There are no windows, the walls are cracked, and the collection of random objects lining the walkway from door to desk creates the appearance that this office is a converted broom closet.
It's a beautiful place compared to where Allison could be.
Allison, the former can't-miss pitching prospect from Peabody who once dominated baseball fields locally, statewide and even nationally, has battled a drug addiction since the Florida Marlins drafted him with the 16th overall pick in the 2003 Major League Baseball amateur draft.
He has suffered two heroin overdoses, admitted an addiction to the painkiller OxyContin and was arrested in two separate incidents on back-to-back days in North Carolina last October. His troubles have kept him out of baseball since he finished the 2005 season with the Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers, a minor league affiliate of the Marlins.
But the former Peabody High standout and All-American is on the road to recovery. He is living locally again and says he has been clean for six months.
"It was almost like, 'Who am I? What am I doing right now? This isn't me,'" Allison, 22, said of his most troubling times. "After all that stuff happened, it was like a kick in the butt.
"It was almost like a voice, like a Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder saying, 'Try to live a normal life again. There's a reason why you didn't die - and really that's the word for it. There's a reason you're still here; let's try to do something.' I heard that and decided I'm going to try."
Allison walked out of the Florida Marlins' minor league complex during spring training last year and hasn't returned to professional baseball since. It has been reported that Allison failed multiple drug tests for the team and has twice been put on the restricted list, where the Marlins retain rights to his contract but don't have to pay him. (He was given a $1.85 million signing bonus by the team in 2003).
He remains on the restricted list to this day, but he's aiming for a return to baseball. He's working for Steve Silva at Extra Innings, providing pitching lessons to young baseball players. He has added 20 pounds of muscle to his body and is throwing regularly off a mound.
More importantly, he said, he's living with a self-respect that eluded him during his time doing drugs and drinking.
"That's something I don't want to do anymore. I want to live a normal life, be productive, play baseball and settle down and relax for once without worrying, 'What's going to come next?'" Allison said. "I like waking up in the morning not wondering where, how and when I'm going to get this or that."
Getting clean hasn't been easy. But this time, Allison said, he has reached out for help.
He has attended an outpatient program and appeared at meetings regularly. In addition, Allison said he's received "tremendous" support from Silva and the people he works with at Extra Innings, as well as longtime family friend Tony Coppola.
Allison chose not to name the family he is living with but acknowledges how important they have been to his ongoing recovery.
"The people I'm living with have saved my life," he said bluntly. "I don't know where I would be without them. I don't think they realize how grateful I am."
Plenty of help
A little more than six months ago, Allison decided North Carolina was not the best place for him to be. He made arrangements to return to the area and begin his recovery process. It started as a simple goal he set for himself, and has turned into a stepping-stone that he hopes will lead him back to professional baseball.
"I said I wanted to try to stay clean for today," Allison said. "I used to tell myself that I'll drink tomorrow, just so I could stay clean for today - not that I was going to drink."
He made it through the most difficult period, the first month or two of sobriety. Now, he said, he has a new sense of clarity.
"I feel in control of myself for once, and I don't obsess over drinking or drugging," he said. "I'm programmed to stay motivated and do what I have to do to stay on task.
"I work every day. I'm working with kids, I'm working on my own issues, and I work on pitching."
Silva knew Allison's story before he walked into Extra Innings six months ago and was glad to help him regain control of his life.
Allison came into Extra Innings one day with Coppola, and Silva asked if he was looking for work. They worked out a deal where Allison could come in whenever he wanted but would be paid only for the time he was giving pitching lessons.
Silva, who said his family has gone through some of the same problems as Allison, said having him work there has worked out well for both sides.
"He's in every day before me, and he calls me if I'm not here. He hangs here all day. It's like having a little kid, but when he does lessons, he's really thorough," Silva said. "He's here every day whether he doesn't have a lesson or if he has 10."
Proving himself daily
Dressed in black mesh shorts with a Florida Marlins logo on the right leg and sitting in front of a computer with a Marlins screensaver, Allison made it clear that the club that drafted him four years ago is on his mind as much as it's on his clothing and computer.
Although he couldn't say for sure, Allison hinted that he will get another shot with the Marlins.
"When I get the chance to go back down there, I think they will be surprised at how I look," he said. "I have to prove to them daily that I want to stay clean and live a normal life and be in the organization. I'll do everything I have to do and work as hard as I can - whatever it takes at this point to keep me on the right path.
"As long as I don't act on a thought of drinking or drugging, then everything is OK. As long as I make it to 12 at night and keep my head on the pillow and go to sleep with a sense of clarity, then I'm good with another day under my belt."
Allison knows he's not completely recovered, but he feels as though he's getting there. He said he's also grateful to be getting another shot.
"The last four years, I've felt like a teenager or someone in his lower 20s in a 50-year-old's body," he said. "Today, I have energy, I have clarity, I have emotion and feelings. I can feel feelings again, and I love it. I love who I am and what I'm doing now."