Fully Content in God
Mike Dear attends Recovery Church at Thames Corps and shares his journey from addiction to a life with God.
I came from a dysfunctional family in Auckland. I have two sisters and my parents have been divorced since I was four years old. Growing up in my family, there was a lot of physical, mental and emotional abuse. Out of everything, there was mostly abandonment. We were pretty much left to our own devices.
When I was still in primary school, about nine or ten years old, I was state ordered to go to a Catholic school. I didn’t want to go, but the state was adamant that they wanted me to go. So, I ended up attending the Catholic primary school and secondary school. I was the only one in those schools who wasn’t baptised Catholic and came from a dysfunctional family, so I was treated quite differently.
I remember sitting in the dean’s office. Two other people were in trouble along with me. I remember they got two detentions, but I had detentions for a month straight. I overheard the dean saying, ‘He shouldn’t even be in this school. He’s not baptised’. So, I began to have big resentments against God.
My parents taught me that God is punishing and very judgmental. When I was going to the Catholic school, that’s exactly the thoughts I had. I was never really accepted there. That’s what I thought God was like.
In the end, I’d had enough so I started to act out. When I was 13, I was court ordered to move to my nana’s. I thought it would get better, but it didn’t. I didn’t really get a childhood, and when I got moved to Nana’s, I was able to have a break and actually be a child again. But that came out in different ways, and I started taking drugs and getting into trouble. It wasn’t that bad at first but as it progressed and as I got older it got worse and worse.
I was living two different lives. I had a good job, and I was also part of Search and Rescue. On the other hand, I was out selling drugs and taking methamphetamine, and in different gangs. This went on until I was 22 when I had to go to rehab. That’s where I learned about a higher power, but it didn’t click with me then. Looking back, I don’t think God thought I was ready.
I was clean in rehab, but as soon as I got out I relapsed. It got worse and worse. A year and a half later, I hit my absolute rock bottom, and everyone had abandoned me. I don’t blame them. I had abandoned myself and I thought God had abandoned me too. I just felt so alone.
I was completely broken, so it was either do something different or commit suicide. I was teetering on the edge, and if I hadn’t got into another rehab I would have committed suicide. One of the rehabs up in Auckland saved my life. They got me in within two weeks. I came into a very loving, accepting community. It didn’t matter where you’d come from or what you had done, you were just family. You didn’t even have to believe in God to belong. That really stood out for me. The change happened overnight. I started reading the Bible and that’s how I came to know God.
It just hit me. I thought, wow, this is where I’m meant to be’. What I’ve learned is that God has always been there. I just didn’t know it. Everything I’ve ever done was all in his plan. What I ended up having to do was delete what I thought I knew about God. I thought he was quite punishing. I had to physically write it down, ‘delete it’ and then write down everything I wanted God to be. I took God on in my new understanding and it has worked. After that, there was a big spiritual awakening in me. I even got baptised in the church where I went to rehab.
I just clocked over two years clean. My days get better and better. I started going along to Recovery Church at Thames Corps when I moved to Thames. I was living in Hamilton for a while when I first got clean years ago and I went to Recovery Church there. And when I came back to Thames, I discovered a Recovery Church there, so I started going again.
Before finding God, I had this longing for more. Everything was never enough, and I just couldn’t pinpoint it. It was this God-sized hole that I was trying to throw drugs, alcohol, love and affection into. And now that I’ve found God, he’s filled that hole and I’m living a life that’s beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve got a simple life. I’ve got me, my nana and my dog. But I’m content with that. I can sit down now and have serenity, and I have no need for anything.
I’m running a building business and I’ve got some big things going for me, but that’s just a perk. At about four months clean I had nothing. I didn’t even have a car. I had nothing but it was enough even then.
I lost everything in addiction. I lost my family, and I lost over 10 friends who sadly died due to addiction. I lost all my hobbies. But since then, I’ve actually gained a life that is far better and is worth far more.