Monday, December 3, 2012

6 Ways You Can Make A Spiritual Connection

Throughout history, Native American tribes taught that we are all made of three parts – the mind, the body, and the spirit/soul. They believed that if one of the three were out of balance, the other two would suffer and so the tribal members made a daily effort to maintain harmony and inner peace by paying equal attention to the three basic elements of life.



Here are 6 practical ways you can learn to connect with your own spiritual side.
1. Understand Your Soul/Spirit Connection. Most of us have heard words like spirit, soul, and enlightenment. There are all sorts of mystical new age explanations of spirituality and spiritual topics. It’s easy to scratch your head and find yourself confused when learning about spirit and just as easy to conjure up images of ghostly visitors and angelic entities hovering above us. Forget all that, though, as you read the following simple definition of spirit.
Simply stated, spirit and soul are said to be separate entities, yet connected. The soul is the essence of our being; it is who we are. Spirit is the flow of energy that connects our soul with our Higher Power.
Our soul is our inner-self; it is the essence of our being. Spirit is the telephone line that connects our soul and a Higher Power and allows divine love to flow to us.
2. Trust Your Intuition. If you listen very closely, you can hear it calling you. There is a silent voice that whispers gently in our ear telling us there is more to life than what we see and hear in this world. Learn to listen to your own inner voice. It is how we listen from the heart, as well as with our mind. When we learn to do both, we are picking up the telephone that connects our soul with our Higher Power.
3. Find The Perfect Spot To Meditate. Whether we use the word meditation or prayer, what we are really doing is learning to listen to pick up the telephone and communicate. When we want to make an important phone call, most of us find a quiet spot before dialing the number, away from noise and other distractions. Find a comfortable spot to meditate, where you feel free to focus only on a two party conversation.
4. Learn How To Meditate. Most people think of communicating with a Higher Power in terms of prayer or meditation. Personally, I prefer to use the term intense relaxation when connecting with a Higher Power. Intense relaxation sounds like two entirely different things, but it is not. We are relaxing our body and our mind in order to focus intensely on making a spiritual connection. To focus properly, breathe deeply in order to relax your muscles. Find the most comfortable position for you, which allows us to release physical tension and the “busy” thoughts that constantly flood our brains. If you find yourself drifting back to random thoughts – and we all do – take some more deep breaths and imagine sending unwanted thoughts off in a balloon filled with helium. The goal is to share an informal, intimate mental conversation with our Higher Power. It helps to imagine your Higher Power as a close and trusted friend, whom you’ve known all your life. The kind of friend you can share anything with, including your deepest secrets and darkest fears, knowing that your best friend will never judge you or betray your trust. This is exactly how meditation works – your Higher Power is always there waiting to connect with you. The more you practice, the stronger your spiritual connection will become.
5. Meet Your Spirit Guides. This step requires an open mind. If you’re still reading this far down the page, there’s a good chance your mind is open to the concept of an afterlife. Faith and willingness to believe that you have a spirit guide are the keys to connecting with your own. While some people have reported communicating directly with their spirit guide, most of us have experienced a feeling that we are being guided, loved, and protected by an unseen energy at one time or another. Learning to meditate and trusting your intuition are two ways you can develop a relationship with your spirit guide or Higher Power, which many people have used to deepen their own spiritual awareness.
6. Visualize Your Own Spiritual Connection. As you practice the 5 steps listed above, it helps to create a mental picture of the connection between your inner self and the universe of which you are a part. Imagine divine love as the source of everything that exists. Think of love as the molecules that fill the spaces of everything you see on a daily basis, ranging from the car you drive to the stars in the sky. The carpenter that built the walls of your home used his love to create a safe, warm shelter for others to enjoy. This love comes from the same source that created the flowers, the oceans, and the food we eat. You can feel your soul, even if you can’t see it. We can’t see the air we breathe, either, but we know it exists. Imagine your soul as one telephone, your Higher Power as the other, and spirit as the wires of love that connect us all.
All happiness stems from a flow of love to you and from you. All emotional pain stems from a blockage of love to you and from you.
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Have questions, comments, or feel like telling me to take a long walk off a short pier? I’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome to 3 Steps To Spiritual Healing!

Today's topic from 3 Steps Command Control Central includes a brief introduction to a new program we're preparing to launch that is based on (not surprisingly) 3 Steps To Recovery - but with one difference. The new program is named 3 Steps To Spiritual Healing, which is designed to include people dealing with many other forms of spiritual dis-ease, as well as addiction. 


Just as addiction is merely a symptom of spiritual dis-ease, not the source of the problem, the vast majority of people dealing with depression, anger, loneliness, co-dependency, and a host of other issues also suffer from spiritual dis-ease. A spiritual healing is the cure and the 3 Steps are designed to create a spiritual healing. If you'd like to learn more about the 3 Steps program, email Dan@3stepstorecovery.com. 


