Every decision I make determines my destiny. My choices shape my new life.
I am building a beautiful new building called my new life here on Earth.
Gone are the days when I can blame other people or society or the weather for
any obstacles and challenges to my goal of becoming a new person.
The key is to choose very carefully and to take my time in committing to any new direction.
I used to make decisions hastily, compulsively, recklessly, without much thought about
future consequences and costs. One great tool that I now use is to preview my thinking with
trusted friends and family members. Get a second opinion, so to speak.
I am both a recovering addict and manic depressive. I had absolutely no “filter” or objectivity
when making decisions. In fact, I would get a thought in my mind and immediately act on it,
never thinking about the dangers or the costs or the wisdom of carrying out my impulsive
thoughts. For example, one time I had the recurring thought to abandon my apartment in
Wisconsin and drive out to Colorado. I was like a robot. I put my dog in the car with some
food and clothes and drove away into the night. I left my stereo, all my furniture, most of my
clothes, all my kitchen dishes, plates, artwork on the walls, and my books and just left town and
headed directly for Denver, Colorado.
I reached Denver and within three weeks, I had lost my car and my dog and I was
panhandling on street corners, struggling to survive. The rest of this story is detailed
in my book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace — Dungeon To Sky“.
I also have a website where I have written over 100 blogs about addiction and recovery.
The website is: dungeontosky.com
Check it out.
About The Author
If you are sitting in a treatment center or about to graduate, please listen to this: Never give up hope. Hope is from God, and Hope is your best friend. I know. I went to thirteen treatment centers over a 28-year period of hell. If I can get sober and stay sober, so can you! In my last and thirteenth treatment center, I remember the intense feelings of anger, frustration, confusion and fear as I stayed rolled up in a defiant ball of rage and denial. I think that I knew that I had come to the end of my addictive journey, but I was never going to tell this to anyone and especially not to the army of counselors who surrounded me in treatment.
My primary emotions were fear and anger, with fear being the dominant emotion. I was also plagued by guilt, shame, and horror at what I had done with my life for the last 28 years. I once had big plans, big dreams for my life, then the hurricane of addiction eventually took over my life. When I was homeless on the streets of Denver Colorado, I had endured so much raw pain, so much primal fear and so much unleashed rage, that one day I just became completely numb. I felt very little, and the love in my heart had become cold.
I became a predator of “normal” people. Whenever possible, I stole from them, conned them, and lied to them just to survive. I felt reckless like a wild animal, and I was dangerous. All of the resentments and anger that I had stored up inside of me over many years were now beginning to eat me alive from the inside out. I used rage as a tool to fuel my life as a panhandler on the streets, and to push myself forward even when I felt exhausted and overwhelmed. My manic depression helped to provide me with the intense energy that I needed to endure the life of a street panhandler. When I was in a manic cycle, I had all the energy I needed, but when I was in a depressive cycle, I had no energy. I was not taking any medication for manic depression, and my addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine was in full force. I was running out of time.
It is hard to explain the depth and the pain of the extreme loneliness that I felt every day. Loneliness was like having a bad stomach ache that never went away. Every emotion, like pain, loneliness, fear, desperation, hopelessness—I felt with an unnatural intensity. What I am describing is what the disease of addiction does to us, eventually. Please, please, please, never give up your hope and the love that is still alive in your heart. Hope will save your life, but without it, you will be like a cork in a restless ocean, tossed this way and that.
Sweet surrender came to me when I was at the end of my hellish journey and when I was completely defeated by my addiction. One morning, I woke up in an electrical utility closet in an alley, behind my favorite bar. This is where I had been sleeping for a year. The closet was very small, but I could get into it using a plastic comb, and once inside, I could lock the door. Safety is important when you are living outside on the streets. After a long and painful 28 year journey of steadily spiraling downwards, I was finally crushed and I was ready to surrender.
