Long Winding Road      iStock - Man in Alley     DON'T JUDGE ME ....     FEARS     AA ACCEPTANCE

 

I have returned full circle.  For the last two days, I have been given the opportunity to share my personal story of addiction and recovery with 350 students at Highland Park High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  I have come full circle because the seeds of my addiction started when I was a sophomore in high school. Coincidentally, all of the 350 students that I spoke to were sophomores. It strengthened my case when I said, “my addiction started when I was your age in my sophomore year.”

Here are some of the comments from the students about my presentation:

“It was really nice that you were so willing to share your story.  It’s so inspiring that you could take your struggle and turn your story into something that can help others.”

A few other students said, “I was surprised by the way you told your story, so calmly.  The story was inspiring to me for the way that you can overcome anything and even when it gets so tough, you could still manage to pull though.”

“This made me feel how intense and how bad it can get.  Your story helped me to realize how sad and bad life can get, and how life can get better.  Helped me to not try this stuff.”

“I think that you are brave for telling your story and inspiring others to get sober.”

“As emotional as it was, I really enjoyed it and it just makes me realize that you can turn your life around.”

“Your story really touched me and makes me think about the choices and paths I go down.”

“Well done!  I like how you never gave up, always had hope.  Way to recover!”

“It was a good powerful story.  I wish you all the best.  People like you give me hope in life.  Thank you.

Here are just a few thoughts from my speech:  I began using marijuana my sophomore year in high school.  I began drinking alcohol heavily in my Junior and Senior year.  I was smoking pot every day and drinking about three cases of beer each week.  I was popular in school, but I still felt like I did not fit in, like I was on the outside looking in.  I began to use chemicals to change the way I felt, to change my mood and to overcome fears and anxiety.  This is how addiction starts.  Chemicals made me feel “normal”.  In the end, chemicals just made everything worse.

I was always a high achiever, and even though I was getting high or drunk, I was able to maintain very good grades in school, and I was involved in four sports.  I did not know it at the time, but during my high school years, the deadly seed of addiction had been planted and my life would one day be shattered.

At 27 years old, I was diagnosed with bi-polar manic depression.  Looking back on my high school years, I can now see that I was always manic depressive, but I did not know it when I was in high school.  I believe that back in high school, I was “self-medicating” for manic depression which I did not know that I had.  I smoked pot to calm me down and at the same time I enjoyed the energy that it gave me.  Alcohol helped me to relieve my social anxiety, gave me confidence and made me feel powerful.

“I went to college and continued the same pattern — I studied hard and partied hard.  I did cocaine for the first time, my freshman year of college.  At that time, I did not know the terrible price that I would have to pay for falling in love with cocaine.   At the end of my senior year of college I had achieved an A- grade average for all four years, and I was completing a 324 page thesis on Soviet- United States high technology transfer, but then suddenly, I descended into a severe depression and a crippling nervous breakdown brought on by stress and my consuming large quantities of powder cocaine.

I was again self-medicating, just like I had been doing in high school.  My perception was that cocaine enabled me to deal with the stress of the thesis, final exams, taking the LSAT, GMAT and GRE graduate school aptitude tests and flying back and forth to Chicago to do job interviews, while trying to manage the breakup with my girlfriend.  Of course, cocaine only made things worse and further isolated me from family and friends.

Ultimately, the lesson that I learned was that I must get help and treatment for both my addiction and my manic depression, or I was going to die the horrific, lonely death of an addict.  The one year that I was homeless living outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado carried me further into insanity, hate and rage.  My manic depression and my addiction to chemicals was burning out of control, and I had become a lost soul.  I remember many times during that year on the streets I would look up in the sky and see the sun about to set.  Especially, in winter, the feeling of loneliness was crushing me.   I thought about things like, “where I am going to find a safe place to sleep off of the streets tonight, where can I find some food, how I am going to get money for alcohol and where can I get a winter coat?”

I learned that loneliness is not necessarily being alone by yourself.  Rather, true loneliness is feeling that there is no one in your life who cares about you.  I felt a lingering loneliness that I could feel in my bones and it was killing me.  I drank alcohol to blot it out and to become numb to the pain I was feeling.  Again, I was self-medicating and killing myself in the process.

It was a single four word prayer and my own surrender that ended that old life and gave me the gift of my new life.  The prayer was simple and powerful:  “Jesus please help me.”  Today, by the grace of God, I have been blessed with 18 years sober and I am helping others to win their sobriety.

You can read my complete story in my published book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.”

