Racism is not easily identified in ourselves.

Even when we witness our own microaggressions and how they affect others, we remain in stubborn denial that we are racist.

Yes. I believe that most people are racist to varying degrees and either they cleverly disguise their racism, or they do not know that it exists.

An example of a microaggression is:

Speaking to an African American:  “So what country were you born in? This microaggression can make the person feel unwelcome or a stranger in America.  This question assumes that the person was not born in the United States and does not belong here.

One way that a person can discover that they are racist is by observing the expression of hurt, disgust, anger or fear on the faces of those who are receiving the microaggression.

The problem is that many people will not ask the offended person what they are feeling and so the microaggression remains hidden and is never exposed.

Even when people examine their inner selves, they may be unable to detect racism because of the protection of the dominant white society which assumes that they are always right and all others are wrong.  The privileged white majority denies its own racism while it claims ethnic and moral superiority.  This is the mentality that created and maintained slavery and perpetrated the slaughter of thousands of African Americans.  The myth of white supremacy became like a perverted religion and tool of manipulation to control whole groups of people.  The United States was built on this lie.

Racism will likely be with us forever.  Each of us is responsible to uncover and purge our own racism and perhaps even help our neighbors to see the light.

 

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.

We gotta replace the empty space left by the removal of addictive chemicals or we might relapse.

The day we get a divorce from the drugs and alcohol that almost killed us, many of us have a nagging fear that is expressed in these questions:

Now what am I going to do with my time?

What will replace the love that I had for drugs and alcohol?

Drugs were my lover and my best friend and I depended on them to survive the pain that came my way.

When I did drugs, I no longer felt like a victim, I thought that I was winning and taking control of my life, at least at the beginning of my drug use.  All of this changed as I became a slave to drugs and my life spun out of control and I descended into insanity.  My best friend had changed into my number one enemy.  I was lost, angry and afraid of myself and the world.

My whole identity was wrapped up in doing drugs, finding drugs, or dealing drugs, so who am I to become now?

Am I going to be bored out of my mind and how can I find sober friends that I can like and get close to?  Will I am be consumed by the loneliness and isolation that drugs took away?

What can I do for fun in sobriety? Drugs were my full-time hobby and my first love, what can compete with that?

How do I deal with my grief and anger over losing my best friend – drugs and alcohol?

How am I going to deal with the pain that has accumulated over so many addicted years?  Drugs were my solution to life, my coping mechanism, for every life difficulty like anger, fear, resentment, disappointment, envy, or broken relationships.  I Drugs were how I managed every life crisis that I ever had.

I am afraid that I am going to feel naked or emotionally exposed without my best friend– drugs and alcohol.

Drug use and the addiction that comes with it, is a deeply ingrained habit that does not want to be replaced, but we must replace it or we die.

How are you going to replace your best friend?

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.

How do you know when you are on the right track in your recovery?

The day that we admit our powerlessness over our addiction is the day that our recovery begins.  Surrender brings victory.

The day that we actually get into action and start working a recovery program, is the day that we move from addiction to long-term recovery.  If you choose to work the 12 Steps, then your initial program begins with Steps one through five.

The day we begin writing our Fourth Step is the day that we are in the program, rather than on the program. The Fourth Step is the first tangible action that demonstrates our commitment to building a new sober life.  Are you in the program, on just on the program?

We need to ask ourselves, what system or recovery plan are we following or are we just “doing it your way”?  Most addicts would agree that our best thinking got us high, our best thinking got us arrested,  many of us are now forced to live the life of probation.  So our way brought us disaster or significant consequences.  We can either accept help and change our choices and change our life, or we can return to our old destructive lifestyle.  The 12 Steps provide a straight forward method to build a new sober life.

How do we know when we are on track to recover?  We are on track to recover when we stop doing things our way and adopt a way of living that in many ways will be the opposite of how we were living during our days of addiction.  When using, addicts were usually not practicing a spiritual program.

We were caught up in an addictive and self-destructive lifestyle and we had very little spirituality, because we were essentially selfish and self-centered.  Our perspective on life was turned inward to our own selfish needs, while we served the Dragon of addiction.

