For those of you who have been waiting for this book to be published, I uploaded the completed manuscript of Powerless No Longer to Amazon yesterday, and today the Kindle version is available for purchase. It has been a long slog, and I’m really happy that it’s finally done. The hard copy (trade paper) version should be available in a few days.
The Kindle version is here on the Amazon web site. I will post another announcement when the hardcopy is available. The first chapter and part of the second is available to read on Amazon, and I will continue to post excerpts here.
I thank all of you who have followed this website over the years, and I’m just sorry it took so long to finish the book.
Most of us go on with our destructive habits for years until something awakens us, and unfortunately it’s impossible to predict what it will take to make a individual aware of their condition. Early in my own recovery, I accompanied some AA friends who were going to tell their stories to a group of men who were confined in a minimum-security facility for alcohol-related automobile offenses in Connecticut. These inmates had repeated arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and there were some who were there for what was then called “involuntary vehicular homicide while under the influence.”Continue reading
I’m not an addiction professional from the standpoint of education or training. What I am is an ordinary guy who had a problem, solved it, and would like to help others to do the same. This effort grew out of curiosity that began over twenty years ago, when I was attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, but didn’t buy the “higher power” concept or believe that I was powerless. I never worked a step, used a sponsor, prayed, or followed most of the other “suggestions,” except for one: I didn’t drink. Why was I successful when studies indicate that only 5 out of every 100 people stay sober for a year in AA? I drifted away after a few years, never to return.
It wasn’t until Mike Werner, one of the founders of SMART Recovery®, introduced me to their scientifically-based program a few years ago that I learned most addicts recover on their own, or with minimal informal help. Mike and I started a SMART meeting as co-facilitators that’s still going strong in Wilmington, North Carolina.
As I continued to learn more about the ways in which people actually recover from addiction, I became curious about how addiction works, why I behaved as I did when I was drinking, and why I had continued to drink even when I received little benefit from the drug. I did the research necessary to learn the answers to these questions, and many more, which clearly show that the conventional recovery establishment is based upon principles that have little or no relevance to how addiction works, or how addicts actually recover
Powerless No Longer is intended primarily for those who are currently in the process of questioning their own drug or alcohol use, or who have tried 12-step or other programs and not succeeded. Perhaps you have been told you are “powerless” over your addiction. I will show that this is simply not true. I will describe in detail a self-change method that works for the overwhelming number of addicts, three-out-of-four, who successfully recover on their own, and show you how to apply these principles in your own recovery.
What separates this book from others is the viewpoint and experience I bring to it as a recovered addict, and that I have combined in one place:
I will make some suggestions based upon the available science; there are no “musts” in this book. There is no single system or program that will work for everyone, there are only methods and principles that have worked for most and these have been uncovered in scientific surveys and studies.
I had a twenty-six year drinking career that began on my eighteenth birthday and ended in August of 1990. The last year or two were the worst. I was failing at work, my personal life was a mess, and I kept getting into one scrape after another. I was doing the kinds of things that hurt people, ruin reputations, and cause pain to everyone involved. There was one thing that would relieve the pain, but it was also the thing that caused it and so on, and so on…. Finally, I reached the point where alcohol no longer dulled the pain, but I continued to drink anyway. I had to. When I drank enough, it produced the relief of oblivion.
I convinced myself that all of my problems were caused by my wife, my family, my job, in fact just about everything, except me. I just wanted to be a good guy in a good world, but all these other people and things in my life kept screwing it up. At no point did I ever make the connection between the pain and the alcohol – never.
One night in late August, I was sitting in my living room, drinking, of course, when I was interrupted by my fifteen-year-old daughter appearing out of nowhere. She was standing about ten feet in front of me, nervously fiddling with a piece of paper in her hand.
“Dad,” she said with a tremor in her voice, “what did you think of the poem I read for you on the deck before? You said you wanted to think about it for a while.”
“What Poem?” I said. I couldn’t remember even seeing her earlier, let alone any poem.
She extended the paper in her hand, “This poem, Dad. I’ve been working on it for days.”
I looked at the floor, pretending to remember, and muttered something that I hoped was appropriate. I can’t remember what I said. When our eyes met, I watched her expression change from hurt to anger, then from anger to disgust. I saw myself, and what I had become reflected in her eyes, and suddenly I knew that she knew I was a complete fraud.
She crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it onto the rug between us. I remember how her hair swirled as she wordlessly spun on her heel and ran from the room. I couldn’t remember the poem, but I still remember her sobs.
I looked around the room, and realized that this was all coming to an end, and damn soon. We were living off sales I had made two and three years ago. There was nothing in the pipeline. I saw things that night that I had never admitted, or faced before. Not only was I a liar, a cheat, and a phony, I understood I was one of the few people in my life who wasn’t already aware of it.
I wanted the world to just stop. If it would do that, for just a little while, I could get myself together, and begin to make all these things right. I didn’t want to drink any more that evening, I really tried hard not to drink, but somehow the glass continued to fill itself. I drank until the pendulum clock on the wall bonged one, then stumbled up the stairs, undressed in the dark and fell into bed. As the room began to spin, I was filled with panic, because I knew I couldn’t face life without alcohol to kill the pain, and yet I knew that I would die if I continued to drink. I saw no third option.
I didn’t put a gun to my head, nor did I continue to drink beyond the next day. Instead, I found door number three. I discovered that there is a life out there that doesn’t require constant alteration of reality. Powerless No Longer is the story of how I discovered that life, and how most addicts discover it either completely on their own, or with minimal help.