There is a popular phrase called “self-help” that goes against the very principle of powerlessness established by step one in all the 12 step recovery programs.  If addicts and alcoholics could “self-help”, then there would be no need for treatment centers, counselors and 12 step programs themselves.

Every 12 step program has a step one, and step one states something like this:  “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, and that our lives had become unmanageable.”  Step two of these programs goes on the say, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”.  Step three indicates, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of God as we understood Him”.

It is clear that the instructions to the addict, are to look outside of ourselves for the spiritual solution. Our old solution was a chemical solution, but our new solution is a power greater than ourselves.  Many recovery books are listed under the “Self-Help” section, because the people who put recovery books in the self-help section, know absolutely nothing about recovery and the fact that addicts are powerless and therefore cannot help themselves!

Addicts cannot help themselves to find lasting recovery.  Only a spiritual solution outside of the addict can accomplish this.  So next time you hear someone say, “So how do you like your self-help meetings”, just remind them that addicts do not help themselves, only God and other recovering addicts can help us.

The last thing that an addict needs, is to think that he can cure himself, without the help of other recovering addicts and help from a spiritual power greater than himself.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

Many addicts have starts and stops of getting sober, and then relapsing, and then finally getting sober for the long term.  In my life, I had thirteen relapses and 13 treatment centers, and it was a very long time before I started to enjoy life and long term sobriety.  Today, God has blessed me with 16 years of continuous sobriety, and these are probably the best years of my life.

The contrast between my life today and my life 16 years ago, is like day and night.  It would be like comparing  light and darkness, a terrified soul and a soul with a calm peace, good friends and utter loneliness, a full heart and a tortured heart, a calm mind and a storm-filled mind,  or simply happiness and rage.  The list could go on and on, but the basic truth is that I was two different people when I was still using chemicals compared to who became when I got sober.

How do addicts begin a period of long term sobriety?  They must first surrender completely, with no reservations, and they must become brutally honest with themselves.  No addict can ever use chemicals again without serious consequences, including death.  The addict must fully embrace and accept the first step, which is,  “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and drugs, and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Addicts have to change their environment, change their “friends”, and give up everything that has anything to do with their old addictive lifestyle.  To hold onto any of it, is tempting relapse and for an addict who has been out there for a long time, relapse is a ticking time bomb and the explosion is death.  So you can see, the addict has to make many sacrifices, but he does not have to do it alone.

The thing an addict can do is to surround himself with sober people who are committed to working the 12 steps under the guidance and direction of an experienced and dedicated sponsor.  To isolate ourselves is a death sentence.  The first word in step one is, “We”.  Alone we die, but together we prosper.

BobAllison_DungeontoSky_Recovery

None of us tell ourselves,” Oh, I think I will go and stay sober for 10 or 20 years.”  We come to the table of sobriety with humility, and honesty and the recognition that we need other people to help us along the right path.  The other critical requirement to stay sober for the long term, is the ability to keep our promises to our sponsor and do whatever our sponsor tells us to do, whether we like it or not.  Who wants to do a fearless and moral inventory of ourselves (4th step) or who wants to make a list of all persons we have harmed and then make direct amends to them all? (Steps 8 and 9).

If an addict will not do these things with the help of a sponsor, it is most likely just a matter of time, before he relapses and makes his life a lot worse or he could just die.  Addicts that continue to use chemicals eventually die before their time.

There is one other very important ingredient to attaining long term sobriety.  We addicts are very stubborn and self- centered.  My example may help to illustrate my point.  I was stubborn because I went to 13 chemical dependency treatment centers, and I was convinced that the next time I used chemicals, things would be different, and I would have figured out a way to get high without any negative consequences.  I was absolutely lying to myself, whether I knew it or not.   I was consumed with prideful denial and it was killing me.  Now I was also manic depressive, and I was not taking any treatment for this condition, therefore, relapse was always inevitable.  Getting sober then relapsing, and then again getting sober and then relapsing, was pulling my heart and my mind apart.  Remember, pain is the great teacher.

My battle with chemicals lasted a very long and painful 28 years.   By the end of this insane train ride, I was a raving lunatic, physically exhausted and damaged with liver and pancreas problems, my spirit was crushed and I hated myself and just about everybody around me.  I was a shell of a man and completely empty spiritually.  I was lost and scared with terrifying, relentless fears, that haunted me day and night.

