After hitting rock bottom, Dez from Scotland asked God not to let him die.
This started a journey which led him to Alpha.
I was in retail by day and a nightclub bouncer by night. However, I only took these jobs to feed my cocaine addiction. It was a violent scene and as a bouncer pretty much anything went. I would stand on the door and get abuse after abuse. I’d have pizzas hurled at me by people who I wouldn’t let into a club because they were too drunk.
There was a lot of banter between the bouncers at the night club. The mentality was to push each other to be funnier, stronger, faster and more aggressive. It was normal for someone to boast about how they could knock someone out and not get caught on camera. This resulted in my life being a strange mix of punching people in the face and waking up in local parks.
This violence drove me to take more and more drink and drugs to feel okay again. It was a vicious circle and I lost my way. One night, when it had all became too much, I found myself alone and I overdosed.
However, in that moment, I shouted out a prayer. I didn’t want to die.
The next day I woke up and felt like I never wanted to touch cocaine again. In my self-obsessed nature I just put this down to my own strength. But something was different.
I kept meeting Christians, which in my line of work was quite weird in itself. There was one woman, Fiona, who was on the staff at the store I worked in during the day. She mentioned that she was a Christian and it really interested me. I mercilessly tortured her with questions.
Instead of getting annoyed, she bought me a Bible and suggested I tried reading it. I started to like her and asked her on a few dates which she persistently said no to.
Fiona lived out her faith according to this book, the Bible, and I figured that somewhere inside it I could find an argument for us to date. As I read it, I began to realise that God had been moving in my life: through overcoming my cocaine habit, the people I had met and the Bible.
That’s when I asked Fiona to take me along to church with her. Before that I had never really been to church. I didn’t know what to expect. My one memory of church was melting my new boots to one of the heaters under the pews.
I went along and heard that Alpha was starting. I had nothing to lose and so decided to check it out.
“There was a real sense of family that developed in our group. It was amazing.”
My first thought was how everyone made me feel so welcome. It was great to meet other people asking the same kinds of questions I had and it allowed me to start really thinking about faith. How could I be forgiven for all the things that I had done? Why would God forgive someone like me? As we all became friends over the weeks, there was a real sense of family that developed in our group. It was amazing. We shared meals and laughed during the discussions which really brought us together. These people profoundly changed my outlook on Christians with the message of Jesus they shared.
Alpha showed me what Christianity actually means. It turned the questions I had about whether God exists into a belief that God cares about me.
I have changed from a violent, loveless drug addict to a man who is happily married and full of love. Fiona and I got married and we are expecting a baby. I’m now running Alphas for many different types of people, from gangs to grannies, and I’m seeing their lives changed. It feels as though every day is a new adventure.
Alpha is an opportunity to explore life, faith and God in a friendly, open and informal environment.