There was no time or motivation to think or care about others.  We had entered the dead zone.  Our thinking was delusional, our emotions were blocked or made numb, and our long-term dreams had been taken from us by our addiction. As our addicted burned out of control like a raging forest fire, we damaged our relationships and our spirits were crushed.

So many of us arrive in treatment dazed and confused, carrying the terror of our past and fear about our future.  We carry the burden of tremendous accumulated pain and we want to hide our emotions because the pain of our life and our past is overwhelming and scary.

Some addicts in early recovery will retreat into their minds and try to protect themselves from revealing who they really are.  Other addicts in early recovery will take courage and share their experience, strength and hope with the group, knowing that sharing their story will help them and other members of the group.  Sharing in group is the first return of reaching out to others and moving away from a selfish fear-filled destructive lifestyle.

Remember, being selfish is a concrete sign that our spirituality is damaged, weak or ineffective.  The truth is, “the more we give, the more we receive”.  Recovery provides numerous ways for us to give back and strengthen our spiritual lives.

What can you do to give to others?

It all starts with our current recovery program.  Are we engaged in our treatment or our recovery program?  Are we reaching out to others and sharing our story.  Are we in the action step of early recovery, for example, working with a sponsor to get guidance in actually doing the 12 Steps or recovery? Remember, the 12th Step guarantees that we will have spiritual a awakening after working the Steps: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…”

If we choose not to work the proven system of the Steps, then what is our program of action or are we trying to do it our way?  Just sliding by or doing the bare minimum of work on our recovery will back-fire on us and lead us back into relapse. Our way did not work and got us where we are today.  All of us can choose to take responsibility and ownership of our own recovery, or we can sit back and watch the nightmare of our  past addiction gradually come crashing back into our lives. Do not put yourself in the position of the person who wasted the treatment experience and the opportunities to recover and now has relapsed with even more serious consequences then in the past.  Please choose wisely.

Recovery is a precious gift.  It is right here and right now, grab for it like a drowning man reaches out for a lifeline.  Millions of addicts worldwide have recovered from the ravages of addiction and you can receive this gift too.  It is waiting for you when you do the work.  If you continue your recovery journey, someday soon you will be offering encouragement, guidance and love to someone else who is new to recovery.  This is an honor, a privilege and this is where the fun starts.

Other addicts need you!

May God bless you every 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.

In my life, every time I have faced a transition I have experienced fear and anxiety.  What will happen next?  How will my life change?  Will I be able to rise to the occasion and become successful?  Will I fail? Will people accept me or like me? Can I make a real contribution to this new chapter in my life?  Will my painful past eliminate me from the running? Can people accept my history of addiction and recovery and will they respect the work I am doing to give back hope, love and encouragement to other addicts.  Will I be harshly judged and then discarded as damaged goods with a high-risk factor?

There have been several key transitions in my life.  Due to my father’s business career, our family lived in England from 1964 to 1970, my ages six to twelve.  There are six kids in my family and all of us were anxious, fearful and excited about moving to a foreign country.  In England, I was the “Yankee American” and there was a fair amount of teasing and ridicule.  The English students came to respect me for my success in becoming the captain of the under-eleven rugby team and playing soccer as well as for expressing my temper.  My last name is Allison and there was one kid who repeatedly taunted me, calling me, “Allison in Wonderland”.  One day, when I had just turned eleven years old, the other kid was insulting me again, and I hit him so hard that he was passed out before he hit the pavement.  He never bothered me again.

Academically, the British were at least a year ahead and so I had a lot of catching up to do including learning how to speak Latin.  I achieved O.K. grades and loved the religious education class where we listened to the teacher tell the Bible stories about Jesus.  Jesus became my hero way back then.

After six years in England, it was time to come home to the United States and I could not wait.  I had the same anxiety, fear and excitement that I had when we journeyed to England, but knowing that I was going home, made it sweet.  I came back to sixth grade and I remember the kids calling me a “limey” which is slang for an Englishman, since I still had a full English accent.  The coach at the grade school in America advised my mother to get me involved in sports at the school as soon as possible, since this would help me to assimilate into American culture and help me to make new friends.  I joined the tag football team and did well, earning the accolade “Bullet Bob” for my running speed and enthusiasm.  Academically, I did very well, bolstered by the British education.

