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From the Gutter, to Grace and Gratitude
You may lose hope and think your life is over, but God may have a different plan.

My life had become totally unmanageable and out of control. From my perspective, the obstacles were insurmountable and life was no longer worth living.

Today, as I reflect back, I am filled with an overwhelming gratitude …

Back in January 1998, I had given up on my life primarily due to the ill effects of my alcoholism and cocaine addiction, not to mention the ghastly and embarrassing consequences of my poor choices.

I was 33 years old, single, and lived at home with my mommy and daddy. I was penniless, couldn't hold a job, was stabbed and almost died, acquired a criminal record, and all of my relationships were failing.

In my mind, life was over. But God had a completely different plan.

Today, as I reflect back, I am filled with an overwhelming gratitude for the opportunity that Jesus Christ granted me when I asked Him to be Lord and Saviour of my life.

In the past eight and a half years there have been many trials and tribulations, but also some wonderful blessing. And as I grow in my relationship with the Lord, He reveals how He was using these difficult times as well as my past to mold me into the man He intended me to be.

So why have I been reflecting on the past few years of my life?

On July 3, 2006, God's unfolding plan for my life took two more major steps. On that day, I was honoured to become the director of media, public relations and development for Promise Keepers Canada. And that same day I was overcome with emotion as I stood in the delivery room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where my wife Colleen had just given birth to our third child—Christopher James Allan.

I remember sitting in a chair after all the commotion had subsided, holding my newborn son. I looked up at my sister Ginnie, who was in the delivery room and who was also very well acquainted with my past, and I said to her, my eyes filling with tears, "I have a beautiful wife, two amazing kids (four-year-old Ashley and Brandon, three) and now another blessing from God. And to think that I wanted to end my life just a few years ago."

I know there are many in our communities who for various reasons have become overwhelmed, sad or depressed. Before you know it they lose hope, and some even lose the will to live. God never gave up on me, and when I desperately cried out to Him for help, His unconditional love never failed. While there may be consequences to the choices we make, God has promised to never stop loving us. He was there throughout my abuse, addiction, suicide attempts and was simply waiting for me to genuinely ask for His help and guidance.

Getting well takes plenty of prayer, counseling, and a willingness to change. Personally, I didn't need any more people judging me. What I needed was help. So, when some understandably turned their back on me, others came alongside and helped me walk a new walk.

I've learned a great deal since 1998, and thanks to the good Lord, and those He uses to assist my journey, I continue to learn and grow everyday.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 we read, "God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. We share in the many sufferings of Christ. In the same way, much comfort comes to us through Christ."

Another vital Scripture to me is Romans 5:3-5, which says, "We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts.

No matter what is going on in your life, no matter the situation; stay focused on the Lord, pray and reach out for help. God's love is unconditional.

Glenn Allan hosts Living Clean, a television show designed to assist individuals suffering with addictions and mental health illnesses. Living Clean airs live on Sunday evenings at 11:30 p.m. on CTS TV. Allan also hosts Goodnews Sports. Each week he is joined by professional athletes who share their inspirational stories of faith. Goodnews Sports can be seen each Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. on CTS TV. He can be reached by e-mail at

Originally published in Beacon, September/October 2006.




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