Please visit my website:  dungeontosky.com and check out the facebook page:  dungeontosky

I wish you peace, happiness and the opportunity to help others.

Bob Allison

 

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.

sunset again 2     BE YOUR OWN SUNSHINE     FLOWER      images     ROAD TO RECOVERY SIGN.     JESUS ON THE CROSS

 

Jesus comforts us saying, ” As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried YOU close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

Jesus promises us, “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Some more wisdom from the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous”:

Every alcoholic and addict comes to a turning point in their life, where they must choose life or death.   We had traveled 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.”  I was at a crossroads when I had followed the disease to homelessness, constant fear and heavy loneliness.  I was destroyed mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually and I was only a shell of the man that I used to be.

It was as if I was looking over the edge of a tall and scary cliff, and I was confronted with the choice of my life.  Hang onto the last bit of tattered hope that still remained in my soul, or jump into oblivion and lose myself forever.  I chose to live and I refused to give up my hope.  When an addict gives up their hope, they die.  I desperately needed hope, but more important, since I was powerless over my addiction, I needed help from my Father in Heaven and I needed help from my family and friends to get off of the road to self-destruction.  So what did I do?

At the end of my addictive journey, I was homeless and living outside on the streets for one year.  I had found an electrical utility closet in the alley behind my favorite bar and it was important to me because I could open the door with a plastic comb and then once inside, I could lock the door with the push button lock on the door knob.  Homeless people were being killed by the Skinhead gang as part of their initiation rite.  To join the gang, they had to kill someone and homeless people were easy targets.  The closet gave me a safe place to hide at night.

One cold, rainy and cloudy morning, I awoke to the loud hissing and screeching sounds of air brakes on a garbage truck rolling down the alley to empty the four dumpsters nearby.  It is dark and cold, with a faint smell of stale urine and wet, rotting refuse floating in from the alley outside.  Where am I?  It is winter and I feel the cold all over me.  I feel pain and stiffness in my arms, legs and neck.  It is still dark in the hole, and the cold dampness has settled into my bones.  As my eyes slowly adjust to the dim light, I see that I am lying down on my back on top of three layers of brown cardboard.  The space is small – about two feet wide and five and a half feet long.  I am wedged tightly in between brick walls that crumble and flake off as I touch them.  Since it was fairly warm last night and I was drunk, I was using a heavy coat as a pillow.  However, now I feel chilled and I have the shakes.  “Oh, now I remember.  I must have passed out again in the closet in the alley behind Gordy’s – my bar.”  Feeling ashamed and a little depressed about this, I comfort myself by saying, “well, at least it’s a safe place off the street.”  Still lying down on my back, I can see light filtering in through the cracks of the locked closet door.  It must be early morning – about 5:30 or 6:00, I think to myself.

I had reached the end of my tortuous, self-destructive journey and I could go on no more.  I felt death crashing in all around me, and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck tingling like the Devil had his fingers on my neck, waiting for a chance to snatch me away to Hell.  I was terrified, consumed with fear and confusion,  I was angry at the world for how it had destroyed me, and I was even more angry at myself for slowly killing myself.  I had developed pancreatitis from excessive drinking and I was in severe physical pain.  All of my dreams had been shattered and I hated myself.  I had been using drugs and alcohol for 28 years to block out the truth of my addiction and my powerlessness.  I was so hurt emotionally, that I had become numb in my emotions, my mind and my soul.  I had become dangerously self-destructive and I was a danger to others.  I pretended that I did not feel the pain of loneliness, fear, terror and anger.  Loneliness is not so much being alone, it is the feeling that there is not a single person in your life that truly cares about you.   On the other side of the numbness, I felt every single thing that ever happened to me and I repressed it way down inside of me.  I was like a powder keg ready to explode.  Human beings cannot safely bury years of emotions inside of them without consequences.

So this is where I was the day that I surrendered and chose life.  That morning, I woke up in the closet in the alley and I felt physically weak and sick.  I knew that I was dying inside and I felt overwhelmed by a loneliness that I could feel in my bones.  I felt like a wild animal that had been cornered with no escape.  Instinctively, I cried out to Jesus to come help me.  I said a simple but powerful prayer that saved my life, and has given me a beautiful life today.  Overwhelmed with pain and fear, I cried out to Jesus:  “Jesus, please help me!”  Two days later, with the help of my family and friends, I arrived at Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minnesota which is one of the best treatment centers in the country.  My final surrender put to death the old life and opened up the possibility of a new life full of promise, beauty, peace and the gift of helping others.

