Gordon’s Testimony

The following article was written by Jill Gallone and printed in the Derby Evening Telegraph on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007

Gordon Glover is 80, a perfect gentleman and a retired chartered quantity surveyor. He is also a recovering alcoholic who used to drink up to 15 bottles of red wine a week.

“In the end, I wasn’t even tasting it” said Gordon. “I was just gulping it down. I drank quality wine. It cost me around £100 a week. The more I drank, the more I was able to drink. The inevitable results were the shakes, foul hangovers and more often than not, forgetting what I had said or done the night before.”

“I gradually realised that I was killing myself. My life was a mess and I had to do something about it. I was existing, not living.”

You don’t have to look far to see why Gordon, an articulate and intelligent man, turned to drink for comfort.

He said “My wife of 51 years has dementia. I cared for her for nine and a half years. I did everything – looked after her, shopped, cooked and ran the home. I began to drink to shut out what was happening. Marjorie was the most amazing thing to me – and still is.”

However, in September 2006, Gordon finally had to take the heartbreaking step of allowing his wife to go into a nursing home, such were the demands of caring for her. He visits her regularly, though she can only hold “a conversation of sorts” with him.

“I take pictures in to show her” he said. The couple have two children and five grand-children.

The pain of losing someone you love, not to death but to an illness that destroys the mind is something many people have to face.

But that is scant comfort to those going through it.

It’s not difficult to see why, after completing the nightly care routine, Gordon looked forward to a glass or two of red wine. It’s just that it turned into a bottle – or two.

“I finally admitted that I had a drink problem in 2004” said Gordon, of Heritage Court, Belper, in Derbyshire, UK. “I was referred to Addaction and completed a 16-week course. That was helpful. I did not drink for eight months and felt that I was cured. But pride goes before a fall and, on a holiday in Majorca, I became so tired of drinking mineral water that I decided the occasional glass of wine would not hurt.”

Gordon was on the slippery slope yet again.

However, towards the end of 2005, he was introduced to Celebrate Recovery.

He said: “I was skeptical at first. I could not believe that you could deal with all types of addiction and issues at one group.”

Tony turner, a pastor at Community Church, Pride Park, went to America to learn from the Celebrate Recovery developers because he realised that so many people were carrying issues like these around with them.

Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step recovery programme similar to the one Alcoholics Anonymous uses, but it is not purely for people with drink problems.” said Tony, of Albert Road, Derby.

“It’s for anyone with hurts, habits or hang-ups.

Through my work at Community Church I began to see that lots of people were suffering and there didn’t seem to be anywhere they could turn to for support. I thought the programme could be really helpful in this country.”

He was right. Tony, who runs Celebrate Recovery with wife Val, helped a handful of people in the first year and numbers gradually grew.

About 50 people were on board when the 2007 programme began this month and that figure is expected to increase.

“We’ve helped 400 people so far and 70 per cent of those people have changed”, said Tony.

“It’s a vehicle which helps them to begin to take responsibility for their own actions.”

The first 30 minutes of a Celebrate Recovery meeting take place in a large group setting but the rest of the evening is spent in small, gender-specific groups. Each group has a leader, who offers ongoing support. Celebrate Recovery meets for 50 weeks of the year; people can join at any time and stay as long as they want.

Gordon is still a regular and has not touched alcohol for 11 months. (Now over 2 years) “It’s an enormous help to hear from other people with similar problems. Even my course leader has dealt with an addiction.”

Along the way, Gordon became a Christian in March 2006 but the course leaders are keen to stress that religious beliefs are not necessary to seek help.

“It is open to anyone,” said Tony.

“It works because people feel that it’s a secure place where they are accepted.”

Celebrate Recovery meets every Wednesday at The Riverside Court, Pride Park, Derby, from 8pm to 9:30pm. All are welcome. The meetings are free. People are just asked to pay £12 for the necessary work books. For more details, call Derby 332044, or e-mail tony.turner@emcf.net.

Original article written by Jill Gallone and printed in the Derby Evening Telegraph on Wednesday, January 17, 2007.