When I met Ian I could tell he saw the truth of life, however through his experiences and stories it was intertwined with patterns of addiction. I saw that invisible label over his head that stamped his destiny. I knew he had more. We quickly became family friends after a season of t-ball where he coached my kids and the entire team with discipline, heart and passion. He took his time and made sure the children were building a good foundation for the game. As a token of appreciation I gave him the book, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I’ve watched him crack open into this awakened spiritual being who sees life in its raw form. His answers to my questions blew me away. It’s everything I dreamed in how we can heal addiction. I am most grateful for Ian, his lovely wife Kendall and amazing kids. He’s got a gift and he’s sharing it with you today…enjoy.
What is your addiction and its pattern?
I was addicted to opiates and am a recovering alcoholic. My addiction was more like a self-prescribed medicine. As if I was a certified doctor, I would write my prescription to pills and a bottle of whatever liquor I could afford. Like most, I started young and curious, but it was as if I had a sleeping or dormant monster inside of me waiting to awaken from the depths. My childhood wasn’t the best; my mom was an alcoholic and left my brother and me when we were seven and four-years-old. My dad did the best he could while struggling with his own addictive demons. Point being, the gene was inside me, the environment was right, and once I started I was off to the races, slowly at first then going full speed into destruction.
My self-prescribed pattern was the worst in the beginning. As I truly became an addict/alcoholic there wasn’t a day I was sober. I would wake up in the middle of the night and lull myself to sleep by the puff of my pipe and the smoke of weed dancing in my lungs, only to wake up around 6ish. I’d skate up to the liquor store and purchase a bottle of some cheap charcoal filtered vodka, usually throwing up after the first swig. Eventually the pattern began — breakups, DUI, jail, fights, criminal activity, lying, and ruining all the relationships I had ever known. It finally got to a point where I had to find new friends. Friends that didn’t know my past, strictly so I could begin the pattern with them as well.
I eventually came to terms that the motto, “live fast, die young” was going to define me. I resolved it myself – I was going to do whatever I wanted and anyone in my way was going to get run over if they didn’t hop on or move.
How did you find Spirituality?
First I would like to say I think we are all connected to a higher power, an energy that we are a part of from the beginning. Just like a child is born from their mother, they are connected and as we are born from God, no matter what or who your God is, we are connected with it, him, she, etc… Meaning, I don’t think I found it. I think I made room and unknowingly created an opening inside myself by knocking down all the barriers I had built up over the years.
I found sobriety in the haze of conventional sobriety programs. I heard it in the voices of people when they became naked in their vulnerabilities. And I felt it when I decided to observe from within, shutting off my ego and mind and becoming present in the moment of now.
Spirituality is all around us, in the smile of my wife and children, in the warm wind on my face, in the sun shining down on the leaves of a tree. Isn’t it cool to know that the same air Alexander the Great breathed is still capable of filling your lungs?
The problem is we build walls, huge concrete walls blocking us from experiencing it. We constantly think about the past and project this into the future, listening to the voices in our head. There’s a crazy guy inside us playing the scenarios of what has happened. He overwhelms us with fear and anger, of what could and should happen.
I found spirituality by becoming present in everything I did. By working hard to be honest, and striving to become a good husband and father. I found spirituality by being accountable for my actions and being vulnerable with my emotions.
Each time I knocked down an internal wall it got me that much closer to God and, consequently, good energy. Eventually I tore all of them down and felt connected with the whole universe of life. I am guilty of building additional walls throughout the process, don’t misunderstand me, but each time I take a moment to breathe I’m able to get out that sledgehammer to knock them down again.
When I realized we were all from the same core, I truly understood the meaning of life and have been able to work on it daily, it has allowed me to stay within its grasp and for that I am truly thankful.
How is addiction connected to your physical body?
It’s connected like a piece of unwrapped candy on an anthill. It overwhelms you. It crawls into your body affecting the muscular system, cramping and disintegrating your strength. It wears down and blocks your intestines from eliminating waste, taking up residence inside your body like a stow-away.
It was ruining my skin and eyes and, worst of all, it had affected my brain. Like a downloaded virus it was blocking all rationale and emotion in my brain. The body became consumed, hijacked by toxins while the mind sat back and allowed it to happen.
Addiction is the secret agent that infiltrates and eventually embeds itself into your system.
Do you believe Spirituality can heal addiction?
I would have to answer “yes” to that because it is the exact reason I am sober today. Spirituality isn’t wearing a robe or living in a temple; becoming celibate or tithing or anything you get from an organized religion.
Don’t get me wrong, religion works for a lot of people and does great things.
Spirituality heals addiction because it is, in all things, good. Be a good friend, be honest and work hard. Stay humble when you achieve and share those accomplishments around you. Live in the moment and laugh, play games with your kids and love your wife. We are connected, all of us together. If I project positive energy it will draw you in, like a magnet.
Spirituality and positive energy is a resource we all have access to and surrounds us everyday. Why not allow it to fill your soul and radiate to others? Shut off your thoughts for a few minutes and feel. Be the first to say sorry and thank you and never be afraid to admit you’re wrong. The soul is like a glass of water, fill it up and let it spill over to all those around you. You would be surprised how many people are thirsty.
Have you ever relapsed? If so, why?
Yes, I have. Each time I did I hurt myself and people around me more and more.
I relapsed because I allowed myself to disconnect from the soul or spirituality. I became the engineer of my life instead of the conscious observer. I really shut off my creative side and began to slowly creep back into the ego of my mind. I didn’t read, I didn’t talk to God, and I stopped writing. I just worked and slept and eventually my ego got the best of me. I started listening to the voice in my head tell me I was more mature now, I had it handled and I was going to prove to everyone I was normal. I began to live in the world and not of the heart.
The duality of the mind and heart is a life long journey. Of course we think about paying bills, building something at work, or driving on the freeway, but why would we ever think about sobriety?
My soul and heart is where the answer should come from.
And If I would’ve listened to my heart my addiction would never have happened. No one wants to hurt their families and themselves, it’s the ego tricking you, and that’s why spirituality can save lives. It can help you keep sober because if you listen to your heart the soul will guide you. It will guide you on a spiritual path that changes you and all the people around you for the better. It will take you on a journey you never would have imagined.