So you see, I was consumed with pain and regret and never ending fear.  In a word, my life was all pain.  So the one other very important ingredient to achieving long term sobriety is pain itself.  Why would I give up my best friend, alcohol and drugs, if I had no pain?  The pain of continuing to use, must be far greater than the pain of getting sober, or the addict will just continue to use.

Looking back at my life, sometimes it can make me very sad to think about what I put myself through, and what I endured as a result of my love for the chemical solution.  My first AA, NA and CA 12 step meetings were back in the mid 1980’s, but I did not get sober until 1998.  This is how deadly, devious, cunning, baffling and powerful the disease of addiction is.  I had two near fatal car accidents, a near fatal motorcycle accident, violence on the streets where I was attacked by unfriendly people, several grand mal seizures as the result cocaine overdoses, not to mention the hell and torture that I was feeling every day in my soul!  Yet I continued to want to get high.  This is insanity!

So what does it take to receive long term sobriety?  Get all of the above out of the way or learn from others experience, then surrender to God.  We need to humbly ask other sober people for their help, making sure that they are actually working and practicing the 12 steps of recovery.  One note of caution about some recovery meetings.  Stick with the winners.  There are some addicts that go to meetings and treat them like dating parties, and they are focused on chasing relationships, rather than working the 12 steps of recovery and making themselves available to be of help to newcomers and other members.  Relationships can be another “Old Solution”, and this solution is responsible for many relapses and broken hearts.

I was not “smart enough” to figure out all of this early on in my using career.  Many counselors and friends and family members put this writing on the wall for me, but I was self destructive and I just did not care.  Denial and pride were my two best friends.  It was only the great teacher himself, PAIN, that schooled me over the course of 28 years, who convinced me that I was completely defeated.

I used to go to AA meetings in the mid 1980’s and the “old timers” used to say something  like, ” Why don’t you go out there and do some controlled drinking, and then come back in here and tell all of us how that went”.  They usually would tell this to people who had not yet experienced quite enough pain from this disease, and needed some convincing.  In many ways, pain is the price of membership into recovery programs.  If a person has not had enough pain in their years of using chemicals, it is much harder for them to surrender.

The bottom line is, many times, pain can help to keep a person sober for the long term, if they have surrendered, had a spiritual awakening, and are working all of the 12 steps with a sponsor’s help.  Pain without recovery is always destructive.  The other important thing to remember is that all of us only have one day, this day, and none of us are guaranteed any sobriety beyond today.  We get ten or twenty years of sobriety by living each day like it is our last, and loving our family and friends the best we can.  One day leads to another and then another, and if we continue to do the things that keep us sober, then long term sobriety will be our gift.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

Relationships are spiritual in nature and addicts suffer from a spiritual disease.  As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, the root of addiction is spiritual, and specifically, the problem is self-centeredness and selfishness.  Especially while the addict is still using and certainly while in early recovery, the addict is obsessed with themselves, their own problems, their own fears and their own dreams.  There simply is not any room for anybody else in their lives, excepts perhaps core family members, but even then, the addict finds it difficult to take themselves away from their own problems and concerns.

The addict has spent years focusing on what they want.  In many cases, the addict has not been making sacrifices of their time, energy, emotions and spirituality and putting that energy into their most important relationships.  The reason is that their lives have been dominated and taken over by the power of addiction.  Addiction is like a very jealous lover, and it will not tolerate any competition from wives, husbands, children or other family members or friends.  The disease of addiction must isolate the addict, before it can finally destroy the addict.  It is for this reason, that the disease of addiction will actively destroy every relationship that the addict has until the addict is all alone.

At the end of my nightmare of addiction, I was homeless on the streets, with only the clothes on my back.  I was consumed by fear, terror, loneliness and spiritual emptiness.  The disease had done its job well, and it had completely isolated me, so it could go in for the kill and destroy me at its will.  Friends and family and church are all walls of defense against addiction.  When an addict is completely alone, he is extremely vulnerable and the disease of addiction behaves like a hungry pack of wolves, ripping at his flesh.