In utter desperation and consumed with fear, I asked Jesus to help me. It was a very simple, but powerful prayer. With tears streaming down my face I cried out, “JESUS PLEASE HELP ME!” Two days later, I was sitting scared, but sober at Hazelden Foundation, a treatment center in Minnesota. That was back in 1998. Hope and surrender are your lifeline. Today, by the grace of God, I have been given 18 years of continuous sobriety and my heart is grateful and I am alive again. The poison is gone. Now I am sharing my truth, my experience and my strength with other addicts wherever I meet them. Perhaps your experience, like mine, was designed by God to give you the gift of helping others. Helping others is the magical cure for most of my problems today.
You can and you will get sober and begin a new life with sober friends and peace in your heart. Miralces will happen in your life when you ask Jesus into your heart! Your soul and your heart will create new dreams, and you will see your dreams come true. You will experience the great joy of helping other people who will in turn help still other people. Like a stone thrown into a lake, you will see the ripples travel outward eventually reaching the distant shores.
Your heart will feel warm and strong, as you send your love out to people just like you. This ripple effect is the magic of love that comes from your heart and then goes out into the world to touch the lives of others. There is no higher calling than to help other people. Your have been given the priceless gift of helping other addicts. Only addicts can truly touch the hearts, minds and souls of other addicts. Be generous with your gift, you have earned it.
Remember to be gentle and patient with yourself, and please take time to love the flowers!
About The Author
Speaking for myself, I was already in a very dark place and headed over the edge of a great cliff. After 28 years of faithful dedication to chemical use and self-destruction, my strength and my will to survive were long gone. I was alive only because I still had some love and affection for my family, and I still had a small glimmer of hope that someday I would recover. Somehow deep down inside of me, I knew the life of a homeless panhandler was breaking me down, day by day, and it could not last forever.
Where could I have ended up? Many places and none of them any good. I could have died on the pavement after two serious car accidents and one horrific motorcycle accident. I believe Jesus and His angels saved my life. I had three grand-mal seizures as a result of over-dosing on crack cocaine. I woke up in three hotel rooms drenched with cold water after fellow users tried to revive me.
I survived two serious episodes of violence. One was in Chicago. A fellow drug user of mine took $80 from three military types and I was left in the back seat between two of these guys, waiting for my “friend” to return. He never returned and I was dragged out of the car, the trunk was opened, and they took out two crowbars and made a circle around me. I sensed that time had been frozen, someone had hit the “pause” button on a TV remote control and then I heard a strong small voice say, “explode now!” and with a primal scream, I broke out of the circle and ran to a lighted Shell Gas station close by. They were going to kill me and Jesus again saved my life.
When I was homeless for a year in Denver, Colorado there were numerous incidents of violence and near fatal encounters. The most terrifying was when I was sleeping down by the river with my Husky dog, Princess, (See picture) and we were attacked by a lunatic with two butcher knives.
It was three o’clock in the morning, there was a full moon and we were sleep. My dog Princess awoke me with a guttural growl, and she was staring into the woods fifty yards away. I saw a man with a white skull mask, like Jason in the old Halloween movie, and he was walking fast and directly at me. When he was twenty yards away he stopped and said, “I am a Skinhead and I am going to kill you”.
My dog broke free of the string that I had connected to her and my wrist, and she began a fast and furious attack on his ankles and lower legs. The Skinhead then raised both his knives high, anticipating when Princess would be coming in for her next attack. His plan was to stab her on both sides of her ribs. I knew that I could not win a fight against a man with two butcher knives. i decided to run. The flurry of activity gave me just enough time to run up the river embankment and escape.
I whistled to Princess and she joined me at the top of the hill and we ran for two miles straight. The Skinheads were killing homeless people down by the river as part of an initiation rite to get into their gang. Homeless people were easy targets for murder. These are just a few of the near death experiences, when Jesus stood beside me and saved my life.
So where would I be if I never got sober? I would be dead, in prison, in a mental institution or worse. By the grace of God, I went to my thirteenth treatment center in 1998. I agreed to nine months of treatment and I have been sober ever since.