The next major transition was from grade school to high school.  I spent an entire year getting myself psyched up to perform well in both high school academics and sports.

By the time I entered my freshman year in high school I was roaring to go, thanks in part to the prayer life I had developed in grade school.  I remember when I joined the Freshman football team, I was the left tail back and I had to memorize dozens of football plays.  I used to lie in bed and ask Jesus to review the plays in my head, so I could visualize them so when I stepped onto the field itl would be automatic to me and I could just focus on running fast and dodging the defensive players who were trying to kill me.

So my success and my decisions during the high school transition, was made possible by my faith and relationship with Jesus and also “psyching myself up” and raising my expectations of myself, so I could excel in both sports and academics.  I achieved an A- average for all four years of high school and I was in four sports:  football, wrestling, tennis and soccer.  Importantly, by the time I graduated from high school, I was addicted to both alcohol and marijuana and this was the beginning of my life of addiction.

High school to college was the next big transition.  One observation I have is that going from high school to college, I no longer had as close a relationship with Jesus that I had during high school. The drugs and alcohol that I was consuming served to block that relationship.  I was acting mainly on self-propulsion, but I would later discover that self-reliance does not work.  I repeated my high school experience with excellence in academics, but in college I was not in any organized sports.  I was always looking ahead to the next transition, which after college was graduate school in business.

Competition to get into the top business schools was fierce and I worked hard in college to achieve almost perfect grades.  I accepted an offer to attend a top MBA program.  I lasted a year and half and then dropped out for mental health reasons.  I thought getting a graduate degree would solve all of my problems and assure me of a successful business career.  I was wrong.

I just wanted to be a salesman and did not have the passion to attain a graduate degree.  I was ill prepared for pursuing the graduate degree because I really did not want to do it, but I was being influenced by my father, who thought it was a magical foundation for success.

Looking back, I should have had a long talk with my spirit to figure out what I wanted to do.  What was my passion?  Was analytics and numbers something that I wanted to spend my precious time doing, or would I prefer to help people directly and make an eternal impact on their lives?

Times of transition can be scary and the fear can paralyze us.  I am having faith that God is watching out for me when my hope is weak.  I have faith that Jesus will love me as he always has.  Jesus will lead me to the right path.

There have been other very intense life-changing transitions.  For over 20 years, I was addicted to alcohol, marijuana and cocaine and I ended up homeless on the streets of Denver, Colorado for one year.  That was a huge transition which almost took my life.

The next transition saved my life.  While homeless and living out on the streets, in Denver Colorado, I found a small electrical utility closet that I could open with a plastic comb and then lock the door from the inside.  Life on the streets at night was dangerous and deadly.  Homeless people were being killed by members of the Skinhead gang.  They were killing people in order to earn entrance into the gang and homeless people were easy targets.

Here is the transition that saved my life:  I woke up one morning in that closet and immediately felt the physical pain of pancreatitis from alcohol poisoning, mental pain in the form of over-powering fear and anger and a loneliness that I could feel like an aching pain in my bones.  I was right on the edge of losing all of my hope and desire to live.  I was terrified.  My hands trembled and shook.  I was like a wild animal who had been cornered and was ready to strike out.  I was defeated by drugs, failing physical health and extreme mental stress caused by alcohol addiction.  I was either going to live or die.  I had reached the ultimate transition.

In desperation, and consumed by a vicious fear, and with just a spark of faith, I called out a most powerful prayer.  Like a drowning man reaching out for a life-line, I shouted out: “Jesus Please Help Me!”  This was the surrender that made my new life possible.  Miraculously, two days later, I found myself in a group of 25 other addicts at Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota.

