The odds were stacked heavily against Ray Davies after his old habit of boozing came crawling back...
Growing up without a good male role model in my life definitely had its drawbacks for me as a boy. Mum didn’t stay with my biological father, so I’d no idea who he was, nor any desire to find out.
Grandma was the glue that held our family together. She was a typical matriarch and everyone revered her. On reflection, our tight-knit family was probably a bit too close, as living with my grandma, mum and four uncles could be a bit crazy at times.
My uncles were very fond of their booze and had brutal bust-ups when they got home from the pub. Every weekend was pretty predictable. I grew accustomed to the shouting and horrible atmosphere that ensued.
Mum had no control over me, and once I reached my teens things started to get out of hand.
I narrowly missed a jail sentence for a breaking and entering offence. I also followed in my uncles’ footsteps, drinking and getting into fights. Life took an unexpected turn at 18 when I met my lovely wife, Audrey. We got married four years later and had two boys, Tom and Neil.
Being married and having the responsibility of a family reined me in for a while, but it wasn’t long before old habits came crawling back. I began drinking and stealing again. That’s when my life spiralled out of control and I lost almost all that I held dear, even my family.
In 1995, I started working with a guy who lived just around the corner. We got on well, I knew his past and he knew mine. We often travelled together in his car on our way to work in Manchester. We had some great chats but then one day the conversation changed as he started talking about Jesus and going to church.
My first thought was, “This is all I need, another holy Joe.” But as time went on, what he shared was very convincing. I kept thinking, “There’s got to be more to life than this.”
He invited me to go to a men’s meeting, so out of curiosity I went along.
This article was taken from the April 2020 issue of Direction Magazine.
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