The key was that I had finally and completely surrendered.  Everything builds on this surrender, and nothing can get done without it.  The counselors asked me if I was willing to complete nine months of treatment and I said, “Yes, I want to live.”  So I narrowly escaped from my old addictive life and began a new life where I could come back to my true self, my true spirit and my true heart.  I can tell you that Jesus worked a miracle in my life, and I have an amazing before and after story to tell.  Today, I am helping other addicts by writing blogs on my website (dungeontosky.com), publishing my book, doing public speaking to high schools and treatment centers and AA meetings, and giving addicts the gift of hope and encouragement.  If I can recover, anyone can recover.  I know, because I have been to Hell and back, and I know the power of Jesus who saved me.

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

Please visit my website: http://www.dungeontosky.com

My Facebook page for the book is:  https://www.facebook.com/dungeontosky

Peace, Love and Hope to you!

Bob Allison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is hope for any addict who surrenders and is willing to go to any length to get sober.  “…. Any alcoholic (or addict) 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.”

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 and addict!  Read it for hope.  Read it so you can help others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

Porsche Crash      WHAT DEFINES US ....      DON'T JUDGE ME ....     IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL.....     QUOTE -- NEVER GIVE UP ON A DREAMEXCUSES

 

The other day I woke up feeling great.  I had peace in my heart and faith in my spirit, the weather held out a beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures.  I thought I would go out for a fun drive, listen to my music and be free.

I parked my car and began to open my car door and then I was hit by another car.  I experienced shock, fear and anger seasoned with confusion and a real feeling of vulnerability.  I could have been killed.  Life can be this way.

We start our day feeling great and then life slams into us, reminding us how fragile and vulnerable we really are.  A few seconds can make the difference between life and death.  Our lives can change without notice and without warning at any time in any moment.

Every day and every second of our lives are held in the balance.  We live our lives perhaps thinking that we are in control of our destiny.  We have full confidence that we will drive home to our family and enjoy a relaxing and fun evening. The truth is that none of us know if we will live or die before getting home.  We live in a bubble of self-confidence like a little boy whistling in the dark to calm his hidden fears.  At any moment our world can be torn apart.

Here are some helpful truths and wisdom:

— “What defines us is how well we rise after falling”.

— “Don’t judge me by my past”.

— “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

— “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass away.

— “If it is important to you, you will find away.  If not you’ll find an excuse.”

By the Grace of God, I have been given 18 years of grateful sobriety and a second chance to become who God wants me to be.  Eighteen years ago, I was homeless on the streets of Denver, Colorado, endured 13 chemical dependency treatment centers, suffered from manic depression and I was crushed spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

I said a single desperate prayer and then my life was saved.

I prayed, “Jesus please help me”.  Two days later with the help of family and friends, I arrived at Hazelden in Minnesota for chemical dependency treatment.

I agreed to nine months of treatment and I had finally surrendered.  I never left Minnesota and Jesus has worked miracles in my life, giving me my beautiful wife Rochelle, a great home and two West Highland Terrier dogs.  We are now proud grandparents and life is good.  I am no longer living a crushed life.  I had escaped death many times:  two near-death car accidents, a motorcycle accident and three grand-mal seizures from cocaine overdoses, and several experiences of being attacked on the street.  I may have had several brushes with death while in the many blackouts that come with heavy drinking.

Today, I have hope and love and peace in my heart and I am helping other addicts.  Jesus has helped me to “rise up again, so I can help others”.  Anyone looking at my nightmare past might judge me harshly, but Jesus has rebuilt my life, and I am back to my true self.  When I was first admitted to Hazelden in 1998, I thought my life was over and I felt overwhelmed by the monumental task of starting my life over again.  I was able to put one day of sobriety on top of another, until I was able to regain my sanity, my dignity, my heart, my emotions and my spirit.  What seemed impossible has been accomplished.  So “never give up on a dream, just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass away.”

 

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.

PICTURE OF FREEDOM FROM CHAINS    Addiction -- There is a way out. 2     SUNLIGHT BLESSING THE SEA

Prayer Of Freedom

“I free you from my anxiety, from my personal idea of what constitutes happiness for you.  I trust the spirit of God in you, to guide you, to show you the way that is right for you, your highest good, the way that means happiness and success for you.”

Anyone who is close to an addict can draw strength from this prayer.  To experience powerlessness, desperation and overwhelming fear and anger, while you watch your loved one self- destruct, is a pain that scars the soul and leaves us feeling small.   My journey of addiction lasted 28 years, and it was my mother’s faith and love and patience that helped to save my life.  Through 13 treatment centers, jails and homelessness my mother never gave up on me.