Jesus had helped me to bridge the gap between death and life and I began my new life of sobriety, sanity and joy in 1998.  Jesus brought me through this most dangerous transition.  My life is completely different today. because of the Grace of Jesus Christ, I have 22 years of sobriety, a beautiful wife, a son and a peaceful home in a quiet neighborhood along with two West Highland Terrier dogs, and two awesome grandchildren.  Most importantly, I am honored and humbled to be helping other addicts to recover and to find a new life.  I have had opportunities to do public speaking, telling my story to high schools, treatment centers and AA meetings.  Jesus is my solution.

Every addict will experience important transitions during their addiction and their recovery.  One of those important transitions is knocking at the door right now.  For each of you– graduating from outpatient treatment.  We can prepare for our important life changes by learning from our past mistakes and writing down our short term and long-term goals and asking someone to be our accountability friend to keep us on track to accomplish our goals.

After all, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail!!  Each of us will create our new lives either for the good or the bad.  We can choose lives that are dominated by fear, selfishness, isolation, desperation and a loneliness we can feel in our bones. We can choose to help others or we can return to a fear-filled dominated life . We can choose to surround ourselves with new sober friends or return to the hell of our pasts.  Remember, we are  the architects of our lives.  We are not victims. We are captains of our own destinies.

Remember, that three of the most dangerous threats to your sobriety are loneliness isolation and the environment that we choose to live in. Please choose wisely and protect yourselves from loneliness and isolation by making new sober friends. We are the architects of our reality which we build by the choices we make.  Important life transitions can make or break us and we can decide what happens.

We are all like sailors in a shipwreck lost in a raging sea.  We have survived the storm and we have been saved from death and now we are brothers and sisters in our new lives.  Pass it on!

I have published a book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky”.  The book tells the story of my addiction and my recovery and it gives hope, encouragement, faith and love to the suffering addict, who might think that he or she cannot recover.

”My life is a miracle and I owe it all to Jesus.

 

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.

tearsoftheclown

I am working as a LADC  (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor) at a chemical dependency treatment center in Minnesota.  Each day, I lead a three-hour group therapy session with clients in early recovery.  Of course, I am not revealing any confidential information, but I want to put the spotlight on one of the more interesting and sometimes effective defense mechanisms that can keep people at arms length and sabotage recovery.

I call this the “Tears Of The Clown Syndrome”.  If a person is participating in a group and they are fearful or insecure about sharing issues that are sensitive to them and are filled with emotion, then in their minds, they need a way to hide.  They fear being exposed emotionally to the group.  The person may be protecting pain or trauma that was pivotal to their personality development and how they view the world today.

Lately, I have seen this phenomenon displayed in group sessions and it has been holding people back.  So here’s what it looks like:  A person presents a happy, joking face,  like everything in their lives is just great and there are no problems or worries or fears. Everything is great!  When asked a serious question, for example about emotions or past pain, they immediately fall into the role of the clown and deflect the question with a comical diversion. The person is fearful that if they reveal their true selves with all of their insecurities, fears, vulnerabilities, sadness, anger, hatred, confusion, betrayal from others, disappointments, hurt and pain from past traumas or a feeling of being lost in the world. Secrets abound.

Many people are hanging onto, protecting and have vowed to never tell anyone about their secrets.  There is an old saying which states,  “People are only as sick as their secrets.”  Many human beings are being poisoned by their own tightly held secrets and often times they are not aware of their own self-deception.

Back to the Tears of the Clown.  When people do not want to reveal their true self, they lie about who they really are and what their real emotions are.  They do this to put up a defensive wall against anyone who might get too close.  This produces isolation and fear and loneliness, but somehow they believe that this sacrifice is worth it, to keep people at a distance.

The Clown is full of pain, going back years, but it is their pain and they hold onto it like a baby in their arms.  It is like trying to swim with a heavy anchor around your neck.

It takes slow and delicate communication with the person, along with love and trust to build a positive relationship.  Small steps toward sharing secrets and past pain and traumas can, in time, lead to relief, healing and peace of mind for someone showing signs of the Tears Of The Clown Syndrome.

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.

Only You

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Only You can make my life a beautiful thing.

Only You can make my journey have the right destination.

You shall keep me safe.

You shall guide me through paths littered with sharp cutting stones.   My feet will not bleed, although my heart maybe broken by stones I choose to hold in my hand.

