LISBURN MAN'S BOOK TELLS OF JOURNEY FROM
by NEIL GREENLEES
Jackie Burke with his book No Deal. US4107-552C0
The cover of Jackie Burke's book.
A LISBURN man whose addiction to drugs almost
proved fatal has written a book about how he escaped the hell of
substance dependence to devote his life to helping others beat
this modern day scourge.
'No Deals - An Addict's Journey to Freedom'
by Jackie Burke was written with the help of Dundalk based
journalist Brenda Woods.
It takes the reader on a journey which begins
in a loving family home in Tonagh and finishes in an equally
loving home at Maze Park in Old Warren.
The outward leg of this journey, which
involved a number of spells in prison, begins with Jackie's
birth in 1953 and ends in 1994 in his mother's bungalow when
barbiturate poisoning caused his legs to buckle beneath him.
Jackie knew at this point his life was
hanging in the balance and he needed to get to hospital to be
cleaned out by a saline drip. But instead of calling an
ambulance he crawled into the living room and lay on a sofa.
He became convinced he was in the presence of
Jesus who 'turned the pages of his memory' to let him see how
often in his life he had called on God for help.
At this stage Jackie asked God to heal him
and tried to make a deal.
"But I realised that God did not make deals.
There could be no deals," he wrote.
At half past five that morning the presence
of God left me. I had abandoned all hope. I just sat down and
wept for the next hour and 20 minutes.
"I knew I had missed an opportunity I was
certain would never come again.
"I knew for the first time, for the only time
in my life there was no point in ever again calling out 'God
help me' because he may not listen to me."
By this stage Jackie was crawling around the
floor and the drugs had ensured the only parts of his body
working were his elbows.
He pulled himself across the carpet with the
intention of calling an ambulance but before he could do so the
Jackie's parents Susan and John.
Jackie in Tonagh in 1967.
This proved to be a truly life changing call
which many people would say confirms the authenticity of the old
saying 'God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform'.
Suffice to say Jackie is now happily married
to Hilary and the couple have three children - Rachel, Jonathan
Many teenagers have heard and been inspired
by his story which is told very eloquently in his book. This
also includes some nostalgic descriptions of Lisburn during
Jackie's formative years.
'No Deals - An Addicts Journey to Freedom' is published