Without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, here is your introduction to 3 Steps To Spiritual Healing...


If you’re reading these words, it’s because you’re meant to be here with us. That’s how spirit works. Not in some fairytale, mystical, hoodoo-voodoo way, where tiny elves dance and fairies dressed in ballerina costumes sprinkle magic dust. Nor does God sit around wearing a white robe and a long beard casting judgment over us from the heavens.


You are meant to be here because your inner-self has felt a calling to connect with an invisible, yet very real, extremely powerful healing energy known as Divine Love.


If you listen closely, you can hear it calling you. There is a silent voice that whispers gently in our ear telling us there is more to life than what we see and hear in this world. The voice is called spirit, which acts much like a telephone line that connects us with a voice on the other end, no matter how near or far away. The party on our end of the line is our soul, while the party on the other end is our Higher Power. Spirit is the telephone wire that connects our soul and this Higher Power.


You will learn much more about the meaning of words like spirit, soul, and Higher Power in this course. You’ll also learn three simple, but extremely effective steps that anyone can use to connect with a Higher Power in order to experience a spiritual healing of your own.


If you’ve suffered from addiction, anxiety, anger issues, loss, hopelessness, depression, relationship issues, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, bullying, or other forms of trauma, 3 Steps To Spiritual Healing might just bring about an amazing change in your life. We won’t guarantee it, as the results depend entirely upon the amount of effort you put into the 3 Steps. But rest assured that the principles of this program have helped many others to experience a spiritual healing and has given them a brand new perspective on life.


Again, thanks for joining us and we look forward to working with you!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Slice Of Humble Pie?

In my last blog post, Surrender was the flavor of the day. Surrender is a key element in asking for, and receiving, a Spiritual Healing that removes all desire for alcohol or drugs. In order to surrender our addiction to a Higher Power effectively, however, we must ask humbly. You might want to blow the dust off your old album collection and listen to a little Humble Pie as you read along.

For your listening pleasure, here's one of my personal Humble Pie favorites that never fails to remind me of my month-long vacation in Club Rehab every time I hear it.


When we talk about surrendering one’s will, we’re not talking about surrendering our will to live or the positive things that make us who we are in life. We’re simply surrendering the issues that we’ve locked away behind the walls our ego has built around them. Those issues serve no purpose, are the source of our pain, and need to get out of Dodge.

Imagine yourself taking your fears, childhood abuse, anger, addiction or other negative issues you’ve been carrying inside and placing them in your hands. You no longer have any use for them and you ask your Higher Power to take them from you. When you are working the 3 Steps, you are doing just that – placing all your problems in your Higher Power’s hands. Your Higher Power will be more than happy to take them away and replace them with peace, love, and contentment.

But in order for it to happen, you and your Higher Power must be able to connect, one-on-one. This is where the word “humbly” becomes important. Being humble doesn’t mean we must tremble in fear or bow our heads in shame before a Higher Power. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A Higher Power consists of nothing but divine love and never judges or punishes us. Our Higher Power is our best friend.  Asking humbly simply means that we must lower our guard, tear down the ego-driven walls we’ve built to protect us, and open ourselves to the hand that reaches out to us. Think of it as the Law of Attraction, where similar energies are attracted to one another. In this case, the energy is universal love. In order to attract love, we must open our hearts to receiving it, with no ego thoughts, no pride, or other obstacles to block the flow of energy. Imagine humility as being stranded alone on a desert island and seeing a rescue boat heading your way. You would be too lost in the moment to wonder how the captain found you or to question the rescue process. You would feel a combination of deep despair for having been stranded and an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the same time. This example defines a state of humbleness, or humility, in a nutshell.

Anyone that has ever experienced a sudden, intense spiritual healing will tell you that there are no words to describe the feeling. Gentle, yet intense waves of pure warmth and love flow through one’s entire body and years of sadness, shame, guilt or other negative emotions are wiped away in an instant – these fear-based emotions are replaced with a sense of calm and quiet strength that never leave us again. As a result, issues such as addiction, depression, loneliness, and other common ailments also disappear. We later realize that the pain we experienced were merely symptoms of deeper issues, and not the source of the problem. Do we become perfect people after a spiritual healing? Absolutely not – we will still have good days and bad ones and we will still have our faults. But the way we react to them will improve on a large scale. 

How does this happen? When we experience a spiritual connection with a Higher Power, we allow pure healing energy to enter into our being. This love displaces the shame, guilt, and other negative emotions that have ruled our thoughts in the past.

Think of ego as a man-made dam, holding back the water of love. When we open the floodgates (surrender our will), we allow that water to flow into us and through us, which is how divine love works. Love’s very nature is to flow purely and endlessly.