An addict who is in the throws of his disease, is like a powerful poison in all of his relationships.  The addict is self-destructive and he is also destructive to others.  There can be no healthy, positive relationship when an addict is still using, and even in early recovery, the going can be very rough.  It takes a long time to rebuild relationships and trust that have been damaged by addiction.  However, after a lot of forgiveness on both sides, and intelligent and loving sacrifices, relationships can and do recover and even flourish.  Rebuilding trust is always the major challenge, and it is the most important task to undertake.  In a word, it is LOVE that will save the day.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

Back in 1998, when I was sober for just one month, I asked every person I met in treatment and at recovery meetings, if the physical craving and the mental obsession to use chemicals would ever go away.  This is because, I was dominated and tortured with thoughts about using chemicals, getting high and chasing my next supply.  Many nights, I would not sleep because I had racing thoughts about getting high.  This mental obsession to use chemicals and the physical craving to get drugs and alcohol into my body at all costs, was absolutely over powering.

Something completely miraculous happened before my first year of sobriety.  The craving had gone from a thunderous, murderous roar, like a loud freight train, to a subdued but insistent whisper:  ” Hey, don’t you remember me?   “I am your best friend?”  As time passed, this “voice” grew weaker and weaker as my recovery program became stronger and stronger, and I was successful in surrounding myself with people in recovery who genuinely cared about me and loved me.  There came a day when I believe that God defeated both the physical craving and the mental obsession, and I was free for the first time ever.  Over powering thoughts of using chemicals, no longer bombarded my brain.  This is what people mean when they say, God finally got that “Monkey off of my back”.

Let me be clear however.  I still have using thoughts from time to time, and I even have surprising temptations that can pop up out of nowhere.   However, it is not like the vicious and all consuming power of the physical craving combined with the relentless mental obsession.  The days when I would act on every impulse and just do whatever came into my head,  are mercessily over.  I am no longer a robot to my impulses, or a prisoner to my thoughts.  Please be comforted, there will come a day when you will have complete freedom from the physical craving and the mental obsession.  This would be the perfect time for you to focus on helping others, by sharing your experience, strength and hope.  The only sense that I can make of the tortuous pain, horror, fear and loneliness of my active drug use, is for me to activley help others to get and to stay sober.  This way, my pain and my life can have real purpose, and I will not have suffered in vain.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

The four most powerful obstacles to recovery are the mental obsession, the physical craving, dual diagnosis and denial.  Dual diagnosis is indicated when a person suffers from both addiction and a separate mental illness.  For example, I am a recovering addict with over 18 years of continuous sobriety, and many years ago, I was diagnosed with manic depression.  It was back in 1982, that a psychiatrist recommended that I take Lithium Carbonate.  I was a very good high school and college student and I said to the doctor, “How could there be anything wrong with my brain, when I am a  honor student and I rank at the top of my graduating college class?” Because of my denial and my pride, I did not take Lithium for another sixteen years, and this would come to be the single most disastrous  and self-destructive decision of my life.

The most important fact to know is that unless a person who has been dual diagnosed with both addiction and a separate mental illness, finds and carries out treatment for both conditions simultaneously, recovery is absolutely impossible.  I struggled with my addiction to alcohol, cocaine and marijuana for 28 years, and I ended up going to 13 chemical dependency treatment centers.  Now the reason why I went to so many treatment centers, was partly because I was not getting treatment for my manic depression along with treatment for addiction.  The other reason is that I was in total prideful denial. When you combine a compulsive  mental obsession to use chemicals, along with the physical craving for chemicals, and then turbo charge all of that with manic depression and stubborn denial, it is a perfect storm for relapse.  Therefore, I relapsed 13 times.

In my case, my specific diagnosis was “hypo mania”.  Hypo means “below”, and  manic means ” a highly excited state”.  Therefore, hypo manic means, right below a highly excited state.  So for almost all of my life, I have been on the high side of manic depression.  I experienced extremely high energy and very impulsive and compulsive thoughts.  If a thought came into my mind, I just did it, and I did not even think about possible negative consequences.  A quick example:  one day I woke up and had the thought of leaving my apartment behind and  driving from Wisconsin to Colorado.  I packed some clothes and some food, put my dog in the car and took off for Colorado without a single hesitation and with no logical plan.  I abandoned everything in my apartment including my TV, stereo, furniture, clothes, etc.  There was no impulse control or logical reasoning, only an over powering urge to go right now.

Now think about over powering thoughts of using chemicals.  What kind of defense could I have had when I was faced with both the mental obsession to use chemicals, the physical craving for alcohol and drugs, combined with manic behavior, and you can see that my life was completely out of control, and I desperately needed a power greater than my self to find lasting peace and recovery.  The solution did not reside inside of me.

