Look at the Blue Bird, Spring is almost here!
In Minnesota, where I live, the winters are cold and long. My 28 year battle with addiction was also cold and long, and it almost killed me on five separate occasions. By the Grace of God, and specifically Jesus Christ, I survived homelessness, living outside on the streets for one year, and 13 treatment centers. In addition to all of this, I was diagnosed as manic depressive.
People who have a dual diagnosis, that is, mental illness separate from the disease of addiction, combined with the disease of addiction, have a much harder time getting and staying sober. During the time that I went to the 13 treatment centers, I was not getting treatment for the manic depression.
A psychiatrist diagnosed me as manic depressive and warned me that if I did not take lithium carbonate, my life would become a living hell. I decided not to take the medication for manic depression which is Lithium Carbonate. There were two reasons why I made the decision not to take the medication. The first reason was that lithium takes away the highs of manic depression. I liked the highs and I was not willing to give them up. The second reason was a strong denial that anything could be wrong with my brain, since I had achieved straight A’s in high school and four years of college. How could there be anything wrong with my brain?
This decision to deny that I had manic depression and my refusal to take the medication, was the single most self-destructive decision that I have made in my life. Part of the reason that I went to the 13 treatment centers, was because when you are manic depressive, you are extremely impulsive. When a thought came into my head, I just did it without considering the consequences of my actions. Therefore, I kept on relapsing…… 13 times.
Here is an example of what mania is: I was living in my own apartment in Wisconsin with my Husky dog, Princess. One day I had the thought to leave my apartment and everything in it, load up my car with some clothes, some food and my dog and just drive away. That is exactly what I did. I headed for Colorado and a new world of trouble.
The result was five near-death experiences in Denver, Colorado. Several jail terms for shoplifting, fighting and public intoxication. Denver was the place that I spent a year living outside on the streets. My manic depression and my addiction to alcohol, marijuana and cocaine were burning like a forest fire gone out of control.
Today, I look at the picture of the Blue Bird and I look forward to the spring. There is the hope of a new year with new possibilities. However, I am also reminded that spring and summer are potentially dangerous times for me in terms of relapse. By the grace of God, I now have over 18 years of sobriety, but I still have to protect myself and be aware of triggers for relapse. If I can get sober, anyone can get sober. I am living proof that it can be done when we completely surrender our lives to God, and get help from our sponsor and others in recovery.
Alone we fail, but together we win victory!
Please check out my published book,
“Saved By The Prince Of Peace –Dungeon to sky.”
The website is: dungeontosky.com
I have a dedicated Facebook page for the book.
The link is: https://www.facebook.com/dungeontosky.com
The purpose of this book is to give hope, encouragement, faith and love to the suffering addict, who might think that he or she cannot recover.
This book can save lives. Please check it out.
About The Author
Here is a great article by another author that focuses on what it is like to love an addict:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2014
Until you’ve been there, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve watched someone you love try and claw their way out only to be dragged back in again, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve seen someone throw everything away just to feel better for a moment, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve dealt with someone desperately in need of help who turned to self medicating instead, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve had to tease out where the line between believing in someone and enabling them is, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve had to make choices no one should ever have to make, you can’t know what it is like.
Until you’ve done all you can to help someone who doesn’t want it, you can’t know what it is like.
We all have our demons. We all have our issues.
Many of us are closer to being addicts than we would ever admit out loud.
Some of us know how easy it would be to turn.
Some of us are addicts already.
Some of us already walk the line.
About The Author
These are some powerful truths from this chapter:
“Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others, and how we may help meet their needs.”
“…… We have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.”
“The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe.”
“The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.”
And so we came to the ultimate alcoholic crossroads (all addicts are included). The Big Book states it well, “…… we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.”
“….. alcoholics can have vital spiritual experiences. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.”
“We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control…… We are convinced that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.”
“The fact is the most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.”
“…. Any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial. We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.”
“Recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing their experience, strength and hope.”
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is a treasure for any alcoholic and any addict of any kind.
Read it for wisdom, read it for healing, read it to know the mind of the alcoholic or addict! Read it for hope. Read it so you can help others!
You can recover from addiction. Millions of us have experienced this miracle!
About The Author
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful male Tiger cub by the name of Frankie.