The way we open the floodgates and unblock the dam is through admitting powerlessness, humbly and sincerely surrendering our own will to a power greater than our own, and simply asking a Higher Power to remove the issue(s) that we have been unable to overcome using our own willpower. We must be very specific when we ask, however. For example, if you’re asking for help with an alcohol addiction, it’s important to ask your Higher Power to please remove the urge to drink. Asking only for your life to change is too general a question. By asking for your most urgent problem to be removed, we allow our Higher Power to form a stronger connection with us and to “zoom in” on a particular need.

Like most things in life, practice makes perfect, and we don’t always make the connection with our Higher Power the first time around. We often must ask many times a day over a period of days, weeks, or even months before we experience an intense spiritual healing. But as long as we follow the basics – surrender, sincerity, and asking humbly – it’s not a question of whether it will happen, but when. The energy is always here, with us, waiting to flow to us. We simply need to meet it halfway and our Higher Power will do the rest.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Does SURRENDER Mean In Addiction Recovery?

 
Anyone familiar with AA's 12 Steps has heard the word Surrender used more than once. But how many of us truly understand what it means, and why are so many of us reluctant to surrender to a power greater than our own?  

Truth is, no one likes the idea of surrendering to anyone or anything. We’ve been taught to view surrender as a sign of weakness. Society teaches us that only a coward surrenders to the enemy, while the strong and brave defeat their enemies – or, so we have been led to believe. But is that an accurate perception? Actor John Wayne never surrendered to one bad guy in the movies, but that only happens in our fantasies, of course. In real life, he lost his battle with cigarette addiction and died of lung cancer. His own willpower was not powerful enough to quit smoking on his own – more accurately, it was not powerful enough to overcome the issues that drove his addiction to cigarettes.

Sometimes, however, the only choices we have are to surrender or die. When the enemy holds a gun to your head, as sometimes happens during war, any soldier would be foolish to challenge the aggressor without a weapon of his own. It is a do or die situation, and the soldier surrenders in order to survive. In the process, many prisoners of war discover new strengths they never knew existed and become stronger than ever. He surrenders in order to fight his enemy another day. 

Surrendering our problems to a Higher Power is similar to surrendering to the enemy, but in reverse. The difference is that, unlike an enemy army, our Higher Power wants only the best for us. Hand over your troubles to a power greater than your own and your Higher Power will replace them with a new strength we never thought possible.

We all surrender to many things every day, although we don’t give it much thought. How many of us would be foolish enough to cross the street without waiting for an oncoming bus to pass by first? Would we refuse to surrender to gravity by leaping out of an airplane without a parachute or decide to step outside for a stroll during a tornado? Of course we wouldn’t do those things. We surrender to gravity, the weather, the air we breathe and passing traffic in order to live and survive. We surrender to them because we have no power to control them and because they are a power greater than our own.

Yet, many of us refuse to surrender to a Higher Power, even when we’re told that a power greater than our own consists of nothing but pure, unconditional love and only wants to help us.

Why do some people refuse to surrender? There is one word that best sums it up – fear. People are afraid to connect with a Higher Power for two main reasons. Fear of losing control and fear that they will be punished or judged by the powers that be, rather than loved and forgiven. These fears are based on past experiences, of course, and were instilled in us by abusive people that have hurt us in the past. We’ve been taught to shut up and keep our problems to ourselves, unless we want more of the same. We’re told that surrender is for the weak and to put on our big boy/girl pants and deal with our problems alone. And boy, do we ever try. We come up with all kinds of ways to ignore trauma and other painful experiences of the past. We work hard to earn money, diet and exercise to look and feel better, physically, or try to outrun our fears by staying busy in other ways. Many a workaholic is driven by fear of the past and fear of the future, for example.

Or we try more self-destructive forms of escape. We overeat, drink ourselves into oblivion, and/or become addicted to drugs, sex, relationships, or gambling. While working out, eating right and earning money might be better for your physical health and state of mind than eating or drinking yourself to death, they do nothing to ensure we feel happier about ourselves on a spiritual level.

Surrendering to a Higher Power is not about throwing in the towel and giving up on our self. We don’t surrender our best qualities when we surrender – we are simply surrendering the negative emotions, trauma and pain that have been holding us back from true happiness for years. It’s really more of a merger than surrender. We are actually joining forces with a Higher Power’s energy. We’re surrendering our issues to a Higher Power in the belief that a power greater than our own can, and will, remove the issues and problems that we cannot remove using our own power.

A Higher Power not only can and will do this for us, but does remove them every day for someone, somewhere.

Surrender is a mutual, joint effort, where people and universal love work together, one surrendering to the other on a constant basis. When a baby draws its first breath of air, for example, the universe is surrendering to the baby. When our bodies die, we surrender our final breath to the universe and the cycle is complete. For the entire time we are alive, here on earth, we exist in a constant state of give and take with a power greater than our own. Those that choose to take a deep breath and make a leap of faith with a Higher Power no longer view life as a battlefield. Instead, they join with and embrace life in a way that most people will never know.

