’t teach you the intelligence of the heart there. The emotional loneliness and despair in the face of such a hostile world were so great that I really had to “get out of it” at any price: first a joint, and later the legendary white powder that makes you think peace can be found in this world, then destroys you. A nightmare of false friends, money hassles, fear of the law...

And then I met a lady who listened to my ceaseless questioning, my fears and desires, and she never judged me, never tired. This was Yvonne Trubert, Invitation to Life’s founder, who invited me round sometimes when I was in town. Through some deep survival instinct (and the force of her prayers, no doubt) I had the courage to quit and get through the appalling withdrawal symptoms. The beast of despair was still there, however, and I thought I could get rid of it with alcohol and medication. One night depression got the better of me and an explosive cocktail of pills and whiskey landed me in hospital.

Prayer is real paradise, not a false one

You no longer wonder whether God exists. You feel Him: He’s there.

And then…God. And me, poor agnostic druggie that I was, Yvonne asked me if I’d be kind enough to join a prayer group. There was nothing else for it: I said yes. From that moment on, I experienced a miraculous, if slow and somewhat erratic, recovery, like a fly bumping towards the light. The extraordinary thing in learning to pray is that you stop wondering whether or not God exists. You feel Him: He’s there. All he asks is for us to be humble enough to accept to start learning. I found in prayer what I had been looking for unsuccessfully in drugs: a real, living paradise, not a false one. At last, life began gently to take on meaning, I began to glimpse the world’s beauty and the love in people around me. I drank my last glass of wine during an IVI pilgrimage in Mexico. A while later, I said goodbye to tobacco as well. At last I was breathing, I felt light as a feather, full of a completely new sense of freedom.