Finally, a word about denial.  No person can get sober and free of chemicals, if they stubbornly deny that they have a problem and that chemicals are negatively affecting their physical and mental health, their relationships, their finances and their spirituality.  Most of the time, addicts do not even know or recognize that they have any denial at all — they are completely blind to it.  There are hundreds of thousands of graves that have been created by stubborn, proud denial.  Pain is the great teacher, and usually it is only severe pain that can motivate an addict to let go of their denial, and become honest and humble enough to ask God and others for help to recover.  Remember, addiction is the only disease that convinces it’s victims that they do not have a problem, and that they can continue to use chemicals without consequences.  An addict can shorten the span of time and pain that addiction forces into their lives, if they can accept some simple truths and become humble enough to ask for help.  I would much rather be a humble sober addict, than a proud dead one.

In summary, there are four very powerful obstacles to recovery: dual diagnosis, denial, the physical craving and the mental obsession.   The key is to surrender and get professional help, because no one can defeat the power of addiction on their own.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

If your family member is an alcoholic or an addict, and they are just getting sober, there are some important things to do and to know.

If you are not an addict or alcoholic, then the best thing you can do to help yourself and your addicted family member or friend, is to go to Alanon meetings, establish friendships,  and most importantly, find a sponsor who will agree to guide you through the 12 steps.  Alanon  is a 12 step recovery program to support friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts.

At the bottom of this website, there is a link to Alanon which will help you to locate the meeting places and get you started on the number one most important action step to helping yourself and supporting your family member.  The first actions steps are to  go to Alanon meetings, find a sponsor to guide you through the 12 steps of recovery, and never say no to your sponsor.  You must make a solid commitment to work the steps with your sponsor.  If you do this then, in time, you are guaranteed to receive a spiritual awakening and a path to recovery, peace and contentment. Alanon is for you, your health and your well-being and it works.

BobAllison_DungeontoSky

I happen to be both an alcoholic and an addict and I am also an “Alanon”, because my mother was a recovering alcoholic and she died with 35 years sober. Because I grew up in an alcoholic home, I am considered an “Adult Child of an Alcholic”, abbreviated, ACOA.  Therefore, in my case, I qualify for the following 12 step programs:  AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), CA (Cocaine Anonymous, NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and Alanon.  Again, there are links to all of these 12 step programs at the bottom of this website.

Other than immediately getting help through Alanon, there are a few principles to know which will give you the correct mindset, as you begin this new chapter in your life.

First, please understand that no person can “fix” the alcoholic or addict.  So do not make the mistake of   burdening yourself with this impossible mission.  Now here is the part that surprises and even angers many family members or friends of alcoholics and addicts (we can call them, “Alanons”):  Anyone can understand and sympathize with family and friends of alcoholics or addicts who are often very angry and frustrated and disgusted with their alcoholic or addict, because of the extreme pain and suffering and worry and fear that they have had to endure.

For this reason, family and friends of addicts sometimes can get angry and indignant when it is recommended that they go to Alanon meetings to get help for themselves.  They might say, “Why should I do to meetings?  This is my addict’s problem, not mine.  Let the addict go to meetings to fix the problems that they have created.

Now here is where it gets interesting.  Alanon meetings are not designed for the family or friend of the addict to sit around and complain about how the addict has injured them and ruined their life or worried them sick to the point of them not being able to function normally.  The purpose of Alanon is for the friend or family member to focus intently on getting help to work on their own character defects and spiritual shortcomings.  Alanon is not at all designed to teach the Alanon how to fix their family member or friend.  Alanon is a 12 step program specifically designed to help family and friends of alcoholics.  In fact, Alanon uses the exact same 12 steps as all of the other 12 step programs, such as AA, CA, NA.  When the family member or friend focuses on themselves, everyone benefits and the addict will have just a little less pressure and be able to focus on his or her own recovery.  The best thing friends and family members can do is to focus on their own health.  Alanon helps them to do this.  The important principle, is that it is only when the family member or friend begins to focus on solving their own character defects and spiritual shortcomings, that they can begin to be of real support to the addict in their lives.

Just like the alcoholic and the addict suffer from the phenomenon of denial,  the family and friend of the addict also can suffer from the same type of denial, saying, “This is the addict’s problem, there is nothing wrong with me”.  This negative and dishonest perspective must be eliminated, if any true progress can be made in the recovery of the family member or friend.

