Author Charles Hanna is a Canadian success story.
But at the height of his entrepreneurial career his path took a dark turn. He slipped into depression, followed by addiction.
Then, at his very lowest point, a fluke of perception allowed him to realize that his addiction was trying to kill him.
In Higher, he describes his descent and the steps he took to discover a new path.
Then he offers his roadmap to anyone struggling with despair, lack of fulfillment, or addiction.
I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, the second child in a prosperous family.
Shortly after my birth, my elder sister died of polio.
My grief-stricken parents hired a nanny to look after me, but she was let go when I became so attached to her that I cried when my parents tried to pick me up.
Eventually, my sisters Denise and Mimi were born. Mimi and I became extremely close. But tragedy struck my family again when Mimi died at the age of three.
I was heartbroken to lose the sister I considered a soulmate, and as my family grieved, I became more and more isolated. I began to teach myself not to depend on other people.
Although my Christian parents were deeply religious, as I grew older I rejected their faith and even their culture.
My family emigrated to Canada when I was 15. To absorb the culture shock, I pursued an extensive education and became consumed with climbing the ladder of success.
And even as I succeeded in my university studies, got married, began successful businesses and rejoiced in the birth of my first daughter, I was still haunted by feelings of isolation and the belief that I couldn’t truly trust anyone.
I began experimenting with drugs to relieve my inner discomfort, and descended into cocaine addiction.
When I experienced betrayals in both my business and personal life, my emotional disconnection drove me deeper into drug use until I could not control it. I edged closer and closer to dying from my addiction.
And then, at the doors of death, a miracle happened. A trick of perception allowed me to see what I had become, and I realized that I could no longer trust my mind to make decisions that would allow my life to continue.
Thus, my recovery began.
While in treatment, I began to see life from a unique perspective. I realized that all humans, addict and non-addict alike, share a condition I call Perception Disorder.
I began to understand the critical importance of self-love. I learned to accept that there is something – call it God, Life Force, Creation – that is bigger than us.
And as I learned to work with this higher power, I discovered that we can alleviate our Perception Disorder and develop deep gratitude, purpose, fulfillment and happiness in our lives.
I gradually rebuilt my health, wealth and business and am now semi-retired. In reflecting deeply on my life experiences during the writing of Higher, I’ve become a passionate advocate of a system that helps anyone find gratitude and serenity in their lives, even if they currently feel hopeless, disconnected or unfulfilled.
I’m now writing my second book as I raise my 12-year-old daughter.
“You have a cardinal responsibility to protect and nurture yourself.”Charles Hanna