Once again, we don’t give up the best parts of ourselves when we surrender to a Higher Power. We join forces with it. Our Higher Power is our best friend. In successful long-term relationships, couples don’t surrender to one another's demands (ego-driven wants and needs). If you've ever been in that type of relationship, you know it's a recipe for failure. Instead, they surrender to a Higher Love, both collectively and as individuals. They surrender to a Higher Love as one and learn to accept, compromise and love each other on a higher level.

Although one person might temporarily surrender to their partner’s will, rather than a Higher Power’s will, neither party will know happiness for very long. When we surrender to a power greater than our own, the negative emotions within us are not only removed, but are replaced with acceptance, tolerance, patience and other traits that allow us to love others in the truest sense of the word.

We can choose to hold onto painful memories of the past and remain sad, angry, guilty and unhappy or we can choose to surrender them to a Higher Power and live a free and contented life. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once stated that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” and he was correct. When we hand our childhood issues and other trauma over to a Higher Power, it is actually our deepest fears that we are surrendering. Ask anyone that has experienced a sudden, intense spiritual healing and they will tell you that their fear was the first to go. Imagine a bridge with a town called Fear on one side and Happiness on the other. Surrender is the name of the bridge that allows us to cross from one side to the other.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spiritual Water Of Love

Don't be confused by the title. We're talking spiritual waters here, not holy water in the religious sense. I have absolutely nothing against religion, for those that choose it, but this post is about connecting with divine love on a spiritual energy level.


As someone that was trapped in the darkness of addiction for more than 20 years, this song especially strikes a chord with me, as I often visualize love/light to be like water, in the sense that one of its main properties is to flow to and fill everything in its path. To me, these song lyrics represent a man that believes his water of love has run dry and he can't find it anywhere... he doesn't yet realize that his ego is his own little dam and if he'd just open the floodgates the water would flow through and fill him with love.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thought Of The Day

I wonder how many lives and billions of dollars could be saved every year if treatment professionals adopted a spiritual approach to addiction recovery vs. throwing prescription drugs at the problem. Handing out prescriptions for addiction-related issues seems an awful lot like putting out a fire with a bucket of gasoline.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Push-Ups In The Parking Lot

 
Alcoholics Anonymous members have invented many wise, witty, and well-intentioned expressions over the years.

A few of my personal favorites include fake it ‘til you make it, stinking thinking, and take what you need and leave the rest. These are especially helpful for the newcomer to recovery. While guilty of the first two in my early recovery days, the third was especially helpful and was, by far, the easiest to apply.

On the other hand, there were some that sounded like fingernails on the blackboard at the time and will make me cringe at the mere thought of them. The first one that makes me want to track down the originator with a paint ball gun is the guy that came up with this one – Your addiction is doing push-ups in the parking lot

Translation? While every AA member remains safe within the walls of a meeting, his or her addiction is not only hiding in the shadows, but is becoming hungrier by the day. This so-called helpful advice is another way of saying, “Be careful, little Red Riding Hood, the wolf is just outside the door waiting to devour you. You better lock the door and stay inside with us, where it’s safe, unless you want to become Satan’s next breakfast burrito." 

I have just one comment for those that spout this slogan – STOP IT!

Why does this well-intended, yet misguided bit of recovery advice make me want to toss my cookies? Simple. It’s because that type of message is designed to instill fear into the hearts of people, which is the exact opposite of faith

You know, the same faith that is required to bring about the spiritual healing that removes the desire to drink. 
The same spiritual healing that Bill Wilson and the other AA founders wanted to share with struggling alcoholics. 
The same spiritual healing that inspired the 12 Steps to be written. 
The same 12 Steps that both inspire and require faith in the lives of those that choose to apply them. The same faith that leads to a spiritual awakening and assures those of us that have experienced one that we need never fear our addiction again.

For those that have learned to replace fear with faith and were cured of all desire to drink or use, as a result, there IS no disease doing push-ups in the parking lot. But if there were one, it would be walking around in circles looking for its head after a Higher Power ripped him a new one. That’s what a sudden, intense spiritual awakening does to addiction.

Please allow me to don my Captain Obvious outfit for a moment.

If you’re living in fear of addiction, especially if you’ve been attending meetings for longer than three months, you’ve got AA’s original program bass ackwards. The original message was, and is, that a spiritual awakening will cure you of addiction. Those that have experienced their own (and there are many) will tell you the same.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Are You Addicted? A Simple Question To Ask Yourself.

 
In my last blog post, I wrote about some of the warning signs that indicate you might be addicted to alcohol or drugs. If you think you might have an addiction problem, then today’s post is written you in mind.

