Ex-drug smuggler, street-walking junkie, and now one of the UK’s leading addiction experts Mark Dempster has seen the depths of hell in addiction and found his way out to become a highly regarded Harley Street therapist in London, England.
It’s safe to say this guy knows what he’s talking about.
Having featured in nationally syndicated newspapers, television and advised on major drug policy initiatives, he recently sat down with Colossal Insights in a full-length interview you can view below.
During this interview, Mark outlined 5 vital steps that anyone can use to recover from addiction.
You or a loved one can use these steps to reinvent your life and change course from pain, destruction and dismay, to contentment, purpose and harmony.
#1: Ask For Help
This is the most simple, the most profound and the most difficult on this list.
Addicts are famously stubborn in acknowledging their addiction.
Although it can drive loved ones mad, denial is a facet of addiction itself.
However, the great news is you need never lose faith in times of crisis in an addict’s life – the reality is that crisis is the best thing for an addict.
Almost every addict had to get to a place where they could not lie to themselves or anyone else anymore about their addiction.
Once here, they could take the vital step of reaching for help.
Not only does this get them help and show them a path to a sober life, it also deflates the addict’s overinflated ego and allows him to listen to advice for the first time.
#2: Join a 12-Step Group
While it can be petrifying walking into a 12-step group for the first time, it’s actually a super safe place to be.
All 12-step groups operate on a philosophy of love, never judgement.
They see the addict as sick with a condition rather than as a ‘bad’ person.
While a ‘newcomer’ is under no obligation to talk during the meeting (which is on average about an hour long), it can always help to say hello so members can introduce themselves to a new friend afterward.
All 12-step groups have a rigid rule on anonymity, so it is not a place where people will gossip (an action they see as potentially fatal).
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most renowned of the 12-step recovery groups, yet there are loads and loads these days for people with all types of issues and addictions:
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) focuses exclusively on drugs.
Gamblers Anonymous (GA) focuses on gambling problems.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) focuses on issues with sex, porn, people and relationship addiction.
And there are many other fellowships focusing on issues such as food (Overeaters Anonymous), sex (SAA), debt (DA) and even for family members and friends of addicts (Al-Anon).
All 12-step groups take the model of AA and its famous 12-steps which aim to relieve the addict of his craving by turning his life over to a power greater than himself, reveal his secrets to a trusted ‘sponsor’ and make amends to those he has hurt.
Despite espousing the necessity of a spiritual life, contrary to popular belief, no 12-step fellowship demands a faith in God or any particular religion.
#3: Get Inspired By Others
There are plenty of people out there who have been open about their alcoholism and recovery.
How about Bradley Cooper?
And there are plenty more people you will find outside of the celebrity acting world with amazing stories.
Mark Dempster himself has a simply amazing story of addiction and recovery.
Going from a tough Glaswegian upbringing, to drug-smuggling across the world, to a homeless junkie to one of the UK’s leading experts on addiction, there are many like Mark who provide true inspiration to men looking to learn how to live sober.
Inspiration can also come from outside of recovery.
For instance, sports and fitness heroes, boxers, businessmen, politicians and top entrepreneurs (like Tony Robbins) live a sober life focussed on achieving goals and bettering themselves.
These too can form solid inspiration.
#4: Look at Internal Issues
While support from a recovery group and inspiration from others form an important foundation, a common denominator in active addiction is the inability to face past issues.
Whether there are experiences trapping your soul in the past, or actions you’ve undertaken that you are ashamed of, it is vital to begin to work these through.
Dr Gabor Mate has worked extensively around the internal trauma many addicts run from and must eventually face.
By facing what haunts you, you go through a major change.
You grow as an individual and begin to taste a life of calmness and freedom.
When it comes to internal issues, the adage remains true that if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.
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#5: Work Hard and Study
The final step comes down to good, old hard work.
As Mark explains in his recovery story, the addictive energy that traps men in the grip of substance abuse and fear can be used for majorly positive ends.
Addicts tend to be tenacious and ambitious characters, and with a sober programme in place, it is essential for them to feel emotionally compelled on a life path.
Working hard is also an amazing life lesson.
If being lost in addiction was the pathological drive to use drugs and escape reality, sobriety is the healthy approach to work for long-lasting contentment.
The difference between addiction and recovery is completely synonymous with that of boy and man psychology.
Hard work and broadening your knowledge is the bridge to all things your soul desires, and recovery is the journey of a lifetime.
It is your shot at becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
If you value the importance of modern man reawakening his powerful spiritual core and breaking free from his addictions, you can help by donating to Colossal Insights to ensure we provide the world with stronger, more direct, life changing content.