This powerful prayer is not about giving up on our loved one, but rather it is a blessing of freedom and of love.  As “Alanons” or family members and friends of alcoholics, we can sometimes do more harm than good for the addict.  Enabling disguised as love, is a number one offender and can keep the addict heading in the wrong direction.  Our conception of happiness and success for our addict can blind us to God’s plan for the addict.  My 28 year experience with addiction was a slow and painful and terrifying descent into personal destruction, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically, until I was like the burnt out coals in a barbeque pit.

Addiction is like being on an elevator, you can start out on the 20th floor and as you go down, you can make the choice to get off at any floor you want.  I was stubborn, deeply addicted and I had a big ego,  I did not humble myself and surrender to Jesus until I was at the sub-basement level on the elevator, and I spent one year homeless living outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado and it almost killed me five times.  When a family member enables an addict with money, or shelter or other “acts of love”, they are killing the addict, by not allowing the addict to experience their own bottom.  By enabling an addict, we prolong their descent and give them more opportunities to become a casualty. So you see, sometimes it is God’s will for an addict to experience enough pain to get them to their bottom, so they can finally and completely surrender and begin a good life of sobriety and recovery.  Once an addict gets sober and works the 12 steps of recovery, they can experience one of the greatest joys of recovery, and that is helping other addicts  to get sober and to find peace and happiness. They watch the people that they helped to get sober then begin to help still others,and this is God’s love in action!  When a family member or friend of an addict experiences fear and anxiety for the life of the addict, they can sometimes attempt to impose their own will, beliefs and standards on the addict when God might have other plans.  Therefore, imposing our will on the addict might be the opposite of what God wants us to do.

For example, in my own life, I have to remind myself to get out of the way and let God work His miracles in my life.  When I try to control every detail and every relationship in my life, I block God’s love and plans for my life.  However, if I step out of the way and let God’s power and love flow through me and into others, I will have much more peace of mind, personal power and effectiveness and love in my relationships.  Many people have addicts in their families or have friends that are addicts.  Our great challenge is to continue to love the addict, but to step aside and allow God to do his loving work in the mind, soul and body of the addict.  God is the great physician and He knows how to restore our mind, spirit and body.  Our struggle and our greatest good is to trust God to work miracles in our own lives and in the lives of addicts.  We start out trusting God a little bit and then we experience good results.  We try trusting Him again, and then our confidence increases.  Soon we are trusting God in every area of our life, including trusting God to watch over and protect our addicts.

We cannot “fix” the addict, only God can do that.  Some people think that they can “just send the addict to a treatment center and they will fix him or fix her”.  Addiction is not that easy and simple.  Addiction is insidious, baffling, powerful, patient and evil.  God will often reach an addict’s spirit while he is in treatment and then progress can be made, but to think that we can take care of the unpleasant problem of addiction by sending our loved one and our “problem” to treatment is naive and misguided. Addiction is vicious and persistent.  I went to 13 treatment centers and ended up homeless and when my spirit was crushed and my emotions shot, my mind devastated and my body broken, I said a simple prayer to Jesus to come and save me:  I cried out in pain and said, “Jesus please help me!”.  Two days later with the help of family and friends, I was transported to Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minnesota and agreed to nine months of treatment and I needed it.  The solution to addiction is most definitely a spiritual solution.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has an important chapter called, “There is a solution.”.  (The name of the book is: “Alcoholics Anonymous“.  This book is a masterpiece on addiction and recovery.  Check it out.

By the grace of God, I have been given 16 years of sobriety and I finally I am at peace with my past life of addiction and I have great hope for the future.  I am helping other addicts to get sober and live with freedom. fun and dignity. Check out the “The Promises” on page 84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. These are promises that start to happen after having worked steps one through nine of the 12 steps of recovery and I can tell you that I have experienced every one of these promises and so can you.  If I can get sober after a 28 year battle with addiction, so can you.  Jesus is the answer, so let Him into your heart and He will change your life!

I have written and published a very special book, “Saved By the Prince of Peace–Dungeon To Sky.”

My website is:  http://www.dungeontosky.com

The purpose of the book is to give Hope, Encouragement, Faith and Love to the addict who might think that he or she cannot recover.  If I can recover after 13 treatment centers over an addictive journey spanning 28 years, and one year of homelessness, then anyone can recover!

On the website, you will find 101 blogs on addiction and recovery, a media button that has a video of my telling my story and seven podcast recordings of radio interviews I did all over the country.

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.