Former alcoholic and drug addict assists those displaced or imprisoned
Turned off his unstable family and constantly drunk father, Paul “Doc” Christie thought he had found a release for his anger in drugs, getting drunk and a Harley, as well as a sense of family among patched bikers.
All that is left today is the Harley Davidson motorcycle, as he now helps displaced people and motorcyclists in and out of prison.
The strong historical connection between his story and these forgotten people provokes many conversations, says Paul.
“The people I minister to have the same sense of brotherhood that attracted me years ago, but there is an empty space in their hearts that needs to be replenished with love,” he explains.
“I try to help them rebuild their sense of worth and self-respect.”
“I preach love, self-respect and family values. My people learn how I fought my way back from alcoholism, drug dependency, and depression and how I stopped myself from committing suicide.
“The love of God and a wonderful family taught me humility, grace and the need to share my new life with others.”
He says this connection with his past also gives him the opportunity to share how Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe, changed his life.
He recounts that, as a teen-ager, an unfortunate experience with a school chaplain turned him away from trusting anyone, least of all religious people.
“I turned to drugs and alcohol at an early age and soon became addicted to both substances,” he remembers.
“When I was 16, I bought an old Harley Davidson with money that my parents had saved for me, and this provided another release for my anger.”
One afternoon, while drinking at a hotel in Nedlands, Perth, he was befriended by a number of bikers from a patched motorcycle club. This club would today be considered an outlaw gang.
“A couple of the members took me under their wing as I was drunk, stoned and in no condition to ride my Harley home.
“My father was shocked to see the club pull up on the front lawn of our Nedlands home and deposit my Harley and me in the driveway.”
As he visited their motorcycle shop, Paul began to trust these bikers and felt invited into what appeared to be a close brotherhood.
“They were like a family who had their own code of conduct and took care of each other. I was too young to ride with them, but they didn’t seem to mind me hanging around.”
In the years that followed, Paul experienced two failed marriages, both of which lasted a decade.
The first produced two wonderful kids, but in both unions Paul admits he did not have the life skills to keep them together.
Then, through his second wife, he recalls that his priorities began to change.
“My second wife was a travel agent. I developed a love for Bali and we travelled there frequently.”
After the divorce, Paul used his training as an Industrial Paramedic to administer first aid to villagers who lived among acres of squalor and disease on a rubbish tip. He also noticed how fervently they practised their religion.
“I felt something strange happen to me during these visits. I was changing — it wasn’t all about me anymore,” he recalls.
“I started to care for the villagers, even when they tried to roll our Kijang over to get at the food in the back. Despite this, I felt safe with them.”
Eventually, Paul joined the Patriots MC, a motorcycle club set up by serving and former military.
“They were part of my slow turn around as they were involved with several charities, but even then I reached a point where I just wanted to put an end to my pain.”
An hour before he was thinking of ending his life, Paul met his wife to be, Kylie, who would help turn his life completely around.
“Kylie and her family were very close,” Paul says. “They were also practising Christians — something I had never experienced in my life.”
He began to question Kylie, her family, and chaplain Rod Williams at the Patriots MC, about what being a Christian meant.
As they answered all his questions from the Bible, Paul realised that he needed forgiveness for his rebellion against God to be free of his past, and to be saved from God’s future judgement.
Within a month of meeting Kylie, he decided to trust in Jesus Christ as His Lord and Saviour.
He recalls: “As I placed myself in God’s loving and firm hands, I grew in my devotion to help people in emotional pain, just as I had been in pain and was helped.
In the eight years since that decision to give Jesus control, Paul says, “Jesus has led me to work in prisons and Northbridge.”
“Through my friendship with Rod Williams, I volunteered as a PFWA Official Visitor to motorcyclists in and out of prison.
“My time in Northbridge (a popular night district in Perth) is spent reaching out to displaced people and those who just need someone to talk to.”
There are great challenges in this ministry, Paul admits, yet he says that God provides him with “spiritual armour” and the motivation to continue this ministry, even though it is “technically not socially acceptable”.
“I feel compelled [by God] to share what I have been given, and to encourage others to follow God,” he says.