The first step in solving any problem is realizing there is one. It sounds simple enough, right? You identify a problem and then fix it. But, when dealing with addiction, it’s also the hardest thing to accept. No one wants to admit they have become a slave to drugs or alcohol. None of us like to think that our life has spun out of control, even as we watch it fall to pieces around us. We all want to think we can somehow learn to control our drinking or using, like normal people. The truth is, no addict ever used alcohol or drugs as a recreational hobby. From the first time we experienced that first rush, we were hooked, even though many of us didn’t realize it at the time. If you’re one of those people that thought they’d died and gone to heaven the first time you got drunk or high, then you’re one of us. That first buzz feels like nothing else and it’s a feeling we try to recapture again and again over the years. Forget about that magic ever coming back, though. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good, no matter how much we try to get it back.

How will you know when booze or drugs have become too big a problem for you to handle on your own? Here’s the simple answer to the title of this post – when the pain of drinking or using has become greater than the pleasure you get from them, but you still do them anyhow, you are addicted. There are no ands, ifs, or buts about it. Sure, we can tell ourselves that our current troubles are just a run of bad luck or a fluke, but if those problems are directly (or indirectly) related to substance abuse, we’re only kidding ourselves. 

am I addicted


Anyhow, that’s the thought for today. Don’t over analyze it, justify it, or bury your head in the sand. Just look in the mirror and ask yourself if alcohol or drugs are causing more pain than pleasure in your life. Be honest with yourself, make no excuses, and check back tomorrow if it’s the truth about your current situation.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Am I Addicted To Alcohol Or Drugs?

 
To those of you that have already found a way to quit drinking or using, I have just one thing to say – congratulations! I’ll spend more time writing about you on another day. But today’s blog post is only for people currently struggling alone, quietly, in need of help. So move along, already recovering addicts, there’s nothing to see here.

There, I said it. Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about you, my actively drinking and/or using friend. Before we begin, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Although two decades have passed, I still remember how it felt to live in the grip of addiction like it was yesterday. Addicts and alcoholics exist in a strange kind of Netherworld – it’s like living in a bubble of loneliness you can’t punch your way through, no matter how hard you try. Even worse, no one around you understands what life inside the bubble feels like, or that the bubble even exists, unless they have a substance abuse problem of their own. Even addicts that know the bubble well don’t dare to talk about it with one another. The whole point of drinking or getting high is to escape unpleasant thoughts, after all. If you want to find yourself sitting alone at the bar, turn to your best drinking buddies sitting on either side of you and tell them you think you might have a problem. In about two seconds, they’ll suddenly spot a friend across the bar they’ve been meaning to catch up with, grab their drink and run for their lives. That’s just how drunks and druggies roll. 

Every addict knows about the bubble. It's a great place to hide out from the rest of the world. Well, until you're tired of living in one and try to find a way out of it, at least. 
trapped in a bubble
 

If you want to know whether or not you might have an addiction problem, you’ve come to the right place. I was quite the accomplished addict in my day and got my masters degree in hitting bottom the old-fashioned way – I earned it. But, before I share my prestigious credentials with you, here’s a little hint – if you think you might have a problem, you probably do. Admitting it to ourselves is the first step, but we’ll get to that on another day. You have to be aware there’s a problem before you can fix one.




So, what are some signs we might be addicted to booze or drugs?

·   Family’s a good place to start – while most friends will tell you anything you want to hear in order to avoid hurting your feelings, most family members are more than happy to tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Some family members even take pleasure from it. Do those closest to you tell you that you’ve changed and ask what’s wrong with you? Do you resent them for it and start avoiding family gatherings because you think it’s them that has the problem, not you? Or do you find that the only time you feel comfortable even being around them is when you’re drunk or high?
·   Ever run into an old, non-partying friend on the street that you hung out with when you were younger? Have any of them ever stared at you oddly, as if they don’t really recognize the former friend they used to know? Did you gradually lose touch with them over time because they stopped getting high and you didn’t?
·   Does a silent alarm clock ring in your head around the same time every day, alerting you that it’s beer o’clock? Do you spend most of your day at work or school thinking about getting wasted later?
·   And how about that bubble I mentioned earlier? Do you feel like a stranger living in your own skin? Is there a silent scream whispering in your ear telling you that you’re trapped in a bubble and you need to find a way out? I spent many years trying to drown that voice with another drink or joint, but never could shut it up for long. The voice has an annoying habit of screaming at the worst of times. Mine used to jerk me out of a sound sleep and scream in my ear at around 3 or 4 a.m. The message was always the same – you better change your life, unless you want to die!
·   Have you tried following the voice’s advice and decided to quit drinking or using on your own, but fallen back into the same old routine time after time, no matter how hard you try?
·   When was the last time you felt truly happy and content? When was the last time you felt anything at all, apart from silent desperation and an empty, hollow numbness? 

