I would like to share my testimony with you.
I am the first born of three children and had a difficult childhood. I was born with a clubfoot and have a bit of disability because of that but it never kept me from doing what I wanted to. My face has a bit of a deformity but that doesn’t bother me at all. I got married and have two wonderful children, a son of 25, married to a delightful wife and a daughter of 21 who is still studying teaching.
My mother was never a mom in the true sense of the word. Her house was her everything and therefor our relationships with her suffered and were never close. Verbal abuse from her traumatized me as a child. This caused me to lack self-confidence, have a negative self-image and to always yearn to belong somewhere and to be loved and accepted for who I am. My Dad used to try and make up for this but sometimes was unaware of the circumstances at home as he travelled a lot for his work.
When I got married, I started having a drink every now and then, just to relax and socialize, totally acceptable at the time. 14 Years ago this became my comfort zone, a way to escape my realities. I got divorced from my husband and was left with two small children and nowhere to go. Now what?? From the day I finished school I was employed by the same company for 21 years but resigned when my husband got a job in another province. After the divorce I started working again but sporadically drank to escape the pain, rejection and low self-esteem I felt.
My ex-husband and I had shared custody of the children and they went to stay with him because of my drinking. In court it was decided that I could not take proper care of the children.
At the end of 2000 a case of domestic violence was made against me but the charges were dropped when I admitted my drinking problem and agreed to go into rehabilitation. 10 Years and two rehabilitation centers later I was still drinking, nothing seemed to make a difference to me. The drinking became worse, I even contracted alcohol poisoning once, got pulled off by the traffic police while drinking and once ended up in the middle of Soweto because of taking the wrong turn-off. I wrecked my car, was taken to the police station and my brother had to fetch me. Through all of this I was never arrested for drunken driving.
In a drunken state I would sometimes walk into a liquor store, take something and hide it under my coat, walking out casually. Nothing happen to me. My conclusion was that God had an unfinished plan with my life and took care of me. I had to really hit rock bottom before He could finish the work He started in me.
The worst of it was during 2009, when I would drink for weeks on end, would stop, start feeling withdrawal symptoms and realize what damage I was causing to myself and those around me. Especially my father, who was 76 years old, a pensioner and regularly in need of a Cardiologist because of the worries I was causing him. My needs and wants were my only concerns. Today I think that I may have caused my father’s death and did not even realized it in my drunken stupor. This destructive pattern kept repeating itself over and over again.
During November 2009 my family decided to send me off to the rather infamous Noupoort rehabilitation center in the Northern Cape Province. This was a last resort, if this did not work I am going to end up in the gutters or dead. I was stripped of everything, had nothing left, no family, no reputation, no money, nowhere to go, let alone self-image of self-respect of any kind!
I had to pull myself together but realized that I could not do it without the help of God. I had to submit to God, lying flat on my face, begging Him to take me away as I could not see myself surviving at Noupoort.
On the 10th of January 2010 I recommitted my life to God, realizing I never truly had a personal relationship with Him. I was baptized and started a new, closer relationship with my Creator. I finished the year in rehabilitation, God carrying me through it all. Family relationships recovered, my self-worth improved and God gave me a vision of what His plan for the rest of my life was. At first it was a struggle, getting used to the idea of becoming a counselor while I felt as if I could not even council myself into being whole again. I did a second year at Noupoort, as a member of staff.
In 2011 I began studying Pastoral therapy at the Filadelfia Training center in Bloemfontein and passed both years, cum laude, continuing with a BA and Honors degree in Pastoral Counseling. God changed my negative feelings and thoughts into positive deeds. My family relationships are stronger than ever, they forgave me, I forgave myself and I have a new identity in Christ. I have a solid support system, living every day to the full, using every possible opportunity to learn about Christ and to learn to live His characteristics.
On 23 November 2017 I have been sober for 8 years.
As far as possible, I testify to the glory of God and what He did in my life, a miracle healing!
God can change a NOBODY INTO A SOMEBODY!
Love in Christ.
Ansoo du Toit.