By Martin Jim McFadden
On the 29th September 1993, I finally admitted to myself that I needed
professional help and medical assistance to help ease the pain and the
horrors that awaited me. I had made the firm decision to quit drinking
and detox and I knew I was in for a rough period. I was just surviving
each day by keeping topped up with alcohol but the horrors were
becoming unbearable. I would imagine the ceiling was bursting with a
waterfall coming down drowning me. I would run to the next room to
escape and within seconds I would have the same frightening
experience. I was also constantly hearing voices in my head of people
coming to kill me. Every single thought that came to my mind troubled
and worried me greatly. With this in mind, I signed myself into our
local psychiatric hospital. While recovering there I was visited by an
alcohol addiction counselor and I agreed on my discharge I would
attend a six-week course on alcohol addiction. The treatment center
was a half hour drive from my home. I didn’t have my own car at this
time but a local woman who was traveling into town with her work
offered me a lift each day. The counselor strongly recommended I
start attending AA meetings immediately but I declined.
The testimony of the Venerable Matt Talbot also really inspired me.
Matt Talbot was born in Dublin on 2nd May 1856 and died on 7th June
1925 on his way to Mass. In his early teenage years, Matt became an
alcoholic, but at the age of twenty-eight he took the pledge and
managed to remain sober for the next forty-one years of his life. Matt
devoted his life of sobriety to prayer, penance and great acts of
charity. Pope Paul VI declared him ‘Venerable’ on 3rd October 1975 and
he only requires two miracles for beatification. The tomb of the
Venerable Matt Talbot is located in Our Lady of Lourdes church, Sean
McDermott Street, Dublin.
After some years of sobriety, I started taking my recovery for granted.
I had fallen away from my commitment to prayer and the demons started
coming back to haunt me. After eight years of sobriety, I went back
drinking and back to the hell and the horrors I thought I had escaped
from. Liz my wife was my rock and stood by me. At Liz’s request, I went
with her to a healing Priest. Fr William Rafferty presented me with a
pair of Rosary beads and said if I prayed a Rosary daily that I would
never look back. This resulted in me experiencing a beautiful
conversion and I finally made my peace with God. The cravings I had
for alcohol disappeared.
We also have many professional and reputable addiction treatment and
recovery centers here throughout Ireland. I am just going to list a
few that I am familiar with in my native Donegal.
The Friends of Bill W Club, founded by my namesake and friend Martin
McFadden (no relation) opened its doors for the first time on 3rd May
Below is text taken from its website with permission from Martin McFadden.
The warm and hospitable welcome offered on arrival adds greatly to the
relaxed coffee shop atmosphere of the Club. The diversity of people
using the Club represents and reflects many of the problems and
addictions which the people of Donegal are now experiencing.
Current statistics for the Club show us that the age range of people
using the facility runs from 19 upwards with gender slightly favouring
males. Geographical spread is very interesting and encompasses most if
not all of Co. Donegal. On average 15 people per day sign in on the
Conscious of people’s right to privacy and anonymity we respect those
who choose not to sign the register. Testimonies to date of some of
the people using the club would suggest that the Friends of Bill W
Club has brought about some very significant and in some cases
lifesaving changes for them.
Active addiction adversely affects on average 12 other people who are
in close proximity to that person, likewise, recovery can be equally as
contagious. Concerned others, family, friends, and employers alike have
all experienced the benefits of the clubs activities to date.
We also have the Cross-Border Friends of Cuan Mhuire – Ballybofey, Co Donegal.
White Oaks Addiction Treatment & Rehab Centre – Muff, Co Donegal.
Some years ago a friend also in recovery suggested we should offer up
our sobriety in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On the 9th November 2014, I became a member of The Pioneer Total
Abstinence Association of The Sacred Heart.
As a member, the short prayer below is suggested to be recited each
morning and night.
‘’For Thy greater glory and consolation, O Sacred Heart of Jesus; for
Thy sake to give good example, to practice self-denial, to make
reparation to Thee for the sins of intemperance, and for the
conversion of excessive drinkers, I will abstain for life from all
I am now into my 12th year of sobriety, enjoying and looking forward
to the journey ahead.
If I can achieve and maintain sobriety, anyone can…
If you require any more detail on above please let me know and I will
be happy to assist.
An Alcoholics Recovery
May 3rd’ 1963, is an important day for me
Because that’s the day that I was born, a real character to be
I believed in Santa, I believed in Ghosts, I believed in Fairies too
The facts of life, the trouble, and strife, sure I didn’t have a clue
The games we played at national school were a far cry from today
Hide and Seek, Hounds and Hares, and Marbles we used to play
Back then, teachers could slap their pupils; I thought it was an awful shame
When I talked with former classmates, their feelings were the same.
I left before my term was up, and swore ‘’no more education for me’’
I went and got myself a job, I was as happy as could be
My job description was washing pots, in a very busy hotel
The work was hard, the pay was bad, it was tough going I could tell.
Four years later I got promoted, sent to the front hall with a dickey-bow
Although better dressed, I was still under pressure, I was always on the go
But my new career came to a sudden end, when I got the bloody sack
The boss he let a roar at me, ‘’get out Jim and don’t come back’’
I was feeling glad instead of sad; my boss had made my day
I was able then to claim the dole which matched my measly pay.
I was happy then to doss about, I was carefree as could be
Because I had the best parents in the world, who were always there for me
It was around this time I started drinking, the old bottle took
complete control of me
I drank, I drank, I could never get enough, I was an alcoholic you see
I was also very wild back then; I would fight at the drop of a hat
The guards and the law came after me, and say’s ‘we will soon put an end to that
I smashed up cars, I smashed up bars, I was as unpredictable as could be
The publicans didn’t want to see me coming, so they sent solicitors
letters, barring me.
In 1986 I was in an accident, I almost lost my life
Somehow I survived against all the odds, but went straight back to my
life of strife
In 1990 I received a cheque, for 90,000 pounds
It was a lot of money if you had sense, but too much for a clown
I went off on a continuous bender, the world I had to see
But it was just one siege after another as trouble followed me
I pissed on trains; I pissed on planes, from those mishaps I could walk away
But many’s a time I pissed my bed, and there I had to stay
I slept in cars, I slept in bars and I slept on park benches too
But many a night I tossed and turned, in the horrors and didn’t know
what I could do
An alcoholic’s life is one of sadness; sure it was no different for me
My father had died, I was too drunk to know, the regret was killing me.
I knew then I had to get sober, I couldn’t go on living this way
Even though I knew I had a struggle ahead, I still decided against AA
I was given a list of meetings; a friend offered to take me there
I thanked him for his kindness, but said ‘I would put my trust in prayer’
I started off on this beautiful journey with my Rosary beads in my hand
The happiness that followed, one with faith will understand.
God, you have answered all my prayers, I treasure every moment of this life
Thank You God for keeping me sober, and for the gift of my beautiful wife
Liz, you are my Guardian Angel, Liz, you mean everything to me
I love you Liz, I love you God, the power of prayer is plain to see.
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Martin Jim McFadden
Martin Jim McFadden
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