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Life Stories

Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy was a resident at CFC in 2006. Here he describes his experience in his own words.

I came to faith in Christ in January 1991 and then my wife Claire came to faith about a year later.We started our walk with God by getting involved in a local church which became a very happy and loving place for us both.

In 1995 our daughter Lauren died. When she was born she was a very sick child but through support of many of our friends and church family we cared and loved for our precious little daughter for five months. Even though Lauren wasn’t well when she died it was a big shock to us, although at the time it seemed to affect my wife more than myself.

Just before Christmas 1997 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She deteriorated very quickly and died in February 1998. After the death of my mum and watching Claire grieve so much for our daughter I started to abuse alcohol and was probably becoming dependent at that stage. Drinking alcohol was an easy option for me to block feelings that I didn’t want. There was quite a lot of alcohol consumption in my house when I was growing up and drinking a lot of alcohol was very normal within my family.

In July 1999 I thought my family was complete when my son Ross was born. But In February 2001 Ross took ill and died. This totally rocked our world. We tried to continue on with life as normal for our three daughters Diana, Suzanne and Kimberley but this was just too difficult. We had lost two children and my mum and were starting to lose our faith in God.

Claire got angry with God and started blaming Him for all that was happening to us. But I tried to not even acknowledge God and used more and more on alcohol. We attended church less and less but looking back now I think that was because it was such an emotional environment and we were sensing God speak to us in our grief.

My drinking was gradually getting worse and was having a terrible effect on our marriage and family life.  Claire cried out to God in desperation for me to get help. She told a friend how bad things had become and he suggested that we contact Christian Family Centre.

When I was told about Christian Family Centre my first reaction was very negative.  I didn’t think that my drinking was that bad and didn’t think I needed to go to such a place for help. But Claire believed that by me going there we were getting a chance to restore our lives and marriage.

When I went for my interview to Armoy I was very nervous but soon relaxed after the warm welcome. Paul Paynter found out a bit about my situation and then told me what could be the benefits of coming to the Centre but he made it clear that it would only work if I made the decision to go there for myself and not just to please Claire. This was a hard decision for me as it meant being away from my home and family. It also meant doing things for myself that I wasn’t used doing for myself like washing, cooking and cleaning. After the interview I decided that I should give it a go.


Being a resident at CFC was very hard as it meant withdrawing from alcohol and getting to do a lot of thinking which I didn’t want to do. I started to fill my spare time with reading which I hadn’t done in a long time. I learned to be ‘bored’ again without wanting and needing to drink. I really enjoyed the times during the day when I was in the workshop and the volunteers were great to chat to when I needed it.

The most important thing about for me about being at CFC was that I had time to build my relationship with God again, away from my circumstances.

When I went back home there were still difficult times but my focus was totally different. I felt as I had the ability to deal with difficult things in a different way. Claire and I were learning to get on a lot better and we lived as a proper family again. We became more dependent on God and got involved in our church again.

After my time at CFC I felt God lead me to take courses on counseling and caring for others. Through these we got a lot of help to grieve together as a couple something we had never been able to do.

Now 6 years later we have been brought to a place in our lives that not only have we received healing but we are able to help others. We run Griefshare within our church and in the local community. Even yet some days are very hard but looking back now I can say that it has been a privilege to go on this journey with God.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-