Only You can understand this searching and restless soul.  Communion with You is our common goal.

It has been ten long years that my ship has been afloat in turbulent waters amidst a sea consumed by fear, rage, confusion and delusion.

It has been an eternity of chaos and a nightmare of self-destruction.

This ship without an anchor.

This life without a rudder.

This soul without a home.

The captain cursed at the world and at himself for his unfortunate luck, quick to pass the buck onto You, the weather or sometimes even fate.

In his heart, he knew he was a liar, that his ship was mean’t to be a great ship, but that he had made it into a pitiful raft in a raging sea.

His senses had been dulled by his own self-seeking.  His soul was reeking with the stench of self-deception.

He came to rest at the gate of great decision.  Having been lost and tossed and bumped and bruised with indifferent terror, he amused himself in pondering—

Perhaps You could set me on an even keel?  You can give this life of mine a strong and true rudder and sails to hold the mighty winds!

He had finally made his decision, however without much precision.  He would give his ship to You, the Master Ship Builder, who would forever be his compass and his North Star, shinning down guidance, comfort and hope.

This man had finally reached the end of his rope.  It was time to head for home and leave the sailing in the hands of the Great Friend.  In confidence, strength and gratitude, with emerging truth and humility, his soul was now at liberty to become the beautiful thing that God designed it to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

This is a love letter from God to you.

You are my child and I love you!

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)  I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)

I am familiar with all of your ways. (Psalm 139:3)

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Mathew 10:29-31)

For you were made in my image.  (Genesis 1:27)

In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)

For you are my offspring.  (Acts 17:28)

I knew you before you were conceived.  (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

I chose you when I planned creation.  (Ephesians 1:11-12)

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.

(Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.

(Acts 17:26)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.

(John 8:41-44)

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (John 4:16)

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.  (John 3:1)

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.  (1 John 3:1)

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.  (Mathew 7:11)

For I am the perfect Father.  (Mathew 5:48)

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)

For I am your provider and I meet all of your needs.  (Mathew 6:31-33)

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.

(Jeremiah 29:11)

Because I love you with an everlasting love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

My thoughts towards you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  (Psalm 139:17-18)

And I rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

I will never stop doing good to you.  (Jeremiah 32:40)

For you are my treasured possession.  (Exodus 19:5)

I desire to establish with you all my heart and all my soul.

(Jeremiah 32:41)

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.  (Jeremiah 33:3)

If you seek me with all of your heart, you will find me.

(Deuteronomy 4:29)

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

For it is I who gave you those desires.  (Phillipians2:13)

I am able to do for you more than you can possibly imagine.  (Ephessians 3:20)

For I am your greatest encourager.  (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.

(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

When you are broken hearted, I am close to you.  (Psalm 34:18)

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.  (Isaiah 40:11)

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.  (Revelation 21:3-4)

And I will take away all of the pain you have suffered on this earth.  (Revelation 21:3-4)

I am your father and I love you even as I love my son Jesus.  (John17:23)

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.  (John 17:26)

He is the exact representation of my being.  (Hebrews 1:3)

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.

(Romans 8:31)

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.  (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.  (John 4:10)

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.

(Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:230

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.

(Romans 8:38-39)

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.  (Luke 15:7)

I have always been Father and will always be Father.

(Ephesians 3:14-15)

My question is…..will you be my child?  (John1:12-130

I am waiting for you.  (Luke 15:11-32)

 

 

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.

Twenty years ago, I began work on finishing my first book, Saved By The Prince Of Peace — Dungeon To Sky“.

I also created a web site, dungeontosky.com  On the web site, I wrote 101 blogs (including this one) on the subject of addiction and recovery.  These blogs are my original, intense and heartfelt writings that communicate my experience, strength and hope while living through 28 years of addiction and a year of living homeless outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado.

I have decided to write a second book that includes all of the blogs I published on my web site.

The title of the second book is the same as this blog,101 Ways To Leave Your Addiction“.  I believe that addicts searching for recovery from addiction will relate and respond to my story and the hope that it holds for any addict.

