Allan McDougall endured a brutal childhood in southwestern Ontario as the son of a down-on-his-luck farmer and emotionally abusive mother. Frail from asthma, fearful from bullies’ taunts, and self-conscious from a persistent stutter, McDougall earned the nickname “Wimpy.” In his teens, he turned to drinking to find solace, and began a 22-year dependency. As with many alcoholics, alcohol wasn’t his problem – merely the answer to a deeper problem.
At age 19,with an alcohol-induced sense of bravado, McDougall began work as a miner in Northern Ontario – a career he remained in for 22 years, but that became a metaphor for the dark, desolate underworld where his alcohol-fueled existence led.
In unflinching detail, Breaking Through exposes the hideous underbelly of addiction. Despite the pain inflicted on his family, the loss of his marriage, and the toll on his health, McDougall only hit rock bottom when his body finally
Rebelled. The day came when he couldn’t take a sip of alcohol without throwing up. He contemplated suicide, but fortunately turned instead to his United Steel Workers (USW) union’s Employee Assistance Program for help.
So began McDougall’s struggle to claw his way out of his personal cave-in to a new life of sobriety and hope. In a compelling story that interweaves humor, reflection, and unwavering honesty, he portrays the rollercoaster of emotions – from anger to humility to elation – experienced while reclaiming a ravaged life. He transforms from childish, or self-centered, to childlike, or other-centered, as he learns to re-engage with and delight in other people and the world of possibilities surrounding him.
McDougall’s inspirational quest to become a motivational speaker, through both intention and serendipity, is instructive for anyone at a crossroads trying to change their lives. Now a sought-after speaker and international coordinator of
USW’s emergency response team, McDougall spreads his message of hope, while also infusing real ty mined from his personal depths of despair.
•When dealing with addicts, it’s important to hate the addiction but love the person
•The paradox that strength only comes from admitting one’s weakness
•Why those seeking change find that help magically appears once you’re sober
•How AA’s “Promises” serve as inspiration for change
With Breaking Through, McDougall sheds light on the tortured path of the alcoholic and, through his own instructive and inspirational story, how it is possible to climb out of the darkness into the light.
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