My name is Archie and I am a recovered alcoholic. Recovered through saving Grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living in and through my life on a daily basis. I currently live in Narre Warren, Victoria, Australia with my wife Karen, 2 Sons Duncan (21) Mitchell (19) and daughter Ashleigh (16). Recovery began for me in 1987 at the age of 23 in a rehabilitation center in Rockingham, Western Australia, a town where I started drinking at the age of 15.
Entry to a rehab involved attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics where I learned the Twelve Steps of A.A. and how to apply them to daily living. Unfortunately, at that time I failed to apply them to my life and after a period of abstinence relapsed and returned to drinking, via a two-week bender.
At the end of 1987, I felt the call of God (whilst drinking) to leave Western Australia and I moved to Adelaide in South Australia. A place I had lived previously as part of my geographical s due to his drinking. My intention at that time was to seek out a friend I had stayed with previously and start a fresh life in Adelaide. Unfortunately, I could not contact that friend in Adelaide and found myself with nowhere to live. I rang Alcoholics Anonymous because I knew them from Western Australia The advised me to go to the Salvation Army William Booth Men.s Hostel in Whitmore Square in Adelaide, and I did. On arrival at the Salvation Army, I had no predefined path for my future. I continued to drink and spent life simply existing from day to day. Short of cash The Salvation Army requested I volunteer through the day helping out in the kitchen at Whitmore Square. Continued drinking led to numerous admissions to the sobering-up unit at The Salvation Army. During one such visit, I was spoken to by one of the staff about ‘The Bridge Program’. A 12-week residential program run by The Salvation Army at Eden Park (a farm program) in Mount Barker in South Australia. Seeing an opportunity to rest, save money and eventually leave South Australia I applied to go to the Bridge Program to which I was advised I could not as my attitude was all wrong for the program.
At the same time, a new Salvation Army Officer was appointed Manager of Whitmore Square I had met in Western Australia whilst in recovery who intervened and arrange for me to go to Eden Park that afternoon. On arrival at Eden Park, I had no intention of ceasing drinking, the plan was rest, save money and leave South Australia. Because of previous experience in Alcoholics Anonymous, I knew how to say all the right things to make the staff believe I was doing the right thing. The first group I attended was on Step 11 ‘Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out‘.At that first meeting, my life began to change and he realized that although I had learned the 12 steps and how to apply them I had never really applied them to my life. I had been looking for God without including God in my search. So I began to pray and to sincerely ask God to help me work out the mess that represented my life.
Two weeks into the program God spoke to me. Alone in my room at Eden Park, I heard the voice of Jesus say ‘You don’t have to live like this anymore, follow me and I will lead you‘.At first pride stopped me giving in to God. But over the next week or so my pride diminished and God became an important part of my recovery and life. Whilst on the program God revealed a five-year plan to me that included, Soldiership in the Salvation Army. A wife whom I saw when she came to Eden Park one night to visit the wife of one of the officers and God told me ‘She’s the One‘
So on leaving the program (during which time I completed recruitment classes for membership into The Salvation Army, I attended the Kilkenny Corps of The Salvation Army (now Arndale) with a plan to meet Karen. I introduced myself and we got together and have been together now for 26 years. Prior to our wedding I was enrolled as a soldier of The Mount Barker Corps of The Salvation Army, commenced working for The Salvation Armies, Red Shield Industries (now Salvo Stores). Karen and I living in Mt. Barker till I was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager of Red Shield Industries at Gepps Cross, moved back to Adelaide, where we commenced soldiering at Kilkenny Corps and took up a number of leadership positions within the Corps.
On leaving the program I also became involved in the leadership of Alcoholics Victorious groups run by the Salvation Army, with Karen and others from Kilkenny Corps led numerous worship meetings in Salvation Army Corps, Social Centers, other denominational Churches and various community groups throughout South Australia. In 1991 as part of The Salvation Army ‘National Alcohol Awareness Week’ my story was featured in the ‘War Cry‘ ‘Drug Forum‘ and other newspapers across the country. I was interviewed by Channel 10 news which led to an invitation to feature in a ‘Christian Television Association‘ advert which ran on Adelaide television for about six months and opened up many opportunities for me to share my story in numerous places, Christian and secular.
In my work life, Archie was promoted rather quickly as a result of Red Shield Family Stores move from State based Management to Territorial Management. Becoming first the State Manager of South Australia, then the Territorial Transport and Wholesale Manager of Family Stores, which involved moving from South Australia to Victoria. On the retirement of the Territorial Director Major John Henderson, I made a decision to leave Family Stores and went to work first for Pallet Control Australia as their Office Manager then with Automated Meter Reading Services as an Assistant Contract Manager. At that time I also left The Salvation Army church and now belong to Belgrave South Baptist Church.
In November 2009 the contract on which I was working came to an end and I opted to leave A.M.R. S. After leaving I visited Territorial Headquarters of The Salvation Army Australian Southern Territory to have coffee with Commissioner James Knaggs, whom I had formed a friendship with as a result of God’s intervention. From that meeting, I came’ back to the Salvation Army’ in the position of Housing Coordinator of ‘Magpie Nest Housing’ as part of the Melbourne Road Home’s 24/7 team at Melbourne Project 614. A position I left in January 2016.
Throughout everything I have maintained leadership of and has commenced numerous ‘Addiction Support Groups’. Living Life Recovery is a ministry commenced as a result of God speaking to me.Whilst I was a member of the Ferntree Gully Salvation Army and part of the leadership team of the ‘Forty Days of Purpose‘, in the role of ‘Small Group Coordinator’ a man in the church asked me to attend a support group he attended for his stutter with a view of inviting his support group to attend his small group at his house. During that time opportunity was given for self-reflection and God spoke to me saying ‘Why are you not helping people with addictions?‘ Following that meeting my mission became to start a recovery ministry with ‘Christian Principles‘, attempting to do so with numerous curriculum resources available, all of which never felt right. So in prayer, I prayed ‘Lord show me the next step’, a prayer that has become my daily prayer. God’s answer was to lead me to Saddleback church’s ‘Celebrate Recovery‘ curriculum. I was the founder and Ministry Leader of Celebrate Recovery Melbourne (a group that is no longer running due to me leaving Melbourne Project 614 in January 2016)
Today I am the facilitator of two Life Recovery groups, one in Dandenong and one at Connect Christian Church in Hastings and I am passionate about helping others admit they are powerless over their problems – and their lives are unmanageable and introducing them to The One True Higher Power, Jesus Christ and helping them discover new life through relationship with Him.
My mission today is to share God’s Word with others and be an example of His love so thy will want to investigate His promises for their lives and invite others to do the same. I relate a lot in my life to Paul. When I consider my conversion to Christianity, my life of recovery and my passion for sharing Him with others.
EVERYBODY NEEDS RECOVERY – We all have problems in our lives and God wants to help us change them. If you want to know more, or to start your own Bible Based Recovery Ministry and think I can help you get in touch. I am always happy to talk to people about recovery.