In fact, when both the addict and the family member or friend are both working the 12 steps under the  guidance and direction of their experienced sponsors, miracles will happen, because everyone is now speaking the same language, that is, the 12 steps.  Healing takes time and patience and forgiveness and lots of love.

Jesus has blessed me with with 18 years sober and He helped me to survive 28 years of active alcohol and drug addiction, manic depression and homelessness, living outside on the streets for one year.  I have published a book about my addiction and my recovery.  The purpose of the book is to give hope, encouragement, faith and love to the suffering addict who might think that he or she cannot recover.  If I can recover then you can recover too.  All things are possible with Jesus!

My book is also very helpful to friends and family members of the addict.  The book will help you understand what you or your addicted family member or friend is up against, how the addict thinks, how the disease of addiction progresses and to how to find the spiritual solution.  Recovery starts with complete surrender.  Miracles can and do happen in the lives of addicts and their family members every day.

The title of my published book is:  Saved By the Prince Of Peace–Dungeon To Sky.”

The website is:  dungeontosky.com

Peace and Love to you!

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

If you are an addict or an alcoholic, you will find out sooner or later, and this truth will come crashing down into your life and consciousness like a sledge hammer.

I first started asking myself if I had a problem with drugs and alcohol when I was sixteen years old.  Part of this emerging awareness was the fact that my mother was an alcoholic who had four years sober at the time of my freshman year in high school.  I was afraid of alcohol because I did not want to become an alcoholic like my mother.  I chose marijuana as my drug of choice, and it became my first love and constant obsession. Even though I was a straight A student in high school and college, I knew that I did not party like normal people, and once I started to use pot and alcohol, it was hard for me to control my use.  Even though I had this awareness of my addictive personality, I used my academic success as a denial mechanism. How could I be an addict if I performed so well in school?

I invariably got drunk or smoked twice as much pot as my friends.  Even more disturbing was the fact that my whole personality changed when I drank alcohol and smoked pot.  Pot gave me energy and alcohol lowered my inhibitions and sometimes allowed me to be violent.

Pain is the great teacher, and no addict is motivated to stop using chemicals until the pain of using, exceeds the pain of stopping.  The truth is that no addict can ever use chemicals ever again without consequences, and without the disease continuing to progress.  When we use, bad things happen and they always will. The disease is like a living evil creature that has but one purpose: the total destruction of its host.  What I have discovered is how the disease of addiction affected my spirit, my mind, my body, my personality and my relationships. I learned about how denial had blinded me to the fact that I was dying of this disease. Addiction is a terminal disease.

It is important to determine if you are an addict or not, because the train of addiction always leads to death.  Do not try and figure this out for yourself.  Go to a professional chemical dependency counselor and put them to work on getting you answers.

When we surrender to God and allow Him to bring us into recovery, a whole new world of hope, faith and service to others opens up to us. Miracles come after we surrender.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

Addiction and chemical dependency are spiritual diseases because the dominant characteristic is selfishness and self-centeredness.  The addict has a history of depending on himself and on chemicals as his spiritual solution, instead of depending on God or a power greater than himself.

The addict is obsessed with their own life, their own problems, their own wants and desires and they are intensely focused on getting what they want.  Addicts often do not ask other people questions like, “How are you doing?  I know you have serious health problems, how is your health now? What are your current fears?  How is your family? How can I be a good friend to you?” Generally, addicts do not take an interest in the problems of friends or family members.  Many addicts are skillful at manipulating and using people to get what they want:  chemicals.

When an addict needs or wants something, then they might come running to you to see what they can get from you.  Many addicts just use people, while at the same time telling them, “I love you”.  The reason why many addicts cannot demonstrate real love, is because they are focused on themselves, and they view other people as vehicles to get what they want.  This is the spiritual sickness of alcoholism and addiction—the addict is dominated by complete self-centeredness and blindness to how their behavior affects other people.  Addiction is a spiritual disease because of the addicts self-centeredness and selfishness.  The core of the addict’s spiritual disease is his self-centeredness and selfishness.  As long as we think only about ourselves, we cannot have a positive relationship with other human beings.  When an addict is consumed with self-centeredness and selfishness, he is dead spiritually because there is no room for others in his heart.

