Davey vividly remembers his first taste of alcohol, down at the pub aged 15. Little did he know that this moment would turn his life upside down and take him through 25 years of dark times and challenges. To mark Alcohol Awareness Week, he's sharing how he found new life and purpose, and hopes his story will help others like him.

Born in 1946 into a large, loving family, David (Davey) Hoy was his mum’s​“blue-eyed boy”. Growing up, he was taught right from wrong and attended Sunday school, but as a teenager his life went in a totally different direction from the one he had been brought up in. Ex-drinkers in that time would say that drink makes you feel like John Wayne – until the morning – and this felt very true. 

In my ignorance I liked this new world, it took away all shyness and gave me a confidence and courage. I had no idea that I was being deceived and my life had unknowingly entered a downward spiral which would inflict much pain on me, and those closest to me, for the next 25 years.” 

Aged 28, he married​“wonderful” Linda – who endured much pain and deceit. Davey tried many times to quit drinking, and sometimes did stop for weeks, unaware that he was a slave” who could not overcome what now ruled him. I could not in my wildest dreams imagine a life without alcohol, and hoped some day I would be able to drink in moderation.” 


Linda was brought up in the Catholic Church and knew all along” that God was the answer. She kept saying strange things when I was lying drunk…” Davey recalls on one occasion her saying, “‘Lord, can you not see what a great Christian he would make?’” 

One day, aged 40, Davey had a near death experience with alcohol poisoning. Linda had packed her bags and left as she had done on many occasions. Davey got down on his knees and said, If there is anything out there will you please help me?” When he awoke, he felt different, a deep sense of knowing that after 25 years he wouldn’t drink again. He could see with amazing clarity” the devastating effects that the use of alcohol had inflicted on him and those around him. It was as if someone had switched a light on in my head.” 

Though Davey embraced his newfound sobriety, he didn’t know Jesus as his Saviour yet. But around this time, their daughter Claire became a Christian at a rock gospel concert – and she had many people praying for her dad. 

God’s CPR: Conviction, Pardon, Repentance

Davey and Linda’s friend, Jimmy, was praying too. In 1987, he even pestered them into attending a gospel mission, where they heard the message: If someone paid your electricity bill in full, do you not think you’d pick up the receipt? Jesus paid it all, but you must pick up the receipt.” 

Davey saw his unsavoury” life being brought before him, I didn’t know then that the Holy Spirit was convicting me of sin”, he says. He remembers it made him uneasy, but encouraged by Linda he came back three nights later, and felt the power of God: We both gave our lives to Christ in total and full surrender.” 

Six months after experiencing what he calls God’s CPR – Conviction, Pardon and Repentance”, Davey sold his business and enrolled at Belfast Bible College. Looking back over the past 35 years, Linda and I are amazed at the goodness and faithfulness of God. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve.” Shortly after their conversion, they brought people into their home in Cullybackey (NI) – people who needed a place of shelter from the effects of alcohol and drug abuse, which is how the work of the Christian Family Centre (CFC) started. In 1990, they sold their home and moved to Armoy, to help people on a bigger scale.

Prayer room 1 w1200h800

Called to embrace the broken

During a college trip abroad, Davey felt he didn’t want to return to Northern Ireland – there was a sense of shame around his past and bumping into certain people. He opened the Bible and read these words about King David: All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him…”

Those words from 2 Samuel were like oil all over me, I remember thinking I don’t really want this, but it was my life… we were always led by God’s word.” God was showing Davey that He was interested in these people. Davey’s name clearly reflects his life’s calling: to extend a King’s welcome to the downtrodden. During our conversation about Davey’s upbringing, he shared that his mum originally named him Edward, but the doctor changed his name to David” when writing his birth certificate (presuming she should carry on the family name). Though the doctor acted wrongly, Father God has always had His hand on Davey’s life.

Davey and Linda still live at CFC and support people with addiction, trusting God every day”. They are even writing a book about all the miraculous things God has done at the Centre. The impact has spread even further as there is now a Christian Family Centre in Namibia too.

A mighty weapon”

Today drug and alcohol addiction problems are growing, especially among young people. Davey has a clear message for Christians who want to help those among us who are struggling with alcohol:

As Christians, we have a mighty weapon in prayer. Please intercede for those addicted. Without prayer, I wouldn’t be here today. Pray for those addicted, pray for the drug dealers. Every individual is made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus came that we might have life. The enemy is here to destroy life, by hatred and deception. Let the undiluted love of Jesus flow through us, let us walk and work in the opposite spirit, Love and Truth. Please understand, it is in our weakness, not our own strength, where God is most powerful.”

I hope that people would realise that the words of Jesus are true, and our own feelings cannot be trusted. We have an enemy who doesn’t have a good plan for our lives… and we have a Saviour who wants to come and give us life and life to the full.”

Full of humility, the more I ask about Davey’s ministry and life story, the more he credits it all to the power of prayer and total dependence on God. If it speaks to one person it’s worth it,” he says – all he wants is Christ to be glorified. It’s clear that Davey doesn’t need to make himself feel like John Wayne any more. Now in his 70s, he’s a leader with God’s anointing, strength and a purpose in life to meet the discontent, the distressed and the debtors with wide-open arms.

Member organisations:

  • Find out more about Hope UK — a drug education charity, helping equip young people to make drug-free choices.

If you need help with alcohol addiction please speak to your GP.

Related pages:

Stories of Hope: addiction recovery

Stories of Hope: addiction recovery

This report highlights the magnitude of work by Christians and churches to tackle addiction across Scotland Find out more


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