If these symptoms sound familiar, you might just have an addiction problem. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and guarantee you that you are, indeed, an addict or alcoholic.

That’s the bad news. The good news is there’s a way out of the bubble and you’ve come to the right place to find it. Take a little time to review the signs of addiction, mull them over, and ask if they apply to you. If the answer is yes, come on back tomorrow and we’ll talk some more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Spiritual Experience Described.

During my time in rehab, we didn't spend much time talking about AA's Big Book. In fact, we didn't discuss it at all. Instead, our counselor handed us a one page, printed copy of the 12 Steps and said little more before returning to our daily, seemingly endless group therapy sessions. When he kicked me out of rehab on the 27th day of a 30-day program for not "getting with the (AA) program", all I took home were the visions of relapse and an early grave he predicted my future held and that one page, tattered copy of the 12 Steps. Dying before age 40 didn't seem all that appealing, so I sat down and narrowed the 12 Steps down to the 3 Steps that promised to remove the urge to drink, which was stronger than ever. The monkey was digging his claws into my back hard at the time I needed him gone THEN. A couple of weeks later, a life-changing, life-saving, soul-changing spiritual experience occurred, as described below.

It must have been the fifteenth or sixteenth night when the miracle happened. My routine had been the same that night as all the others. I started the night using the 3 Steps, as usual, asking humbly and sincerely, without fail. This ritual was repeated many times each night with a few short breaks in between. During those breaks, I’d talk to my Higher Power in a more casual way, describing how my addiction felt like a dark cloud, confiding my fears, and asking for help in overcoming both. This monologue had gone on for two weeks straight and I was starting to wonder if it was a waste of time. Somewhat frustrated, I started to ask myself if He was even listening. I never got the chance to finish the question. Out of the blue something jolted me, causing my entire body to shake and jerk. Every muscle clenched and released, repeatedly and uncontrollably, as if some invisible giant was grabbing me by the belt, lifting ninety percent of my body off the bed and slamming me back down. My chest constricted and my legs flailed, thrusting my chest upwards and releasing me again, which must have resembled a seizure. The movements knocked the breath out of me, which was frightening at first. But as the experience continued my fear was replaced with an energy I’d never felt before. Soothing waves of incredibly powerful warmth and love pulsed through my body, dissolving the fear and tensions I’d carried for so many years. It felt as if God had walked into the room, laid both hands on me, and penetrated my body and soul with some kind of divine electricity. I laid back and went along for the ride, alternately feeling like I’d stuck my finger in an electrical outlet and flopping limp back into my pillow. I can only describe the feeling as having been ZAPPED with the most amazing energy on earth, and for which there are no words. It felt like love multiplied by infinity. The experience lasted for somewhere between 15-20 minutes. When it ended, I felt both exhilarated and exhausted. Within minutes, exhaustion won out and I fell into a deep sleep. When I woke the next morning my addiction was gone. The intense cravings that had driven me to drink for more than twenty years had vanished and haven’t returned even once in eighteen years.

I’m not quite sure what happened that night, but one thing is certain. A miracle took place. No doubt exists in my mind that a Higher Power not only heard my plea for help, but reached out and healed my soul. Love walked in, grabbed my addiction by the scruff of its dirty neck, and marched it out the door. The inner turmoil and tension that had lived within me for most of my life evaporated in an instant and were replaced by a quiet calmness and inner peace, which remain to this day. Because this experience was deeply private and personal, I rarely talk about it and have never described it in full detail, until now. The reason for my reluctance has been because it’s difficult to believe in miracles unless you’ve experienced one of your own. Another reason I’ve avoided talking about the experience is because mentioning God, or a Higher Power, could be considered too “preachy” by some. Unfortunately, the only way to describe the experience is by telling it exactly as it happened. It is as it is. Whether or not anyone else believes a spiritual healing actually occurred is their own choice. The fact that the word miracle exists certainly suggests that inexplicable events have occurred throughout history. Some might choose to view my experience as self-hypnosis, or even temporary insanity, spurred by desperation. To me, it really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that it worked. My addiction was instantly and permanently erased, which was a true miracle, regardless how it came to be. 

I only recently learned that Bill Wilson and other founding members of AA wrote about their own experiences, claiming they were cured of addiction through a spiritual awakening with a Higher Power. I know their message completely contradicts the "forever recovering, incurable disease" mentality that so many have been taught in today's AA. But, I also know that Bill, Bob, and the others knew what they were talking about and that AA's original message was (and still is) the correct one. Anyone willing to believe in a power greater than their own can receive the same cure... but only if they want to be cured, fully recovered addicts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3 Steps To Recovery Book Comments

3 Steps To Recovery was written with one purpose in mind - to bring AA's most important message to those people that you will not find in AA meetings, for one reason or another. While the book has received twelve 5 Star Reader Reviews on Amazon, thus far, some people send their reviews to me directly. Others send their comments indirectly, while incarcerated or while residing in a sober home, and have asked family members to pass them along. The following comments come from those currently serving prison sentences or those that have received the book as a "friend of a friend", while struggling alone with addiction. It's truly humbling and touching to know that the book is helping others.

