After 17 years of heavy drinking, Rory MaGrath found freedom from his addiction to alcohol through a practical approach that helped him access the power of God. Since then, he has discovered that the principles he learned can bring breakthrough into recovery from all kinds of addictive behaviours, negative characteristics and habitual patterns of sin. Good, clear teaching and real-life examples are aligned with Bible verses to help in recovery, as Rory openly describes his endeavours to fight alcoholism.
Rory was born in South Africa, in the Eastern Cape Province, in a large port city called Port Elizabeth. His parents moved provinces when he was a year old, and he grew up in a smaller inland town called Ladysmith, in the province of Zwa-Zulu Natal. At the age of 3, his parents became Christians, and over the course of the next 10 years, his Father studied evening correspondence classes through the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), and became an ordained minister. During Rory's more senior schooling years, he became involved in the Students Christian Association (SCA), and went on to be the chairman of the SCA in his final year of school. At the church, he completed courses in both Homiletics and Hermeneutics. After school, at the age of 17, he was conscripted into the South African Defence Force’s engineering corps, where he trained and qualified as a Sapper. He went on to study for 3 years as a Medical Tech, and worked in this field for 6 years. He then made a career change and went into construction. In 2010, he completed a certificate through SATS in Bible Theology.
At the end of May 2009, Rory married his wife, Pauline. They moved to the UK in October of 2016, to Leeds in West Yorkshire, where they currently live. Rory has been made an Elder in their local Baptist church, Lister Hill, where he is actively involved in teaching and preaching, and he and Pauline run a group where they use his book, Breakthrough into Recovery, to help people with all sorts of dependencies, as well as family and friends, and they also encourage and assist people looking to find a closer, more real relationship with God. He had realised others need help for alcoholism, and he wanted to present a solution for as many people as possible.
He had written a book when he was back in South Africa. Because he had come to realise that there was a great need for a solution to dependencies for people to follow, he went onto the internet when they got to the UK and searched points that could work for the book. He searched words like, I want to stop drinking UK, and, recovering alcoholic stories UK to see what he could find for a name for the book that people could relate to. He found that, I want to stop drinking UK restricted the solution to drinking and to the United Kingdom only, and that, recovering alcoholic stories UK did not indicate that there was a real and working solution contained within it. His wife Pauline, came up with the title, Breakthrough into Recovery, and this is what the book was called – they had settled on the same name for the book that they had used for the book in SA.
During a 17 and a half year period, between the very early 90’s to mid-2006, Rory moved away from God, and over that period, he describes his life as turning into one of utter misery and pain. The road back was long – mainly because he never had a solution – and was very painful. He had heard of many organisations to help with alcohol addiction, but had never actually met anyone who had been to one. He met Daniel on the South East coast of Zwa-Zulu Natal, who claimed (through his recovering alcoholic stories), to be a recovering alcoholic. Saying that I want to stop drinking, had not been a problem for Rory, but to say; I need help for alcoholism, was too much for him to say. For anyone to admit they need help for alcoholism is not easy, because it means they are powerless over something in their lives. Saying I want to stop drinking is the first step, but to realise that you need help with alcoholism, is something completely different. It was something Rory had to come to admit on his own. All he had wanted to know was how to stop drinking alcohol. This was the first time that he had come into contact with any of the organisations to help with alcohol addiction, and it was nothing like he’d imagined. He felt that there could be a real solution, and this was the beginning of a new life for him. He believed that he might finally find out how to stop drinking alcohol. He could not imagine a life without alcohol; it was his crutch but it kept failing him. However, this crutch was the only thing he had ever used to hold himself up with – and that was scary.
He could find out how to stop drinking, but was it really what he wanted? Without it, how would Rory live and function; how would he interact with people, socialise, relax or have fun? This was something he kept asking himself. Through the pain of it all, he had become desperate to try anything, and for the first time in his life, the solution for how to stop drinking was there for him. This organisation to help with alcohol addiction now seemed like a ‘life line’. He came to realise that although there might be a stigma attached to being an alcoholic (by some people in society), that that was all it was; he was just an alcoholic. All the horrible things he had done, and the way he had acted, were not because he was an evil person, but rather that he was just an alcoholic. The great hope in Rory admitting this, was that there was a real workable solution for how to stop drinking.