Someday Frankie would become King of the jungle. Frankie’s father was almost
always away hunting and so Frankie had to rely on his magnificent mother, who
was named Thunder, to teach him what he would need to know to become King.
Frankie was a quick study and he was unusually large for a Bengal Tiger.
When he reached his prime, he would be much bigger than his father.
Frankie killed his first animal when he was just two months old. It was a
wild boar, and it was twice his size. He dragged his trophy back to mama Thunder,
and she gave him three affectionate licks to his face.
When Frankie was the equivalent of a teenager, he got into a lot of trouble by
raiding the livestock of a local village. He was happy that these animals were easy
to catch and they tasted better than wild boar. Soon Frankie was full grown and he
was the largest Tiger in the jungle and no other male Tiger dared to challenge him.
It was not long before Frankie was raiding all 37 villages in the hundred square mile
area. Frankie would attack at night under the cover of darkness, and the villagers
were terrified. Frankie had not yet killed any people from the villages, but they
feared that it was just a matter of time.
On Frankie’s last raid, the villagers were waiting for him and they threw three spears
tipped with poison into his shoulder. Frankie barely got away before the poison
knocked him unconscious. He was successful in finding a hidden cave about three
miles from the village, and he went into the cave and passed out.
For three days and three nights his body was racked by the villagers poison and he
nearly died on the cold floor of the cave. His heart slowed down to barely a murmur,
he was plagued by seizures and convulsions, and his body temperature was
sky high. He had headaches that felt like his skull was being crushed.
He had become severely dehydrated and he was too dizzy to walk.
He dreamed about his mother, Thunder, and he whimpered like a baby cub.
He was scared for the first time in his life.
Within two weeks the poison finally wore off and Frankie could slowly walk to go find
water and food. Frankie was able to kill enough small rodents to fill his stomach.
He did this for several days and his strength began to come back.
One month later, Frankie attacked five more villages in a single night, starting with
the village where the Elders had wounded him with the spears. He was filled with
a burning rage, killed the village chief and took one of their animals for food.
Over the course of the next month, Frankie raided every village in the area,
killing all 37 chiefs from each of the villages. A massive hunting party was being
built to track down and kill Frankie. Frankie’s mother, Thunder, was in danger too.
On a full moon night in June, Frankie found his mother and told her everything.
She clawed his face with a quickness that surprised him and she said,
“Frankie, they are going to kill you and probably me too!”
Thunder told Frankie, ” You must surrender your addiction to killing humans
and their animals now, or it will consume you!” Thundered roared out,
“You have been in denial about your addiction for a long time,and now every
village in the land wants you dead! Did you not see how your madness has been
eating you alive? You attacked the first village a long time ago, and your
obsession grew to where you attacked every village in the land.
We have to live with the villagers and respect their ways, but all of that
is destroyed now.
With strength and confidence, Thunder said, Frankie, you must find a power
greater than yourself that will cure you of your insanity. You need to find that
higher power now! I can be your higher power, but you must do exactly as I say,
or you are going to die! Frankie paced back and forth across the red clay earth
and growled like a demon as he remembered the three poison spears and
almost dying on the floor of the cave.
Thunder said,”Frankie the resentment and anger and rage that you have
inside of you, is much more powerful and deadly than what those villagers
put on the end of those spears! You must surrender or die!
If you will surrender your life to me, I will carry us away to a virgin jungle
that has no humans and we will be free. If you stay here, you will be killed in
a day’s time. If you surrender your life to me right now, I will save both of us.
“You will never have another chance to be cured of your addiction,
so surrender now. I love you Frankie, and I will guide you out of the madness
of your addiction and into the light of freedom and a better life.
Remember Frankie, I am your higher power, and you have surrendered your
life to me. We will run swiftly tonight and if we find other Tigers in trouble,
we will bring them with us and you will have a chance to make up for your
mistakes by helping them. Only a Tiger like you who has done the things
that you have done, can help another Tiger in trouble.
You must decide now Frankie!
Frankie gave a loud growl that went on for a long time, and then he looked
into the eyes of his mother and said with relief, “Yes, Thunder, I choose you
as my higher power, and I will accept your guidance from now on.”
Never again will I be a killer of villagers and their animals.”
“With love and relief in her heart, Thunder said,
Frankie, your surrender has saved your life and mine.
The virgin jungle is calling us, can you hear it?
Let’s go now in joy, for it is time to claim our freedom.
