After 25 years of alcohol addiction, Chris Wood met Jesus when he least expected it during a rehabilitation programme and has never looked back.
Lack of belonging
Despite growing up with everything he could ever need, Chris’s lack of guidance and support from his mostly absent parents led him to feel that he didn’t belong in his family.
“I had a privileged upbringing, went to public school and spent much of my childhood on the tennis courts with my siblings. But by the age of 13, I was already drinking half a litre of gin in the morning.”
Chris spent the next 25 years addicted to alcohol before finding himself at rock bottom walking the streets of the city of Newcastle searching for used cigarette butts. He moved to Yeldall Manor, a Christian-run organisation in Reading providing residential rehabilitation to free men from drug and alcohol addiction. Here his journey to recovery and faith began.
Beginning the journey
“When I joined the Yeldall programme, I thought I knew it all already. But after talking to staff and others on the programme, I began to realise that I didn’t know anything and that there was something missing inside of me, something I had been searching for, and had been trying to fill that hole with my addiction. That something was Jesus. I physically met Jesus when I started going to church halfway through the programme. All the guilt, shame and misery were immediately lifted from me in that wonderful moment.”
The lifesaving impact of the time at Yeldall on Chris and his journey to faith enabled him to rebuild his life and his relationships with his family. Chris now works at Yeldall Manor helping other men who are where he once was, stuck in the cycle of addiction.
Honest, open, vulnerable
“God gives me the words and confidence in myself to speak to people in difficult and tragic situations. Without him I couldn’t do what I do now, being honest, open and vulnerable. I know what that feels like to be where they are, so treating people with total respect and dignity who have often never received it and helping them to feel loved and to reconnect with their families is such a privilege.”
“I’m still on that journey of faith and I struggle sometimes, just like everyone. I’m not very good at praying and I’m bad at making time to read the Bible but I see God at work in my life every single day. I see him perform miracles and transform the lives of the people I work with every day. He’s always there and I don’t need to chase him. I feel and know that I am loved by God. I find that life is fun now!”
Bishop Steven visited Yeldall Manor on a recent visit to the Sonning Deanery. Read more about his meeting with Chris and Chief Executive Treflyn Lloyd-Roberts.