My name is Tony Mahony and I was an alcoholic. An event took place in my heart on the 9th Jan 2003 that has transformed me on the inside. Although addicted to alcohol since my teens I was released from its grip. Alcohol no longer has any power over me, I don’t even think about it. When I was freed from my addiction I couldn't believe it. I kept looking to see when was it going to return. Up to today I’m still free.
The purpose of this testimony is to give you the reader assurance that if you suffer from any addiction no matter what it is you too can be freed from the bondage of your addiction. At this stage I want to give credit to the one who freed me, his name is Jesus. Don’t let any pre-conceived idea that you may have about Jesus, prevent you from investigating for yourself what He has to offer you. If you are really in trouble and are looking for a way out check out the rest of this leaflet. There is no other program I know that offers you complete freedom from your addiction.
If you want to know more, we are called “Reformers Unanimous” – a Christ-Centred Addictions Programme and we meet every Friday night at 7pm at Ballyphehane Community Hall.
Tony Mahony’s Testimony
I was born in Ennis, Co. Clare where I was brought up a Catholic. I have two older brothers, an older sister and one younger brother and sister. I started to drink alcohol on a regular basis at 15. I left home at 18 and joined the Irish Naval Service. I was married at age 25 to my wife Dina. We have two children. I was hospitalised for alcoholism at age 32. Over the next 7 years I struggled with alcohol, my marriage and career. In 1991 I left my job because I could no longer do the work I was trained to do. I wandered around for the next 5 years trying to work and trying not to drink. I was in and out of A.A. and psychologists’ offices. I needed help but I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I felt I was different from everyone. I was hopeless, lonely and lost. I was suicidal. I prayed that God would take me because I was a complete failure in every area of my life. I was completely alone even though I was surrounded by my family and friends.
I stopped drinking on the 19th Oct. 1996. This date stands out in my mind because one of my children started to drink alcohol. I knew what laid ahead for someone so young because I too drank as a teenager. I stopped because I was unable to confront my child and say that it was wrong. So I went to A.A. and to a treatment centre. I am very grateful for all the help I received in the Treatment Centre and especially to A.A. I took on the A.A. program with my whole heart. I served at group level and area level. After 6 years in A.A. I could never pass the third step which spoke of handing my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood him. I was looking for God, for my understanding of him. I thought at that time that all roads led to God, that it all depended where you were born and what religion you were brought up with. At this time A.A was my religion but it didn’t tell me who God was.
Towards the end of 2002 the Baptist Church in Carrigaline handed out some calendars which had some scripture from the Bible. I read a poem of a 14 year old girl, young Christian, and I knew from what she had written that she knew more about God than I did. My wife saw the calendar and asked me if I would get a book advertised by the church. So I did. With this book came a tape called The Uniqueness of Christianity by J.P. Richardson. I never heard anything like this before, it was the message that God had sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to save sinners from Hell. I remember that after hearing this message I asked God what was going to happen to me after I died. Straightaway I felt condemned. It was a frightening experience so I thought the best thing was to forget it! The following day I asked myself the same question again and God gave me the same answer. I was held in condemnation which seemed like forever. When I was released I said that I would not ask this question anymore.
A few days after this I was in a friends house checking on his dog while he was away on business. I reached out to play one of his tapes looking to see what kind of music he liked. I picked up a tape I did not want to see. It was the testimony of the conversion of a Roman Catholic priest called Richard P. Bennett entitled “From Tradition to Truth”. I put it aside and carried on with my original plan, but I had no peace. So I played this tape and listened to his testimony. After a while I became really interested in his testimony, because here was a priest who left the priesthood when he saw that he had to be “born-again” to enter the Kingdom of God, and that his religion or his own good works could not save him. At this stage I had heard the gospel preached twice but was still not sure of what it was. As I listened to this priests testimony a loud noise came over the speakers. It got so loud I could no longer hear him speak. So I took the tape out and saw that there was a name and telephone number. So after a while I rang, thinking that there wouldn’t be anyone at the end of the phone. Straightaway the phone was answered and the man on the other end was the Pastor of the Bible Baptist Church Ballincollig. He invited me to visit his church the following day. And so I did. This was the first time I saw anyone preaching from the Bible. I heard had to be “born-again”, that my first birth was a physical birth. Now I needed to be reborn spiritually. I learned that because of my sin I was separated from God. I learned that there was a severe penalty for sin. This penalty is death, not only that I would die physically but also that I would spend eternity in Hell. I knew that I was a sinner, but I hoped God would turn a blind eye to my past since now I had gotten sober and turned over a new leaf. But God cannot overlook sin, all sin must be paid for. Then I learned that God had sent his son to the cross to pay the penalty that I owed for my sin. I never knew why Jesus had died on the cross or what his death had accomplished. He died so that I could go free. His death paid the debt that I owed to God. Slowly but surely, the picture came together for me and at last, I could understand the gospel that Christ died for my sins. I looked at this for a while not sure that this offer was for me. Did God want me? I was told that God loved me and died for me and wanted to save me. I kept holding back then one day I just went to the cross and told Jesus that I was sorry for my sins and I asked him if he would save me. Nothing else happened that day except I cried a lot but I wasn’t sure I was saved. So on the 9th Jan 2003 I prayed again with my Pastor and asked him was I saved. He said yes. That’s the moment I believed.
Over the next few weeks I noticed that I had stopped praying to be kept away from alcohol. I also noticed that I wasn’t thinking about alcohol anymore. I kept on attending A.A. for about 6 months but noticed that everyone was talking about their disease etc. and I did not seem to be suffering the way they were. Eventually I stopped going to A.A. because everyone kept talking about the problem and no-one was interested in the solution. Jesus Christ is the solution to all our problems no matter what they are. It is interesting to note that while I was under conviction that I was a sinner condemned to Hell without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, alcoholism took a back seat position, it was no longer the main problem in my life.
Today I am a recovered alcoholic not a recovering alcoholic. The Lord Jesus saved me from the power that alcohol had over my life. But more than that he has saved me from an eternity in Hell and has given me the gift of eternal life. I know that when my time comes to leave this world I will be with him forever in heaven. If you are an addict like I was then you are just as stubborn as I was. You will probably try everything in your power to control your addiction. It will toy with you giving you a false sense of control. Then it would turn on you and destroy you and everyone that is near to you. You have a way out, his name is Jesus. Why don’t you find out who he is, and what he can do for you.
A Thanksgiving Prayer
Heavenly Father, I thank you for guiding me safely through all of life’s pitfalls and through the scourge of alcoholism. I know now that you used this opportunity to get my attention. Thank you for your grace and your love in Christ Jesus. Thank you for freeing me from my addiction. Help me to tell others of your great love and salvation.
In Jesus name,