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Most people probably wouldn’t laugh while dangling upside down from the side of a 430-foot cliff. Then again, most people wouldn’t be stumbling around a mountaintop wasted out of their minds on a pitch-black night. I was a little annoyed after noticing the torn front pocket of my new jeans the next morning, but my indignation quickly faded when my friends explained what happened. My pocket had become hooked on a tree limb as I plunged towards certain death. My friends went on to explain how they had formed a human chain and pulled me to safety. I thought they were joking until they drove me back up the mountain to see for myself. I haven’t stepped within twenty feet of a cliff edge since that night. Thank you, my friends. Thank you, Levi-Strauss. And thank you, Guardian Angel.
I suppose most people might have learned something after experiencing a brush with death. It should have served as a wake up call that my huge appetite for drugs and alcohol was out of control. But it didn’t, not even after several more near-misses. By age 21, I’d managed to destroy four cars and my driver’s license was revoked indefinitely. The last part of that sentence had something to do with smashing Dad’s Ford Fairlane into a parked car while under the influence of barbiturates and alcohol. Most people would have learned something, but I wasn’t like most people. I was young, angry, and an addict in the making. In fact, twenty more years would pass before I finally got the memo.
This book is about my life story. I didn’t want to write a book about myself, but couldn’t think of another way to fill the pages of a book about beating addiction without including the events leading up to my own struggle with alcohol and drugs. Nor would I be able to share with you the life changing experience that cured a twenty-year addiction. That’s right, cured. I’m not a recovering alcoholic. Most addiction professionals will tell you the opposite. They will swear up and down that no addict or alcoholic can ever be cured and will forever remain in a state of recovery. They will have you believe that every addict is always just one drink or pill away from total relapse and ruination. Addicts are simply far too fragile and helpless to ever hope to defeat our addiction, they assure us. Our only hope is through rehab, group therapy, and attending 12 Step meetings for the rest of our lives. While this approach might be helpful for some people – and I’m not saying it isn’t – there is a simpler way to kick the habit, based on 3 Steps of A.A.’s 12 Step program, and that’s what this book is about.
But the 3 Steps approach to beating addiction doesn’t apply only to alcoholics or drug addicts. The same three steps can be used to overcome any type of addiction, including food, sex, money, internet addiction and more.
Stress is the number one cause of relapse for most addicts. Nothing triggers the urge to swill booze or score drugs like a fight with your spouse, being laid off from work, or any number of stressful situations that come along in daily life. Although we can’t avoid stress, we can learn to control the way we react to it. The solution is two-fold… simplifying and prioritizing. In the following pages, you will learn how to do just that, using 3 simple steps. Of course, I learned those 3 steps the hard way. My father always said I’d learn the hard way and he was right. I’m sharing some hard earned lessons with my fellow addicts so they won’t have to follow my path. After spending more than half my life complicating nearly everything, and drinking myself into oblivion as a result, I learned to appreciate the simple life. Simple is good.
I hate long, boring book introductions and prefer to avoid using big words when a short and simple one will do just as well. Some writers seem to love both. I suspect some feel it’s a way to impress others with their superior intellect, or maybe they think it’s what you’re expected to do as an author. You won’t find much of either in this book. What you will find is a true account of the life of a former addict, how he became one, how he struggled through it, and how he was cured – written in plain English. And, oh yeah - I promise it’s not boring.