I have shared these personal experiences to give you both hope and faith and to share the love I have for all addicts. If I can get sober, then so can you!
My book, “Saved By The Prince of Peace–Dungeon To Sky“ tells the whole story.
Peace and Blessings to you each day!
About The Author
We have the privilege and honor to live in the present.
Millions of addicts have lived before me and millions of addicts will live after I am gone.
We can choose to learn from the mistakes of others, or we can doom ourselves to repeat
the same. I have alcoholics on both sides of my family, and only my mother and me have
survived and recovered.
The two of us have spread the wisdom and miracle of recovery to others. At the end
of our addictive journey, we gladly surrendered our lives to God, family and friends.
I had made a complete disaster out of my life, and I was up against a wall with no escape.
It is only by the Grace of God, that I am still alive today and writing this to you.
I would not wish the hell and despair of addiction on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
The good news is that because we have surrendered, we can now live freely in the present.
After all, there is no past and there is no future, because they cannot be experienced now.
There is great freedom to accept our past as forever gone, and also to let go of our fears for the future.
If I live well today, most of my fears for the future will melt away. For addicts, to live in the now, to live fully alive in the present, is very spiritually powerful and I believe, it is how God wants us to live. Once we get sober and have some clean time, the real challenge becomes living life on life’s
terms. I am learning that “I cannot always get what I want”, as the Rolling Stones sang and
sometimes when I stay sober, I can have more than I need.
All of us have had to make sacrifices, endure relational pain, illnesses, financial stress, and
all types of mental and emotional pain. Many of us have wallowed in confusion and have
had painful regrets about the past and nagging worries about the future, according to the
strength of our faith. Nothing worth having is easy to get and easy to keep. We have to work
at sobriety and our spiritual development every day, but of course, we recover with each other.
Alone we fail, but together we succeed and grow.
I have found that gratitude and helping others, is the magical solution to most all of my problems today.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on page 84 outlines the famous “Promises” of A.A.
(These promises come after Steps One through Nine have been completed):
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are
half-way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not
regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and
we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our
experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip
away. Our whole outlook and attitude about life will change. Fear of people and of economic
insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us, what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us– sometimes
quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
Many alcoholics and addicts have gone before us, and many of them have been blessed with the freedom of sobriety. Let’s use our present time share to our experience, strength and hope with our fellow addicts and give them encouragement, love and hope to save their lives.
About The Author
Yes, Getting High Is Like Getting the Wrong Map for a Long Journey.
No addict wants to die the death of an addict. When we start out on this scary adventure, we have no idea where it will leads us. We are very much driving blind. Our family and our schools did not teach us how to become an addict safely or tell us what the life of an addict looks like long-term. Addiction starts out fun and exciting with even a bit of freedom thrown in for good measure.
Then we are lured into a fantasy world of drugs and alcohol, not knowing the horrendous price we will have to pay for dancing with the devil. The price we pay is deadly and devastating. We often lose our spouses, our children, our jobs, our money and we lose spiritual things like our self-respect, the love of others and our relationship with God.
Perhaps most importantly, we are separated from God during the time of our drug use. However, God never leaves us, He waits for us to surrender to Him, so He an bless our lives. The good news is that we can come together with God after the drug use stops, along with all its various destructive behaviors. Surrender is the key that opens the door to freedom from chemicals and a new sober life with unlimited possibilities.
Our family and friends and God are all waiting for us to come home just as the Prodigal Son came home. Some of us may not be able to come home to our family home, but we can come home to ourselves! I know, because I was a Prodigal Son who wasted his life for 28 years and after 13 treatment centers and homelessness, I came home to my family, my friends and my God. If I can get sober, so can you!
By the grace of God, I have been sober for 18 grateful years.
I pray that you will recognize the power of Hope, Faith and Forgiveness as pathways to freedom! We all need the help of other addicts. Together we win victory over addiction. Alone we fail.
Please check out my book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace — Dungeon To Sky“. The website is: dungeontosky.com
You can definitely get and stay sober!
Peace and Blessings to you!