Mark Burton

MarkBurtonI  SELF-MEDICATED WITH ALCOHOL

   Hello, my name is Mark Burton. I am a transformational consultant from Middlesbrough in the northeast of England and I work with businesses and charities and individuals, to help transform them, to grow them and develop them.  The reason I can do that is because of the transformation I've seen in my own life.  Ten years ago, to everyone, my life seemed great. I had won a national award. I had a beautiful girlfriend. I had good friends around me and a good family, but then it was as if I lost everything.

   You see, for years, I've been, rather than dealing with the issues in my life, with the loss and the grief, I was bottling it all down and I was self-medicating through alcohol.  I thought I was behaving clever but really, I was just a drunk, an idiot.  And all this came to the surface on the 18th of August 2010.  I had a panic attack.  I'd been having these regularly, but after that, things just got worse. So, I had a panic attack, a breakdown, another breakdown, another breakdown until in April 2011.  I was the state where I was having ten panic attacks a day and my therapist told me that I had a week to change my life.  She said there were two options and at the end of the week, I'd be dead because I was suicidal or the other option would be I'd be sanctioned under the Mental Health Act. 

   And when you're faced with this, when you know that your life's got to change but you don’t know now and you know you don’t…there's no one there else to help you, there's nothing you can do.  I cried out to God in my desperation and at the end of that week, I felt a voice tell me to go to church.  I turned up at church and with the music on, I started crying, and at that moment God came and the Holy Spirit touched me and started healing me.  And then they asked if anyone wanted to go forth for prayer.  And so I went forth for prayer.  They laid hands on me and prayed for me, and all of the sudden I just felt all these sicknesses, the illnesses, the body conditions I had just come off, a total transformation and deliverance.

   I still didn't understand what had gone on and for all I knew I, all I knew that something was different, different about me.  I'd lost everything, and yet, on the Monday I got a new job.  The Tuesday, I got a tax rebate.  On the Wednesday, I got a bonus from work.  On the Thursday, I got…a lady was driving past me in a car and she pulled into to a dentist called over, and as I went past, the sign came on and flashed.  This was a sign for me to go up to church and to sign up for the Alpha Course to learn about what had happened.  When I went back to church on the Sunday, I signed up for the Alpha Course, but I still really didn't understand what was going on.  I was getting these numbers in my head, 1045, and rather than it being a good thing, I thought I was cracking up.  I thought I had been sanctioned, so I came home. 

   I was lying on the bed crying, and as I cried out to God again, to understand what had happened, a bookcase fell over and in the back of the bookcase was a school Gideon Bible, a red school Gideon Bible and it was open on Mark 5, the healing of the demon-possessed man.  And as I read this, I realized that this wasn't a 2000-year-old story.  This was my story - that I had been healed, miraculously.  I had met Jesus.  And then I also realized, as I turned over to the number of the 10:45, Mark 10:45 said, Even the son of man came and gave his life as a ransom to many.  And I realized that I had given my life to God and I was to go and help other people to be transformed and changed with this, from that, yes, I'd seen miracles in my own life. 

   As I've learned to try and understand and I've been on that journey, I'm learning to see transformation, changes in other people's lives.  I've seen people healed the same as I was and I've seen miracles.  I am very fortunate to say that. 

   If I was to give any advice to anyone listening today, what I'd say to them is don't be the drunken idiot I was, learn from my mistakes.  I don't know what you're dealing with; whether it's a pain, trauma, loss…I don't know what you're going through, but God does.  Turn to Him.  Phone the Salvation Prayer Line.  Phone the Hotline.  Phone someone, there are loads of people up there to help you.  Life seems hopeless and it seems worthless, but there are people that care.  There is hope out there.  My story is not just a one off.  It was a miraculous miracle.  But these things can happen to you.  Speak to someone and get help.  Amen.

Hearing His Voice Testimony

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