Many times addicts lie to themselves and others when they say,  “I love you”.  It is typical for an addict to say, “I love you, when in fact they love what they can get out of you.  This is the central spiritual sickness of the disease, and the addict is almost always blind to all of it.

Addicts usually are not motivated to make real sacrifices for other people, unless there is something in it for them.  It is common knowledge that addicts are master manipulators, and they are not afraid to lie to get what they want.  Addicts abuse their own bodies, and they pay the price with poor health and destructive behavior, just to get high.

Every relationship the addict has, eventually becomes poisoned because of this spiritual sickness. Chemical addiction is either a slow or a fast suicide, and the addict is consumed by it.  Eventually, the addict is isolated and alone, and this is when the disease can focus intently on destroying what is left of the addict.

Once an addict gets sober, then in time, the true and natural character of the addict can return and the spiritual sickness of selfishness and self-centeredness can begin to subside.  Going to a chemical dependency treatment center is a good start. Going to recovery meetings consistently while getting a sponsor who can be a guide to living the 12 steps of recovery, will bring a wonderful spiritual awakening and a proven path to permanent recovery.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

The answer is, a lot of pain.   No addict will go to treatment until the pain of continuing to use chemicals, is much greater than the pain of stopping.

In my case, this process took 28 years, 13 treatment centers and homelessness. There can be periods of mini- surrender followed by some sobriety, then relapse and exhaustion, followed by a treatment center to rest up for the next round.  Addicts and alcoholics are only motivated by pain.

What happens is that the pain of active chemical use over time begins to accumulate and build in momentum.   Pressure builds from financial troubles, relational troubles, work problems, deteriorating health, spiritual sickness, mental obsessions, overwhelming fear, loneliness and suicidal thoughts.  The addict is brought to his or her knees by the sheer weight of the combined pain.  The addict is now trembling in a corner, and is at the right place to make the decision to surrender.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

There are probably countless reasons and causes for why addicts and alcoholics relapse.  However, the most common reasons are poor spiritual condition, mental obsession that was never lifted, physical craving, overwhelming fear or anger, a return to old using environments, relationship problems, a major life disappointment like divorce, firing from a job, the death of a loved one, receiving news of a terminal illness, suicidal thoughts, depression, manic depression and other mental disorders….. these are just some of the reasons and sometimes causes of relapse.  The recovery process is not easy and it is painful, but it is worth it.

It can be very hard to look at our lives honestly and confront ourselves with how we have hurt others, and how we have damaged ourselves.  Remember, the “old solution”, for the addict has always been to get high and run.  Addicts sometimes become overwhelmed by their past and all of the losses and pain, and the old solution feels like a good option that might bring them some temporary relief.  It is usually when an addict isolates himself and does not ask others for help, that he fails miserably and relapses.  Many times, I knew the answers and the right thing to do, that is to ask for help, but I was just having an intense mental obsession and a physical craving  to get high, so I did not reach out for help.  I knew that if I asked for help, that the mental obsession and the physical craving would probably go away, and since I wanted to get high, I did not ask for help. The result is that I relapsed 13 times over period of 28 years.  Isolation is one of the most dangerous things any addict can do.

All of these “reasons” for relapse can usually be handled by working  closely with an AA or CA or NA sponsor or spiritual advisor.  EVERY PROBLEM IS SPIRITUAL AND EVERY SOLUTION IS SPIRITUAL.

BobAllison_Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, addicts and alcoholics actually search for a reason or justification to relapse, because they just want to get high again, and ignore life’s challenges and pain.  Think about it.  Addicts and alcoholics have always used chemicals to bring a sense of peace and to cover their pain.  Chemicals have always been their band aid, their solution, to all of their problems.  Addicts and alcoholics “self medicate”.  Chemicals have always been their coping mechanism.

The real key is to change our solutions.  When an addict or alcoholic finally surrenders after enough pain, they can stay sober by embracing a new solution – a spiritual solution.  The addict needs to find a “power greater than themselves which can restore them to sanity”, as the second step of the 12 step recovery program indicates.  This spiritual solution must be a power outside of themselves.  Once an addict or alcoholic stops focusing on themselves, and using chemicals as their solution, they will begin to recover.  All of this involves, complete surrender, hope, trust and faith.

The very act of turning your life over to God and to follow the directions of your sponsor, means that you are well on your way.  Miracles happen after surrender.

 

 

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.