From the son of a close friend living halfway around the world -


“Dan...I have just spent the last 4 hours crying, laughing and totally engrossed in your amazing book. Why I didn’t read it long ago, I will never know. Every word had me captivated to the end.
I am 7 days sober as I write this and have not felt as clear headed or more willing and ready to embrace the 3 steps than I am right now. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words and inspiration, as I am going to read it again very soon.”

A mom forwarded this one on behalf of her son, who is serving a jail sentence -

  “Hi! Just saw the son and he says you are one smart cookie! (My term, not his). He is in agreement with your writing and said the book is really well done. He is being transferred to the next leg of his journey and authorized me to pick up his meager belongings tonight as I left - says to tell you hi and that he is very grateful, in agreement with so much of what you write. I look forward to reading your book, which I brought home with me.”

Through a Facebook friend, who passed the book along to a close friend that has been struggling with alcoholism for many years - 

 “My friend has read your book he really liked it and he has started using the 3 Step method. He did mention that he never liked going to AA meetings because it was always the same people bragging about their drunks or highs.
He has seven days sober.
YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!”

A woman living in Europe that had been addicted to drugs for 26 years - 


"The last time I cried over a book, a mother had lost her children, and now I’m crying over this one. Not because I feel sorry for anyone, but because of the love that speaks to me and puts things in perspective. I knew the answer all along and, then again, I didn’t. I know now that it is all up to me – that there is no one else to blame and yesterday I started meditating with a grateful heart. I feel connected to a higher power that is there for me. I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your book. It arrived three days ago – on the day that I most needed it. I will get back to you when I am not so overwhelmed and, perhaps, can give some better feedback. Right now I am just so filled with love and truth. Thank you, Dan. All my love to you and your family.”  

From a recovering addict who runs one of the largest recovery groups on Facebook -

 “Well, I have read the 3 Steps To Recovery book...I was very skeptical before reading it, but I believe my friend has nailed it down, for lack of a better term.   The 3 Steps Dan wrote about has simplified AA’s clear cut directions it takes so many of us years to find...and AA DOES STATE THEY DO NOT CORNER THE MARKET OF RECOVERY...WELL, THEY JUST MAY HAVE SOME REAL COMPETITION FROM THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK...CONGRATULATIONS, DAN!”


I believe in the 3 Steps approach with all my heart and soul. When I sat down to write 3 Steps To Recovery, my gut feeling was that the book could, and would, help to save lives, just as the 3 Steps had done for me. Knowing it's doing just that touches me in ways that cannot be put into words. Thank you, everyone, for the kind comments, positive feedback and wonderful support you've shared with me and others.


In order to promote the important message of the book, we are currently seeking people to post Reader Reviews of 3 STEPS TO RECOVERY on Amazon. In order to post an Amazon book review, readers must first purchase a copy through Amazon and so we are making a SPECIAL OFFER. Purchase the eBook version for $6.15 U.S.. If you like it as much as we think you will, post a 5 Star Reader Review, and we will send you a FREE, personalized paperback copy of 3 STEPS TO RECOVERY signed by Dan Farish, the author. To learn more, please visit www.3stepstorecovery.com. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BOOK REVIEWS WANTED!!

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We are currently seeking people to post Reader Reviews of 3 STEPS TO RECOVERY on Amazon. In order to post an Amazon book review, readers must first purchase a copy through Amazon and so we are making a SPECIAL OFFER. Purchase the eBook version for $6.15 U.S.. If you like it as much as we think you will, post a 5 Star Reader Review, and we will send you a FREE, personalized paperback copy of 3 STEPS TO RECOVERY signed by Dan Farish, the author. The book has received eleven 5 Star reviews on Amazon and has been most often described as a real page turner and hard to put down. To learn more, visit www.3stepstorecovery.com

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting The Monkey Off Your Back

Most people have heard the term “monkey on my back” used as a way to describe addiction. Personally, I find the word “addiction” too soft a word to describe the monster every addict or alcoholic battles in daily life. It’s too clinical, too sterile, and just doesn’t pack the same punch as the monkey analogy.

