My name is Ross McIntyre,I’m 36 years old and I was born in Livingston,West Lothian and raised on a council estate. I grew up as an only child and had a fantastic childhood and have two very loving parents whom I still have a fantastic relationship with.
I went through primary school with no problems at all. I was the cheeky but lovable class joker. I never got out of control though and always had a respect for My teachers and elders. Once I went to high school in 1993,things began to change.
By the time I was in 3rd year at High School at the age of 14 I was starting to experiment with alcohol and cannabis. This became a regular occurrence every weekend. It was the alcohol though that I really took to. It was at this point in my life that depression started creeping into my life and feelings of not being good enough.
As time passed my schooling suffered as I was playing truant and getting up to no good with my friends. Even at this young age I was a greedy drinker and that would continue with me into adulthood. One beer was too much and twenty wasn’t enough!
By the time I was 16 I had left school and started working in a biscuit factory. My week consisted of looking forward to the weekend,getting paid and going out and drinking with my friends. My parents were really starting to get worried and upset at my behaviour and life I was leading and the road my life was going down.
I remember my Dad putting the idea of The Royal Air Force into my head as an opportunity to do something with my life. I honestly did not enjoy the life I was leading and the dead end job I was in,so I applied to The Royal Air Force and passed the tests and was accepted. I went in as a Mechanical Transport Driver.
I spent 3 years in The Royal Air Force and in the forces at that time there was a big drinking culture. I took to this more than my actual trade. This was the start of my downfall with alcohol. Once I left the forces I became extremely depressed again so I would just drink more at the weekends. This was to be the pattern of my life for the next 6 years.
A few months after leaving the forces I met my future wife. She could party just as hard as myself and we got it off straight away. The first six months were just a big party and as well as just alcohol,ecstasy,cocaine and amphetamines had become part of my weekend ritual. Of course the depression once coming down from all this just caused more feelings of worthlessness and now anxiety.
I never let anyone see how I was feeling though. I always had a mask on as the happy go lucky life and soul of the party. Inside I was in turmoil as I couldn’t understand why I seemed to need all these substances to block out reality. Six months on after meeting my future wife we found out she was pregnant. I was over the moon then reality hit. I couldn’t loom after myself never mind a baby!
My son came along in June 2003. I was 21 now,had a family,2 cars and a mortgage and a lot of responsibility. I couldn’t handle it and continued drinking like I always had. This caused major problem.s in my relationship and we separated. My fiancee went to live in a flat with my son after we sold our house and I went back to my parents.
A month after separating we found out we were going to be parents again. So here I was with another child on the way and ideas the biggest child of them all. Our second son came along in July 2006. I was still drinking but was trying at this point to sort myself out and get sober. I would however fall off the wagon at times and disappear for a couple of days and end up in a drink and drugs fuelled haze.
The turning point in my life came as the result of a tragic accident. In January 2007 I was at a party with a few friends. Once the party fizzled out,a friend and I decided to go and visit some people I knew in the Scottish borders some 50 to 60 miles away from Livingston. We arrived there and nobody was in. We decided to turn around and head home.
On the way home we got lost. The weather was really dark,wet and foggy. On approaching a junction in the road I was unaware of this due to the weather conditions. I drove straight through the junction and hit a large tree. My friend died instantly. I broke my neck and also died but was revived by paramedics at the scene.
I was air lifted to The Southern General Hospital in Glasgow. I remember going round and hearing my Dad’s voice. My future wife was there too even though we had separated. The doctors told me not to move as I had broken my neck. I just remember lying there with a neck brace on and drifting in and out of consciousness. The next few days were just a blur.
It was about 3 days after the accident that I learned of my friends death. My heart sank and I immediately thought of his family and especially his Mum. Even though I didn’t know her I though of her straight away. This was when the real battle in my mind began.
The doctors told me I had broken two vertebrae in my neck. C1 and C7. They said it was a miracle that I had survived. Straight away though I had this enormous feeling of guilt. The fact that I was responsible for causing someone’s death was overwhelming. If that’s how I felt I couldn’t even begin to imagine how his poor family was feeling.
Miraculously I only spent one week in hospital. I was sent home to recuperate. It was a long and painful process but much more painful mentally than physically. I spent the next few months agonizing over the accident and I wished I had died too. It was like this fight up until before going to court. It was a very lonely,dark and depressing time. Tue only way I knew how to deal with it was to drink and forget.
I was sentenced to six years in prison for causing Death by Dangerous Driving whilst under the influence. I felt guilty now for leaving my family and my two sons as my wife and I decided to give our relationship another go. Now I was no use to them or anyone as I was in prison.
It whilst I was in prison that I began asking myself “Why am I here” and “Why did I survive”. It was torturing me. Then one day whilst working in the prison reception I struck up a conversation with the prison chaplain Bob. Over the next few months he shared a lot of his story with me and I could relate to a lot of it. He told me someone he met had changes his life and that person was Jesus Christ!
A seed of faith was planted in prison and I was released after 3 years. Once home How ever,I found it very difficult to adapt and those feelings of depression and guilt were magnified. I began to drink again. Not all the time ,but when things got too much for me I would just disappear and get as out of my mind as possible to forget everything that had happened.
After being released my fiancée who stood by me through it all and I got married and it was Bob the prison chaplain who married us. Our relationship was failing again though due to my drinking and state of mind. After a weekend away in Northern Ireland on my own with friends I returned home very drunk and out of control. My bags were packed,I was out. I done some serious thinking over the next few days and managed to get my wife to take me back. This was my last chance. I was broken.
The words of Bob in prison resonated in my head on how Christ has changed his life. I began to think that maybe there is something with this Jesus. Over the next few months I attended several different churches but never really settled. Then on the 2nd of March 2014 I walked into the Church which was literally on my doorstep. I walked up to the door and the Pastor,John Henson was greeting people as they went in.
I walked up and said with all honesty “I’m looking for God”
“Come in”said Pastor John “you’ve come to the right place”
I went in and sat at the back feeling very out of place and nervous. People were worshiping and raising their hands. I thought they were all nuts! Once the preaching started and I heard the Word of God I was hooked. One of the elders was preaching that morning. It was the story of Zacchaeus. The last verse got me “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”
I was lost! I needed a savior. That morning was the second time in my life I was convicted. The first conviction I had led to a prison sentence. The second conviction was of my sin and sinful past,shame,guilt alcohol and drug abuse. When I heard that I was forgiven for all my past sins as long as I repent I was a new man. Born Again!
I never forget what happened and my friend is in my thoughts and his family are in my prayers,but I couldn’t live with the guilt any longer. It was eating me up inside. I couldn’t forgive myself but God forgave me and through having a relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I am truly set free. I am now able to live a normal life as a good Husband and Dad to my son’s and a sober life too. Jesus has transformed my life.
Thank you Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ,he is a new creature:Old things are passed away;behold all things are become new.