When I first saw that quote from one of Dawn Allison's forum pages my first thought was that it looked very much like something Mae West would have said (along the lines of "when I'm good I'm really good but when I'm bad I'm even better!"). There is something very honest and true about it though...I mean we are always going to remember Madonna!
Both as Dawn Allison and her alter ego ‘Fit Body' this is one woman who has certainly been a leading light on the RX forums and someone I just had to get to know better. Her story is one of triumph over adversity and her willingness to present herself as an open book very refreshing.
What follows is not for the faint of heart....but it is straight from the heart...and no matter how you feel about what she has to say....you have to come away from reading this with a sense of respect for a woman who has experienced more things in life than we would ever wish to...but through it all emerged a stronger, wiser and, dare I say, lovable!
So without further ado, here is Dawn Allison, raw and uncut!
First of all can you tell us how you came to be involved in the whole sport of bodybuilding?
"I grew up riding horses. I took an apprenticeship training Arabian Show Horses upon graduating from high school in 1982. At 19 I moved to the U.S. to pursue my dream, as that was where all the top trainers and horses were at the time... When I was in Texas I met my first husband, Doug Young, who was one of the greatest men in the history of the sport of power lifting. He was a 3 x world champion and 3 x world record holder in the bench press. He's the one who got me into the iron world. He had opened a gym and I decided to go check it out with a girlfriend. When I walked into that gym it changed the course of my life!
"I competed in power lifting first because Doug explained that nothing would put muscle on me faster than that. I totaled 1118 my first meet which qualified me for U.S. Nationals. In my 2nd meet I won U.S. Nationals beating the reigning world champion by 92 lbs. My 3rd meet I pulled a 501 dead lift which was an unofficial world record at the time. After that I turned my focus to bodybuilding and, at the end of 1991, I hired Chris Aceto to help me get ready for my first bodybuilding competition which was Nov 1992."
You freely admit that you have battled your demons when it comes to addiction issues. How bad did it get for you and how did you get yourself back on track?
"I started drinking and smoking cigarettes and pot when I was pretty young. By the time I was in high school I was a hardcore drinker. Addiction is a progressive disease. By the time I got into my late teens I had started using speed, and from there I moved on to designer drugs. I started using steroids at 24.
"When my first marriage was on the rocks, I asked my husband (who was 20 yrs older than me) what I could do to save our marriage, he said quit lifting and party with him. So I did...and that's when I started using cocaine... which was also the demise of our marriage. When the marriage broke up I fell into a pit of despair and that's when I started using crack. I was instantly hooked. I came back to Canada the end of 1993. Those next years for me were a living hell. At the end of 1994 I started using coke again and by early 1995 I was hooked big time, and started smoking crack again. It was terrible for me... in the end I was doing rocks around the clock, my whole existence revolved around crack. Every rock I did I wondered if that was gonna be my last one. Because of the size of the rocks I was doing my heart was beating so fast I thought I was gonna have a heart attack. I had taken it so far I had gone into cocaine psychosis, which resembles paranoid schizophrenia. I knew if I didn't clean up I was going to die.
"October 7th is my baby brother Bruce's birthday. He died in 1991 of massive head injuries due to a motor vehicle accident at 21. He was the only one in my family at that time I really loved. So October 7th 1996 I went on a huge bender. Started drinking then went off to the coke dealers. Sideswiped 2 cars, then on the off -ramp going up the hill of the Port Mann bridge on the freeway I rear-ended a semi-trailer truck in my little Mazda and totaled it. Left my car ran across 4 traffic lanes and made it to my coke dealers then I went off to a couple clubs for more drinks. I got a stranger to take me to a friend's house. He wasn't home so I broke in & his neighbors saw me and called the cops. I fought them, they handcuffed me (to this day I still have a scar on my wrist from that) and took me to jail. When my parents came and got me, they took me to my addictions doctor who got me into a treatment center. When I went into treatment I was totally willing to do whatever it took to get clean and stay clean because I knew if I kept on I'd soon be dead. That first night, high on prescription diet pills, I went to the basement bathroom of the treatment center in the middle of the night, fell to the floor crying and said if there is a God please help me. From that moment on I surrendered and became willing to do whatever I needed to do to recover from addiction. I got clean and have stayed clean through the program of NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Today I'm over 13 yrs clean and I'll never use again. I couldn't even count how many car accidents I've been in, how many vehicles I've totaled or how many times I've been in jail due to my addiction. The places I've been, the things I've done to my body and the things I've seen, it's a miracle that I'm alive. . All I can say is God kept me around for a reason!"
Unlike some female bodybuilders you are very open about your use of steroids...how important do you think it is for women to share their experiences in this respect?
"I think it's hugely important for women to share their experience with their use of steroids. Problem is most are not going to be honest about it. They won't even be honest with themselves for God's sake let alone anyone else. It's very horrific really the side effects that some of us have suffered from the use of different anabolic steroids. It affects you not only physically, but mentally, emotionally & spiritually. At least if women really know the magnitude of the side effects then they can know what is in store down the pipeline.
"If by sharing my experience with the side effects from anabolic steroids and my story I can help just one person to make better choices... then it will be worth everything I've had to go through, and I will take all the ridicule and insults anyone wants to hurl at me."
You have also gained quite a reputation on the forums for your views on sex...has sex always been an important part of your life?