Let’s run for the promised land tonight and start our new life!
About The Author
Loneliness and deliberate isolation along with denial, are among the top
killers of addicts. Part of the deviousness of the disease of addiction is its
thirst for stripping the addict of all of his or her relationships, one by one,
until no one is left to stand by the addict’s side. Together we succeed and
enjoy sobriety and peace, but alone we might slowly die. It is much more fun
to live recovery with friends, than to try and do it by ourselves.
We need to share our lives with other addicts to keep what we have.
There are few joys in this life that can equal seeing some one that you have
helped to get sober, go on and help another addict. We are blessed to watch
the snowball effect of God’s love unfolding right in front of us!
We addicts choose our addiction over our relationships and the
relationships die. Towards the end of our addictive journeys, anything that
got in the way of our addiction, we just brushed aside and never looked back.
Sometimes, the downward slide in our relationships was gradual,
even so slow that when the relationships ended, we were in shock and
disbelief. Addiction is a jealous disease, and it does not tolerate competitors.
We had entered the world of the of the “twin demons”, the mental
obsession to use chemicals, and the physical craving. The mental obsession
is described in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the chapter called
the “Doctor’s Opinion”. Doctor William D. Silkworth states, “We who have
suffered alcoholic torture must believe—that the body of the alcoholic is
quite as abnormal as his mind.” He continues: “…… the action of alcohol on
these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the
phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in
the average temperate drinker.”
When an addict or alcoholic is experiencing the mental obsession, Doctor
Silkworth indicates that, “They are restless, irritable and
discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and
comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see
others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire
again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass
through the well- known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with
firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over…….”
Doctor Silkworth believed that, “Something more than human power is
needed to produce the essential psychic change”. Herbert Spencer defines
spiritual experience and spiritual awakening as a “personality change
sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism.”
Most of our spiritual awakenings and spiritual experiences take place over time.
The famous American psychologist, William James, describes our
experiences this way, “ …..they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite
often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is.
He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in
his reaction to life; that such a change could seldom have been brought
about by himself alone. With few exceptions our members find that they
have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify
with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.”
So what are the essential ingredients to achieving sobriety and freedom
from all addictive chemicals? Again, the Big Book says it perfectly: “We
find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program.
Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery.
But these are indispensable.”
If you do not have a Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, may I suggest that
you get one and read it. This book has saved millions of lives! Whether you
describe yourself as “an addict” or “an alcoholic”, you can greatly benefit
from the reading the Big Book.
I have published a book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.”
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. My book
also is a source of hope and support to family members and friends of the addict.
The book covers my 28 year battle with chemical dependency and one year of
homelessness living outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado. One day, I surrendered
my life to Jesus Christ and he gave me a new life and a new freedom.
By the Grace of God, I have been sober for 18 years.
I am a miracle and you can be a miracle too!
1). Here is the link to my website for the book: http://dungeontosky.com
The website contains over 100 blogs I wrote on addiction and recovery.
Interested readers can purchase the book on the website.
The website also has free resources and links to recovery organizations like
AA, NA, CA, OA and information on treatment.
2). Here is the Facebook link for the Book: https://www.facebook.com/dungeontosky
Please feel free to share any of this information with any person who wants to get sober,
as well as family members who have an addicted loved one and need encouragement, love and hope.
Check out the website and get a copy of my book!
Peace, love and hope to you!
About The Author
The Big Book says, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our
path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give
themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally
incapable of being honest with themselves. If you have decided that you want what we
have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain
steps.” The book then goes into a detailed description of the 12 steps of recovery, which
have saved the lives of so many alcoholics and addicts worldwide.
The book goes on to identify the cause of our troubles: “Selfishness—self-centeredness!
That, we think, is the root of our troubles…… Above everything, we alcoholics must
rid ourselves of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! ….. We had to have God’s help,”
So there it is. Selfishness and self-centeredness are the cause of our problems and God
is the solution. The book continues, “We have recovered from a hopeless condition of
mind and body.” Alcoholics and addicts are living in a raging fire, that cannot be
extinquished by their own talents or strength.