We addicts face the most aggressive, devious and deadly disease on the planet.  About one in ten people suffer from some form of addiction.  There are hundreds of different types of addiction, for example, alcohol, other drugs, food, sex, power, money, gambling, obsessive compulsive addictions like hoarding, excessive exercise and many more.  Chemical addiction is particularly devastating because it destroys a person mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  It destroys all relationships.

The addict becomes overwhelmed by this simultaneous attack and death is often the result.  There is definitely hope.  An end to the suffering is absolutely possible.  I know, I lived the life of a terrified addict for 28 years and although it almost killed me, I found a solution.  The solution to addiction, and this includes addiction to any chemical, can only be found outside of ourselves. Addicts do not have the solution to their addiction within them.  As the Big Book of alcoholics Anonymous indicates, “We must find a power greater than ourselves”.  Each of us has the freedom to choose our own conception of a power greater than ourselves.

When I reached my final and 13th treatment center at Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota, the group of addicts and the counselors served as my temporary Higher Power, until I could make my way back to Jesus Christ.  I had separated myself from Jesus by my sin and all of the things I did while chemicals dominated my life.  Jesus never left me, but I could not communicate with him because of my lifestyle and my failure to ask Him for help.  Jesus is always available to help us, no matter where we are or what we have done, but we must ask for His help, then He will be with us.

The turning point in my life was when I made my final surrender.  As I mention several times in my other blogs, at the end of my addictive journey and the nightmare that it brought me, each night, I was sleeping in an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar.  My disease of addiction had progressed so far that I had lost 40 pounds and developed pancreatitis.

I was devastated emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  My mind was dominated by fear and anger and rage.  I was barely living and I felt like a caged animal.  I felt like I was on the outside looking in on the world.  I did not feel a part of the world and I had hate in the heart.  Prior to developing  the disease of addiction, I was a very kind, warm-hearted, loving soul who loved people and enjoyed being of service to others.  The disease of addiction destroyed who I really was and turned me into an outcast, burning with loneliness and fear and hating the world.

So what happened that changed my life?  Jesus happened.  I woke up one morning stiff from sleeping in the closet, I was physically very sick and fear was all around me, suffocating the breath out of my lungs.  I felt cold death breathing down the back of my neck.  There were people dying around me from addiction and  random street violence.  I knew in my heart and my soul that I was close to death and that I needed to ask for help.

My final surrender was simple, powerful and effective.  I got up out of the closet, and closed that door for the last time, and said the most powerful prayer I have ever said, “JESUS PLEASE HELP ME!”

Because of Jesus’s love for me, I have been sober for 22 years.

My story is a story of hope and comfort and encouragement to any addict either sober and not yet sober.  If I can get sober, then anyone can get sober.  Jesus became my solution and He has never let me down.  Jesus loved me when I could not love myself.  When I was in the process of destroying myself, he still loved me and He waited for me to come to Him for help.  I can tell you that Jesus saved my life and all I had to do was say, “Jesus please help me”.  There is hope for you and there is hope for me.  My mother’s faith also saved my life.  She said to me many times, “Bob, someday you will recover“.  When I was living in the alley, I could hear her voice saying,  “Bob, someday you will recover“.  My mother’s faith helped to save my life.

Today, I have been blessed with my wife Rochelle, and we have been married for 18 years.  We have a beautiful home in a quiet neighborhood, we have two grandchildren, Mickey who is 9 years old and Natalia Rose who is 7 years old, and two West Highland Terrier dogs who like to chase squirrels in the back yard.  My relationships with my family members have been restored and they respect me for the life we Jesus has  helped us build from the ashes of addiction.  They recognize and respect the miracle that Jesus has given us.  I am involved in service work.  I do public speaking at local high schools, treatment centers and AA meetings.   My writing and my web site are also ways for me to reach out to addicts with love, hope and encouragement.  I believe God’s plan was for me to go through the pain of addiction, so that I can help others to recover from addiction.  My life therefore has not been a waste.  If I can can help save just a handful of addicts, then my life has been worthwhile and my suffering has purpose.

