Peter's recovery from drugs and alcohol abuse
A VIP audience of community and civic leaders in Norfolk sat on the edge of their seats as a former drug addict and alcoholic shared his remarkable story of recovery – a story that had once looked like tragedy, but ended with 'a miracle'. Mike Wiltshire reports
"I'm free at last and living life to the full," said Peter Jamieson, who won a long round of applause at the dinner which took place at the Norwich Assembly House as part of the Celebrate Norwich & Norfolk weekend.
Peter had been a drug abuser for 20 years and, after a failed suicide attempt, found himself in hospital and then in a drug rehab unit. "I did something I'd never really done before. I prayed. I prayed for God to help me, because if He didn't, I'd be finished," he said.
Peter, who was born in Aberdeen, had been a drug dealer from the age of 16. Eventually, aged 38, he had life-threatening health problems: severe liver damage and hepatitis-C from years of sharing needles. He decided to visit his sister in Shetland, perhaps to say goodbye. She called her doctor who put Peter on a 10-day detox programme. "It was the first time in my adult life that I'd gone without alcohol or drugs," he said.
Peter's sister persuaded him to join a Christian rehab in Shetland where staff gave him a Bible and encouraged him to read about the life of Jesus. "I didn't know much about Him, other than what I'd seen in the movies as a child at Christmas.
"I began reading the gospel of John. After 10 days at the rehab, one of my 'key workers' talked to me about Jesus. He asked me if I'd like to give my life to Christ. I thought a bit about it and replied, 'OK, then.'
"He then prayed for me and encouraged me to pray, too, so I did. I gave my life to Christ."
A few days later, Peter was alone in his room, late at night, reading his Bible before bed. "I was reading chapter 20 of John's Gospel about the resurrection of Christ. I began to think about all the pain I'd caused my parents. My dad was dead and my mother didn't know me anymore, due to Alzheimer's disease.
"I suddenly began crying. I had hurt so many people: I'd stolen from my family and lied to them. I had been so full of hate and had cursed God on many occasions. All of a sudden, I was so, so sorry for the things I'd done. I cried out, "If you can raise Jesus from the dead, then please will you help me?"
Then Peter went to bed and that night had a dream. "An angel came to me: he took me from the pub bar where I used to do my drugs and took me to heaven where I met Jesus. Jesus talked with me. He asked a very simple question: 'What is the story of your life?'
I hung my head in shame at this question and confessed who and what I had been. He smiled at me and said, 'Not any more.'
"I burst awake from that dream, knowing that my life would never be the same again. All the hurt and pain of years of torment had been lifted from me."
Some weeks later, Peter left the rehab, completely restored to health. It seemed like a miracle.
"I prayed for God to show me a sign that what had happened to me in the rehab was real. Then I opened my eyes to see my arms had been completely cleaned of scars and lumps from years of injecting. This was the biggest miracle as far as my sister was concerned.
“My life was a wreck, but Jesus lifted me off the rocks. I am free at last and living life to the full," said Peter.