The answer is to find a power greater than themselves, to show them the way to sobriety,
sanity and peace. The Big Book says it well, “……we had but two alternatives: One was
to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as
best we could; the other, to accept spiritual help.” The Big Book describes alcoholism as
a progressive and terminal disease that has two distinctive and deadly elements:
the mental obsession and the physical craving. Add to this, the phenomenon of denial,
and you have the perfect recipe for destroying a person’s life.
Millions of alcoholics and addicts have recovered from the disease of addiction, thanks
to the 12 steps of recovery and faith in God. The “anonymous” recovery groups like
Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Over-eaters
Anonymous and many more, have traditionally presented “God” as a nameless God in
order to keep the gateway to recovery open to people of all faiths or no faith.
My story and my experience is that Jesus Christ saved my life and He took me from
homelessness, living outside on the streets with an addiction to chemicals that was
killing me, to a peaceful life with a loving wife and a beautiful home. I am a walking,
talking miracle, and I owe my life to Jesus.
If you want to get and stay sober, and you are willing to go to any length to get it, then
you will experience the miracle of sobriety and peace. Together we get sober and stay
sober, alone we use chemicals and destroy our lives. Surround yourself with sober
people who are working the 12 steps under the guidance of a sponsor, and you will have
a new family that knows who you are, and who are willing to guide you to freedom.
Peace and Blessings to you!
About The Author
When I was studying to get my Bachelor’s degree in International Political
Economy at Colorado College, from 1977 to 1981, after studying at the library,
I would walk past the huge majestic red stone building called Palmer Hall.
Inscribed at the top of the arched entrance to the building were Jesus’ famous words from the Bible, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This was a wonderful promise, and it also made me feel that Jesus was protecting me and moving me forward as He predicted my future. Every time I walked by the huge red sandstone building, I felt that Jesus was speaking directly to me, and giving me His encouragement.
There were years upon years in my life, when I felt lost like a cork in a raging sea.
There was one Bible verse that I read once and it was immediately
imprinted on my mind. Jesus said, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life”.
I had lost my way and disappeared into a very terrifying dark hell, called
addiction and homelessness. It took me 28 years to claw my way back to sanity
I had gone from a straight-A high school and college student, to a pathetic
homeless person dominated by fear and desperation. My spirit was crushed,
my body was damaged, and my emotions had become bizarre. I was in the
middle of untreated manic depression, and I felt like a wild animal running from myself.
One of the reasons that I went to 13 treatment centers, is because I
refused treatment for manic depression back in 1982, and that made staying
sober impossible. I was also full of deadly denial. I learned the hard way, that I
must get treatment for both my addiction and my manic depression, if I were to succeed.
I remember one day I was panhandling on the 16th Street Mall in
Denver,Colorado and an old college friend stopped and gave me some money.
I looked into her eyes but I could not remember who she was, but she looked so
familiar. I saw shock and compassion in her eyes. Years later, when I was
sober, I went to my college 30th reunion and she was there, and I then
remembered her name, which is Jenny.
As we talked about that day when I was panhandling in Denver, she said how
surprised she was to see me homeless and destitute, when I used to be one of
academic leaders at the college, and I as very well- liked and respected. I was
somewhat surprised that I did not feel a mountain of shame and guilt. When
we saw each other at the college reunion, I had been sober for 13 years, but I
was still “numb” to the hell on the streets. I had the attitude that, “Yes, all of
that did happen, but I am sober and free today.”
One thing that I learned on the streets and in my 28 year career of addiction, is
that I had to numb my pain, and not let people see my vulnerability, or else
I would get hurt physically or emotionally. I had to protect myself at all times.
Today, I know that system is not good for me and my relationships. I need
to make myself vulnerable, like I am doing in this article, so that I can let people
into my life.
It is amazing that I was still numb after 13 years of sobriety, even though I no longer
needed this defense mechanism. I was told by a psychologist shortly after I got
sober in 1998, that I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from my
experiences in addiction, and from things that happened during the one year
that I was homeless, living outside on the streets. The psychologist was waiting
for me to respond and I looked at him and said, “So what!” I was protecting
myself even from him.
The bottom line is that Jesus has been watching out over me all of my life.
He rescued me from the streets and from the terminal disease of addiction and
now He is helping me to give hope, love and encouragement to other addicts.
Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Jesus has set me free!
So now my life of addiction and homelessness has real meaning. If my book,
“Saved By The Prince Of Peace- Dungeon To Sky”, saves the life of just one
addict, then my life and my book will have been worth it.