Jesus brings us hope, surrender and love to open the door to a new life.  I pray that you find this door and walk through it to the blessed life that you deserve.  Jesus loves you.

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.

During the 28 years that I was addicted to the chemicals, marijuana, alcohol and crack cocaine, I could not see into the future to experience the Grace that God had planned for me once I got sober.  Jesus has been calling me all of my life, but it was not until I surrendered, that our relationship started.

Jesus has given me the precious gift of 18 years sober and my life has never been the same since I surrendered my life to Jesus and truly reached out for help with my disease of addiction. 

At the end of my journey and nightmare of addiction, I was sleeping in a utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar, because I would rather spend my money on alcohol, pot and cocaine than spend it on rent.  I was destroyed mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, and I had five near-death experiences.  I had pancreatitis and I had contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles.

I had many losses and here are just a few:

  • I lost my marriage.
  • I lost my career.
  • I became homeless.
  • I had five near-death experiences.
  • I lost my dreams.
  • I lost all the important relationships with family and friends.
  • I lost my dog.
  • I lost my drive and ambition.
  • I lost my self-confidence and my self-respect.
  • I lost my connection to God.
  • I violated my values and became a thief and a predator.
  • I was arrested 15 times, spent ten months in jail, and was in 13 treatment centers.
  • I lost the love inside my soul, and was filled with anger, rage, fear, desperation, terror and hopelessness.
  • I lost my faith and my trust in people and in myself.

Today, I understand that Jesus allowed me to experience the pain and horror of addiction, so that one day, I could share my love, experience, hope and faith with other suffering addicts.  I have been called to make a difference in people’s lives.  I am a public speaker to high schools and treatment centers and I am working to expand my reach.

I have published a book about my addiction and recovery called, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.”

My website is:  dungeontosky.com

In my experience, addiction is the most urgent and serious threat to the health of our nation and we must fight it.

Now I understand what Jesus was talking about when He said,

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called”.  (Romans 8:28)

If there was just one spiritual song that perfectly describes my life, it is “Amazing Grace”:

 Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within
 the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun, 

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise 

Than when we first begun. 

If I can get sober by the power of Jesus Christ, then anyone can get sober!

Peace and blessings to you.

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.

Any successful love must begin with a decision.

In fact, there are a series of decisions that determine a happy marriage or an unhappy divorce:

Do we stay together or not?

Will we communicate or not?

Will we choose to be selfish or unselfish?

Will we be of service to our mate or not?

Will we strive to live our best present or tear down our future?

Will we make a decision to love or to hate?

Will we give of our time and affection or will we choose to go our own way, thinking of nothing but our individual selves?

Will I make sacrifices for other people or will I hoard the jewels of my heart, my time and my love all to myself and live in fear and isolation?

When our relationship is at a crossroads, do I have the courage to choose the right path, or do I become a coward and choose the path of least resistance?

When I am feeling attacked, angry, agitated, disrespected or insulted, do I verbally abuse the other person, or do I patiently listen to the person and try to understand their perspective?

Do I think of other people before myself?

Do I choose to forgive or do I hang on to my resentments like pieces of treasured gold?

Do I work to invite God into my life or do I remain spiritually lazy?

Do I reserve time to spend with God in prayer, meditation and reading the Bible, or do I condemn myself to isolation and separation from God?

Once we make the courageous decision to love, life becomes so much easier because now we have direction, a compass in a turbulent sea.

God will always support a decision to love, and He will help you to stay on your best path.

There is one other critical and essential decision that we must make if our relationship is to flourish.

That decision is the decision to forgive.

If both people are to be happy and grow individually and as a couple, the pain of past mistakes and hurtful actions must be let go.

More relationships are destroyed by festering resentments than anything else.

Once we make the decision to forgive, the whole relationship changes like water added to a thirsty flower.  What once looked impossible becomes possible.

A relationship that looked dead, can come alive again.  Miracles can happen if we just take the first step of forgiveness and love.

We are never alone.  Jesus is the Great Healer and He will honor our attempts to create reconciliaton, love, forgiveness and positive energy with the one we love.

Every day, we create our lives by the choices we make.

May you choose well.

Peace 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.