Telling his life story so that it might inspire and help others was a dream that Allan carried with him for more than twenty years. Allan's upbringing was dirt poor—and deteriorated for the better part of four decades when, finally, he found himself standing before three doors, only one of which opened up into the future.
Allan came face to face with himself as a very sick, very broken soul, but an eternal spark that burns in all of us persuaded him to choose the right door. What followed were years of piecing a life together and freeing himself of the poison that put him in the condition of lying in a ditch looking down on the rest of the world.
Rarely has such a distressing story been told with such unsparing honesty, probably because the level of redemption in Allan's life has been as high as the lows were low. Allan tells his story in Breaking Through: Discovering the Riches Within.
The book opens us up to the life of Canada's hard rock miners and we are taken with evocative detail thousands of feet below the earth's surface, into the sweltering heat, the darkness and the danger where one misstep can lead to a grisly death at the bottom of a mineshaft. The dirt and dust, the grime and noise, the heat, the sweat and most of all the darkness are painted across every page. So, too, are the personalities of the men who live their days underground and their nights drinking in the saloons. For a sad fact of the life of a hard rock miner is that alcoholism, for many, is an ever-present occupational hazard. And this became Allan's lot for many years.
He is unforgiving in the details of his love affair, as he called it, with alcohol and his story offers a penetrating glimpse into the life of an alcoholic--the subterfuges, the rationalizations and, most heartbreakingly, the pain caused to himself and his loved ones.
The reality of how one alcoholic pieced together a life of positive contribution to the world speaks to the reader from every page, for truth be told, the clouds did not part or the birds begin to sing for quite some time. There were days when he again heard the siren call of the bottle, only to be saved, ironically, by a long-time drinking buddy who persuaded Allan to talk about it over a cup of coffee instead until the craving passed.
In truth, it was a year or more before the fog lifted from Allan's mind, but lift it finally did and today Allan's life is one of giving back to the world through his seminars, keynote addresses, speeches, interviews and work to alleviate the suffering of lives struck by tragedy in the workplace or in their personal lives.
As Allan states, and as we come to see in Breaking Through, alcohol was never Allan's problem. Alcohol was the solution to Allan's problems. This single point alone makes Allan's story universal because it provides, without trying to do so, an understanding of everything that lies in back of substance abuse of any kind. Hence, this book's value to institutions or agencies that deal with substance abuse, to educational programs seeking to grasp the mindset of addiction, to professionals in social work, law enforcement, the justice system or related fields or simply to readers seeking to understand more thoroughly the diversity of what it means to be human.