Having hit rock bottom, Rich decided to explore faith with the help of a friend

Rich’s story was produced by the
Evangelical Alliance with the support of
 

- I was very insecure.
And alcohol just did such a superb job.
It made me feel confident.
My name's Rich.
This is my story.
Did well at school.
I was quite hard-working.
Hit teenage years and the teenage syndrome came in and it made me think that's when people like me.
They like me when I'm drunk.
I stopped going to church when I was somewhere around 13, 14.
As a teenager, I did still ask those questions.
I did wonder why are we here, what's life all about.
But, the picture I had picked up of any type of God figure, was one who definitely disapproved of me, and disapproved of my way of life.
So it all started to unravel when I woke up one morning, I'd been on just a standard night the night before, gone to the pub, couple of beers.
Woke up the next morning in agony.
Didn't know what was going on.
Ended up in hospital, put on a ward, tubes all over the place, and I was very scared.
I was told I had this thing called severe acute pancreatitis.
Which basically meant my body was eating itself, and I had a 50-50 chance of survival.
And I really didn't know where I was gonna go if I did die.
And I really was questioning what sort of life have I led and what legacy am I leaving.
I'm then in and out of hospital quite a lot for the next three years.
Tragically, my eldest brother committed suicide New Years Eve 2006.
There are not really adequate words to describe the feeling.
I gave up, really.
I was like, do you know what, this is too tough and too painful.
There was one girl on my course, a girl called Carys.
She was a vicar's daughter, really.
But she was also like, she was normal.
Something in me just said, you should go meet up with her.
So, I texted her and arranged a night out, and I just blurted out my life story, really.
And Carys was just very patient and very kind, but she shared her faith as well.
She talked about Jesus and she talked about him in a way that it was clear to me, as I observed her life, it was clear to me, this makes a difference.
I ended up going on holiday with another mate called Pete.
We were island hopping in Croatia and I thought I'd try something out.
Every time as we came into the port, every island, I was gonna pray, keep us safe.
So, that's what I did.
We got to about the third or fourth island and I looked back and I was like, do you know what, we've been kept safe.
That's interesting."
We ended up having this conversation, me and Pete.
In that conversation, I said, "Do you know what mate, I'm a Christian.
And that's when I became one.
It's when I owned it.
And the thing was, Pete accepted me.
I'd always thought he'd reject me as a friend, which was all my perception and not the reality at all.
If Jesus is real, and if he actually reveals to us who God is, because he is in himself fully God and fully man it changes everything."
He doesn't wait for me to be good and nice and kind.
He takes the moment that I'm most ashamed of and at that moment he says, "There, you're worth dying for.