As a hardcore alcoholic for more than half my life, I learned a few things about the monkey. First, he never knows when to keep his mouth shut. It’s not that he’s loud. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The monkey prefers to whisper, at least during the early stages of addiction. Day in, day out, he whispers in the addict’s ear, reminding the addict that it’s time to party. He whispers because he doesn’t want others to hear him. “They don’t understand you the way I do”, he whispers. “I’m your only true friend. It’s you and me, brother. Besides, it’s nobody’s business but our own.”
The monkey is also persistent. He never, ever leaves the addict’s side. He’s always there to remind the addict that one drink or one puff never hurt anyone. Sure, he makes himself a little scarce when trouble arrives, but he’s always watching from behind the scenes while the addict works things out. The monkey never leaves for long because he can’t survive without the addict, although he never confesses the truth. Instead, he turns the tables, convincing his victim that he or she cannot live without him. The monkey is a cunning little devil.


For many years, I believed every word the monkey ever spoke. We’d been through good and bad times together, shared countless late night conversations, and he’d always understood me when no one else did. Or, so I thought. It wasn’t until I tried to part ways with the monkey that things started to get ugly. He didn’t like the idea. I tried to explain that my life was falling apart and something had to change. He just smiled and assured me everything would be okay, as long as we had each other. I protested, reminding him that things were far from okay. Exhaustion and alcohol were killing me, just as they had done to my sister, a favorite uncle, and two best friends. I let the monkey know he was getting pretty tiresome, too, and confided my plans to end our friendship.

But the monkey is also relentless. When I told the monkey about my plans to quit drinking, he fell silent. Well, at least until I stopped drinking for a few days. Then he wrapped both legs around my back, tightened his grip around my neck, and started screaming in my ear. He had no intention of leaving. He’d grown larger and more powerful over the years and there was no shaking him off, no matter how hard I tried. The more I fought, the tighter he held on. I was beginning to hate the monkey. Worse, he scared me to death. I spent the next three months trying to shake him off before entering rehab. The monkey decided to go with me and the battle of my life would soon begin.
The monkey is just a mental image, of course. The term is simply used to paint a picture of addiction, as seen through the addict’s eyes. But the energy that drives every addict to abuse alcohol or drugs, even after they want to quit, is both very real and extremely powerful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with "the monkey", there is a way out. To learn more, visit www.breakingfreeaddictionrecovery.com. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Do Addiction Recovery and Exercise Share in Common?

No pain, no gain.

You can read about the pain part for free at 3stepstorecovery.com. If you like what you read, you can learn about the gain part in the rest of the book. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Addiction Recovery Is A Tough Neighborhood

What do a bad neighborhood and learning to beat addiction share in common? They’re dark, lonely, scary places to visit alone. If you’re planning to enter either one anytime soon, you’ll need some back-up assistance.

Why would anyone require help doing something as simple as quitting alcohol or drugs? Well, because it’s far harder to do than most people realize. It’s not stopping that’s difficult – it’s staying stopped. According to studies, approximately 80% of people leaving treatment return to drinking or using within a year. The main reason recovering addicts relapse is because they have no aftercare plan in place when leaving the safety of a rehab program. Many people avoid 12-step programs and support groups, for one reason or another, and try to remain sober on their own. But few realize just how tricky and persistent addiction can be, and even fewer remain clean and sober for more than several months.

As any veteran A.A. member can tell you, help is there if someone wants it. Although Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other support groups have helped many people to remain sober, they are not for everyone. In fact, many new-recovering alcoholics or addicts that do attend AA often disappear after one or two meetings and are never seen again. Reasons for this vary, although most I’ve spoken with have said they simply felt uncomfortable and out of place while attending meetings with a group of strangers.

Thanks to the latest advances in technology, however, finding aftercare help has never been easier. Many Internet recovery-related websites and social networks now offer resources and information to help people recover from addiction. Private, one-on-one sessions can be scheduled at a time that suits the client, whether on the road or from the comfort and privacy of one’s own home. All that’s needed is a computer and an internet connection. Addiction Recovery Coaching is a great way to connect. Clients and Recovery Coaches communicate via telephone, Internet-enabled cell phones, e-mail, and/or text messaging.  Recovery Coaching is also a great option for people who feel uncomfortable attending A.A. meetings and offers an affordable alternative for those without health insurance or unable to afford conventional in-patient rehab treatment. Additionally, hiring an addiction recovery coach is a fantastic aftercare service for people who have completed in-patient treatment (or soon will), as that is the time when relapse is mostly likely to occur. In fact, some traditional rehab clinics now encourage Recovery Coaching as an aftercare option for people leaving treatment.

An Addiction Recovery Coach doesn’t judge the addict/alcoholic as a person, nor their past. Trained Recovery Coaches help people in any stage of addiction, whether or not they have received treatment in the past, or are considering learning ways to overcome addiction for the first time. We focus only on helping the addict move forward in a positive direction, based on the addict’s interests, talents, skills and strengths. 
Addiction recovery doesn’t have to be like going into a bad neighborhood alone. We can walk you through it, side-by-side, every step of the way. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about Recovery Coaching, please visit www.breakingfreeaddictionrecovery.com