"Sex has always been extremely important to me from a very young age. We are sexual beings. Your body has needs you can't avoid. You have to fulfill the need for food, water, shelter, sleep and SEX! All these needs of your body are completely normal. Sex is the most natural act there is. We are animals & animals follow their instincts. Because of what we are taught we repress our instincts, we don't listen to what comes from the heart. We go against our own body and try to repress the needs of our body denying that they exist! It is mind boggling to me that so many people are uptight about something that is so natural. I have a high sex drive & I really enjoy sex it's a big part of compatibility with a partner for me. If I'm not sexually happy I'm not gonna be in the relationship very long. Actually a relationship won't even get off the ground with me if the sex isn't good."
With the added confidence you have in your body and the influence of exogenous hormones would you say that your sex life has become more, shall we say, adventurous?
"Funnily enough, no not really. I've always been adventurous when it comes to sex from a very early age. The only thing that I did after steroids that I didn't do before steroids sexually was be with a woman. But at the time I was also high on cocaine. So I am not sure if it was the steroids that were the factor in that. Although interestingly I know when I'm cranking (taking steroids) the hornier I get the more I think about being with women .When I'm off I don't... so there definitely could be something to that. But then I'm just been thinking about it, not acting on it. Its not like I don't actually have an opportunity to because there are a couple women in my life who both have been with women in the past, and they are in my eyes two of the sexiest women on earth, I could easily play with them and believe me the thought has crossed my mind more times than I'd like to admit to even myself. But I love my men, so it would be strictly for the fun and pleasure of it... couldn't make it the main course or an ongoing thing. More than anything I have a very interesting & entertaining imagination. And thank God for my imagination! As I'm into my 9th month of celibacy from turning over a new leaf in the spring of 2009. I am breaking the pattern of the type of men / relationships I have found myself in throughout my life. In order to do so I am doing the necessary work on myself. Figuring out what needs to be changed in me. This is a painful but necessary process. My imagination, along with porn, toys & the great technique I've mastered for masturbation has been my savior... or I'm sure as sexual as I am I'd have slipped back to my naughty ways by now!"
There may be some people out there (I suspect mostly women) who might accuse you of being too ‘out there' with regard to your sexuality...care to answer them?
"Really? Ha ha! Well all I can say to that is: TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE! Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter & those who matter don't mind!
"When you become wise, you become who you really are. You take off the masks. It's difficult to try to be what you are not, to try to convince yourself & everyone else that you are what you are not. It's much easier just to be yourself and realize you don't have to make everyone like you. If you love and respect yourself that is all that truly matters. And there will be some who love you, some who like you, some who respect you and some who despise you, but that's ok. Because you are responsible for your own happiness in life. The only one you really need to please is yourself. And when you get to the point of just being who you are, and not worrying about what others think, that is a very freeing place to be.
"Stop worrying about what other people think, or if what you feel like doing is practical, useful or efficient. Be silly, be passionate, BE YOURSELF, BE FREE!!!"
Aside from your devilish reputation you do have an amazing gift when it comes to motivating people...is this something you want to explore further?
"That's the cutest thing I've ever heard... "Devilish reputation" ha ha...love it! Well I love to motivate... myself and others! It's what I do, it's who I am. I always want to continuously learn how to better myself and help others to live life to its fullest! I follow my heart... and I believe that everything I've gone through has made me who I am. And because of that and how outspoken I am it draws certain people to me which in turn allows me to have a certain affect on people. When people really get to know me and who I am they are often surprised. You can't judge a book by its cover. A lot of people are intimidated by me until they get to know me, then they realize I'm all about helping people in any way I can."
You are also quite the ‘recipe queen'...so I take it cooking is another secret passion?
I love food! I love to create! I get that from my mom for sure. She's an amazing gourmet cook. I have just the same love for creating with food... but I do it bodybuilding style! Necessity is the mother of all invention... with bodybuilding food you gotta get creative or you'll go insane and never stick with it, because for me it's all about lifestyle... it's not just about dieting for a show, it's a way of life! I wish I had more time to spend in the kitchen, life as a single mom, competitive bodybuilder, full time personal trainer, coach, business owner, doesn't leave a lot of time for the kitchen, but I do love to be there when I have the time. Actually it's a dream of mine to have a food service / restaurant for bodybuilding style food!"
When people read this how do you want them to come away from it feeling about you?
"That Dawn's a straight shooter, an open book. A chick that speaks her mind and is not afraid to express herself. She enjoys the freedom to be who she wants to be. She is a very passionate person and has a huge heart.
What you see is what you get with me. There's no skeletons in this closet, come on in and have a look. I've been through a lot, but I have also grown a lot. And my chief purpose is to help others live their best life by expressing who they are & living a healthier more fulfilling life.
"We are born with the right to be happy & enjoy life. We are here to play and have fun. Life's short don't take everything so seriously, lighten up people! Laugh often, love a lot, live life to the max... remember that being fully alive means living with PASSION! It is out of passion that faith is born. When you surrender to your passion for happiness, for fulfillment, for truth, you automatically connect to the source of life inside yourself. Suddenly you feel infused with strength, with purpose, with something far greater than what you have previously experienced. Then you realize that faith has nothing to do with hope, it is a confidence, a knowingness that Universal Intelligence is working through you as you."
If you could do one thing to improve the sport of women's bodybuilding, what would it be?
"Drug test, so woman don't have to disfigure themselves for the love of bodybuilding. The side effects I've suffered and all the horror I've gone through trying to undo the damage that has been done to me from the use of anabolic steroids I do not wish it on anyone."
Tell us something about Dawn Alison that few people know.....
"People that are close to me know that I have a heart the size of Texas! People often get the wrong impression of me, they're intimidated by my look & my energy... but once they really get to know me they realize I'd do anything I could to help anyone I can.
"I love to make people laugh. Are you entertained? If so, my mission is accomplished!"
Finally how can readers contact you?