This is where it began for Rory. He found that life was not boring and that it was actually a lot more fulfilling than it had been before. He found that there was an inner peace and comfort, and experienced a constant underlying excitement and anticipation of even greater things to come. The new support ‘crutch’ that he had found, did not give way (like the old one), and he finds that he can lift his eyes again and face the world; instead of like before, trying to pick himself up out of the mess each time the old crutch had failed him. He now also calls himself a recovering alcoholic without it feeling strange, and he is always happy to share his recovering alcoholic stories with anyone who wants to hear them. It’s a real freedom, and is something he feels supernaturally compelled to pass on to others (especially those who need help with alcoholism), from a position of eternal gratitude, as it seemed to come so freely to him – and it really worked.
“… Breakthrough into Recovery is a testimony of what God can do in a person’s life.”
Anne and Paul Lawrence, Former Centre Directors of Ellel Grange
“...Breakthrough into Recovery a gripping story of the betrayal of alcohol...”
Prof. Wim Roestenburg PhD, Professor of B Soc Sc (Social Work)
FIND FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION -Good, clear teaching and real-life examples are aligned with Bible verses to help in recovery, as Rory openly describes his endeavours to fight alcoholism.
Rory’s story is one heard so many times all over the world in so many different places; towns, communities and at program groups; involving so many friends, family members, loved ones, employers, doctors, clergy, therapists and ordinary community members. Yet this particular story about the debilitating effects of alcoholism is different – it is not about the end, but about a new beginning, a journey into sobriety, and it has a positive and constructive twist to it. His story is one of hope, of change, of making amends in relationships that at some stages were totally hopeless. Self-reflection is a powerful tool towards healing and growth and helps one gain perspective and insight, and this is exactly what Rory has achieved in this gripping story of the betrayal of alcohol that has caught many people from different walks of life. As a former addiction counsellor, an educationist and university professor in social work, it remains a mystery to me how some people are able to turn away from alcoholism and lead lives of sobriety whilst others completely lose themselves in alcohol and are unable to quit.
Much of what is known about alcoholism is that its causes are multiple and complex, that it is a chronic condition that has characteristics of an illness. If untreated, alcoholism eventually leads to death or severe impairment, and leaves a path of destruction in the lives of those who consider them significant to the alcoholic. The alcoholic needs help, requires another human being who mirrors reality to them at the right moment, time and place when they are vulnerable, and who is willing to offer a glimpse of insight. The mystery of recovery is greater than the mystery of causality. For here we have a person, desperate, yet stuck and unable to see, who somehow manages to turn away and restart life. Needless to say, such recovery depends on the person him/herself, on the love of fellow human beings who understand the phenomenon, and most of all, on God, who is almighty and can change any person’s life permanently. These three elements – the self, the family and God – can offer hope to anyone who is a desperate alcoholic. Of the multiple treatments currently available, most have only some measure of success, but success is relative to the alcoholic’s personal circumstances, his self-motivation, support systems and the sources he relies on for the future sustainability of a sober lifestyle.
One such treatment is the 12-step self-help Program, which was Rory’s approach to alcoholism. These programmes are aimed at acceptance of alcoholism as a chronic disease with no outcome and chance to be cured. This approach regards the only alternative to drinking as staying sober, even if it means for one hour, one day or one week; and then working through a programme that is based on sound principles of behaviour change. This approach has helped many people and Rory’s story gives an account of how this principled Program, which he has also gone through step for step in the book, has helped him survive and begin on the road towards recovery. The beauty of this approach is that it is run by alcoholics for alcoholics, and support by fellow group members is a major component of the success of the Program. Working through the steps and principles and applying these to your life leads the recovering alcoholic towards self-examination, making amends and healing oneself from the devastating effects of social and relationship failures.
Key Points That Made A Difference For Rory
This was hard to grasp because it goes against everything I know, and that’s scary. It was only when I was desperate enough to go through the process, which I have set out in a practical way in this book that I was able to see that I was not in control of anything in my life. Realising this was the vital link in the chain to opening up access to the solution to a breakthrough into recovery, and it has worked for many others.
It is scary enough knowing you are not in control, but it makes it even more frightening to know that no one else is able to help you either. As long as I clung to the idea that someone else could help me, the real power eluded me. All I have done in this book is to present the system and process I went through to gain access to the one power that did help me find the sanity, peace, comfort and joy I so desperately sought.
I had to let go and trust. In the book I have taken time to explain how I was able to do this through no ability of my own; just through an understanding and a subtle shift in the way I was thinking. Remaining, honest, open-minded and willing through the process, is all that is required of me, essentially.
In my case, the alcohol that had been my solution to the way I felt, had stopped working. The new solution I found contained in this book was better than I could have imagined, and it does not stop working. It has given me the sense of ease and comfort I had previously sought in other places, and which had constantly failed me.