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Real-life stories: Involved in drugs and/or alcohol abuse or dependancy

Scotsman Hooked On Alcohol For 20 Years Gambles His All On A New Life

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Bob Park was hooked on alcohol for over twenty years. He faced losing his job, his home and most importantly his family. Could an unseen Saviour change his life?
Born in a Glasgow slum in 1937, Bob followed in his father’s footsteps – down to the pub. Whisky gave him confidence and a feeling of freedom. This came at a price. Bob’s honest account of a family pushed to the limits by drink ‘Going for Broke on Jesus’ tells how God’s forgiveness gave them true freedom.

After an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator, Bob joined the Scots Guards. The better pay helped finance his drinking. He married Anne in 1960. He couldn’t stay sober long enough to make a full appearance at his own wedding reception. This set the pattern for the next 16 years of married life.

Anne recalls ‘I was lonely, neglected and constantly on the move, whilst at the same time raising our three children.’

Bob moved from the army to the prison service and then the police, taking his drink habit with him. ‘Those were black days for us all but then, when everything seemed lost for us as a family, the light started to shine through,’ Anne says.

Their children joined the local Salvation Army Sunday school. At one of their concerts, Bob heard an ‘unbelievable’ message.

‘I was almost forty years old and to me, Jesus was nothing more than a name in a history book.

‘My police training had conditioned me into believing that justice must always be done and that wrong doers could not be forgiven. But the (Salvation Army) Captain was saying that because Jesus had given his life, taking my punishment, I could go free and that forgiveness was possible for anyone who simply repented (turned away from sin) and believed in Him and accepted His salvation.’

Bob began searching for the truth and reading the Bible. He and Anne invited the Captain to explain what it meant to follow Jesus.

‘He then challenged us with the question,’ recalls Bob. ‘“Are you willing to put your faith in Jesus?”’ Anne responded immediately and accepted Jesus as the one who now took charge of her life. Bob was still hesitant.

He longed for some tangible evidence to make his decision easier. ‘What God required of me was to believe first, before the evidence.

‘I knew I was beaten and kneeling by my bed that night I gambled my life on this Unseen Saviour (rescuer)… I cried out “I’m going to take a chance and believe that it is all true”.

Before God, Bob owned up to all his wrong doings – ‘although I was conscious that He knew all about them anyway’. Bob says ‘a wonderful feeling of peace began to permeate my being and I knew then for a certainty that all my past had been forgiven and that God had accepted me.’

‘I’ll never get over the miracle of being forgiven. Jesus came to me in a very real way. I wrote on a little bit of paper ‘Thank you Jesus’ in case when I woke up in the morning I’d forgotten.’

The next day his desire for drink had gone though the consequences of his lifestyle still had to be sorted. It took time and effort to restore the family, their finances and their relationships but together Bob and Anne rebuilt their lives on new strong foundations.

Since then they have dedicated their time and talents to telling others about Jesus. Their Jesus Country Band played Gospel concerts and their charity ROM-Aid International raised over £12,000,000 in aid for Romania.

Now in their 70s, Bob and Anne are still active. They have set up the North East Wales Charitable Trust to help individuals and local charities. Bob is hoping to produce a stage play based on his experiences and is keen to hear from a scriptwriter who could help with this production.

‘Three decades ago I gambled my life on the Saviour,’ says Bob. ‘I took a chance as it were, and in the language of an ex card playing drunk, it came up trumps… Jesus is willing and able to do the same for you.’

Bob Park, 2009
Story and photograph by courtesy of Challenge Newsline

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