The Old Ian
It is incredibly hard for me to remember everything about my childhood, but what does stand out is that my father walked out on my mother when I was just 9 years old. He was to leave me a legacy that I was unable to break for another 40 years – he taught me to gamble.
Gambling became a way of life for me, and as a direct consequence of that, I began to commit crimes to feed my addiction. This lifestyle led to me spending over 18 years in the Criminal Justice System.
My life became a continuous cycle of Gambling, Alcohol and Crime – each one feeding off the other. The times that I spent in prison offered a brief respite from this lifestyle, although my mind remained in complete turmoil.
In 2008, shortly after leaving prison, a lady placed a wooden cross in my hand and in that very moment I felt a indescribable sense of comfort and peace – which I came to understand was the presence of God filling my heart. I gave my life to Jesus at the side of my bed on the 31st March 2010 at 20.45pm and on the 30th May I was baptised at the Vineyard Church.
Although my life was completely changed – gambling still continued to be a struggle for me, and on two occasions between 2011-2012, I fell to the temptation of gambling, leaving me with a significant debt .
It was at a conference in London during 2012 that the Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to me, and called me to “Step into the breach by helping people find freedom from gambling addiction”… I was completely shocked “Why me?”
It has now been over 4 years since that happened, I have not gambled again, and I have also completely paid off the bank loans.
Throughout all this time, I believe the Lord always provided a way out for me, not only through the support of those around me and his inner strength, but also an excess of overtime at work when I needed it most.
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