During The ‘Mess Age’ Part 2
It is important to mention that at the time when I was going through the chaos, I was also wearing out my body. Being 35,000 feet above ground as often as I was, was not normal. I booked more airtime than an astronaut.
I travelled 100% of the time for what would become almost 15 years, and it was taking a toll on my body. I started taking a prescription med that further complicated the dichotomy of using on the weekends, and being a wannabee genius during the week.
I felt like I had multiple personalities because I there was the corporate me that made it financially possible to appear cool, that battled the cool, trying-to-be-accepted me (with those who didn’t deserve me).
This prescription drug had serious psychological side effects including depression, nightmares, hallucinations, impaired concentration, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. I can easily validate this.
Many prescription drugs causes changes in mental status. They treat completely different ailments, such as smoking cessation, sleeping, blood pressure, acne, contraception, steroids, and even depression. All of these prescriptions can make you depressed, anxious, paranoid, and even suicidal. I’ve experienced this. I’ve done the research. Do it for your own enlightenment and you may be surprised.
I later found that the side effects were more likely with patients who used cocaine in the past. Hell, I was taking the prescription, and using too! …Complete insanity!
Initially I was miserably confused, feeling guilt, shame, and fear of God all at the same time.
Coincidentally, not one of my friends or family members, with maybe the exception of Lorenzo, came to my aid. Looking back on this now, it’s all so clear. I believe that my family knew, but none tried to help me. My so-called friends gossiped about my downfall.
But I had faith and prayed, and meditated my way through this trap. I began writing in 2001. Most of my initial poems were about this battle, that began over 20 years ago, and ended over 10 years ago. My writings, meditation, prayer, and lifestyle changes would become my first forms of therapy and steps toward significant progress, to getting to the root of my using drugs.
It may seem ironic to you, but I never considered myself an addict.
I never accepted calling myself an addict, as AA requires. My life was not unmanageable through this chaos. I managed my consulting practice, investments, travel, finance, and lifting others up through this process. I did not use often, because I was on the road and work was my priority.
And, most importantly, I was miserable when I used, stoic, paranoid, and distant. When high, I was deeply stricken with shame, because I believed in God, and I knew that I was disappointing him with my choices. I felt that he would make me pay for this. Perhaps my payment was the brutal caregiving battle that I would later face.
I never accepted the addict title also because I just don’t believe in being shamed into submission. I still don’t, and feel pity for people in very vulnerable states whose minds can be manipulated like putty, as was mine by the people surrounding me.
I was thinking quite the opposite. I felt as though I was very gifted and talented, and had a lot to offer the world, and had better not let the distraction of drugs, friends, family, and being accepted, impede me from God’s purpose.
Though I would later support Saia, a friend, through a successful recovery, and attended AA meetings with him, I never attended for myself. I knew that I had to eliminate drugs, but did not choose to do it following the 12-step program, though I learned some valuable things from attending the meetings.
AA does not allow you to not pick and choose the steps that resonate with you. So, I never entered AA or any program. I chose to do it strictly on faith and discipline, subscribing to only tidbits of AA principles if they resonated with me.
Conveniently I associated my drug escapades more with the prescription medication I was taking than with what I sniffed up my nose. I even went to a doctor about the medication’s effects, and they prescribed Ambien for sleep, which only made matters worse. Though I may have been in denial of the impact of the illicit drug I used, the prescriptions were also a serious factor.
I remained hopeful and was determined to resolve this issue, which I eventually did, but not as quickly as I thought I would. I later appreciated that this process would take a lot of hard work, over years to eliminate. I only later realized that my recovery would also begin my spiritual transformation. My recovery required that I strictly depend on God, not man. Through my trust in him, he ultimately made me a new man. When I became freed from coke use, I was freed in spirit too.
God then threw me a blessing to take me away from all of the madness. I was offered another six-figure job as IT Director of a dot com in San Francisco. I was stolen away from the software company by my new employer, just as the software company stole me from CNN. I gave the decision to accept the offer much thought, because I had only been in my newly built and furnished home for about a year, and would have to give up nearly everything to move the San Francisco.
After thinking about Ken, and what role he played in this ordeal, ‘as a friend’, I knew that I needed to get away from this crowd. Ken supplied, and partied with us, but we were declining before his eyes, but he still had to ‘make that money’.
He had two or three roommates, who used his product heavily, later die. Brady later died. I was probably next on this list but was not going to allow that to happen to me, so I started selling off and giving away expensive personal and household items, and moved to San Francisco.
Ken would eventually stop using himself, but continued supplying.
Ken seemed a bit heartless to me, based not only on his entrepreneurial profession, if you want to call it that, but in attitude too. When referring to his friends who died, or who were sick before dying, he would very arrogantly call them stupid for not knowing how to control their drug use, and not taking better care of themselves. He never expressed any regret that I ever heard.
He was always condescending toward me too. I think he may have been jealous of me because I exceeded him in success, and I did so honestly. He may have wanted to see my dependency get worse and my ultimate collapse. That did not happen, though.
“The predator wants your silence. It feeds their power, entitlement, and they want it to feed your shame.” – Viola Davis
I thought about Sonny and Dale. I felt that they used me. I forgave them though. I did an assessment of my friends in Atlanta, and realized the obvious. I was not hanging around people of my caliber. I knew this. It’s kind of hard to not notice as each year I was earning, acquiring, and travelling more, while my compadres remained the same, declined, or died.
I hung around them because of that simple but untrue adage popular in the black community, ‘Don’t forget where you came from’. I definitely didn’t want to be considered a snob or elitist like my sisters Jackie or Annette, or my sister-in-law Leona, but at the same time, I wasn’t a lowlife either. I had to find my lane, but the one I was in definitely was not it.
I thought about my family, my sisters in particular. They had a history of being in each other’s business, and I am sure that they were discretely into mine and knew of my drug challenges.
For years they would have regular calls amongst themselves to ‘dog’ the one family member of the week whose turn it was, in which we all had our chance in that role. It was a circulating role. Certainly they had such conversations about me. But, no one came to my aid, support, or included me in such conference calls.
My sister Felicia would later attempt to help by explaining to me her cult version of God, describing him as a mean God, and insisting I could not live ‘in the world’ and outside of it at the same time. She would say, ‘Let me tell you how it reaaly is.’ She supposedly came to my aid, but gave me such a dismal account of who God was, I was, and life in general, that I had to get away from her, and certainly not rely on her for inspiration and guidance again. She too seemed lost.
I am proud today that I can be so candid about something so personal. It took many years for me to get to this point.
I feel no shame for these events, and thank God that they occurred.
It was the prelude to my spiritual transformation, and taught me many lessons about how people respond when you become successful, as well as, when you fail.
They seemed more freaked out over both my drastic success and decline, than I was.
I Have No Shame In My Game
“Never be ashamed of what you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion that you want, and to do what makes you happy. That’s my life motto.” – Demi Lovato
I have absolutely no shame of my experiences, all of them, drug challenges included.
I conquered them over 10 years ago and was transformed through the process. It is pleasant to reflect on the pain and fear, juxtaposed with my higher understanding today.
My growth is on full display by revealing this aspect of my life.
I am quick to tell anyone, namely family and former friends, to ‘fuck off’, if they come to me with judgments about my past.
The true gauge that they should read, is where I am today.
I know that I am firmly grounded today, and based on many of their actions, they still seem to have a much longer way to go to get there, holy rollers included.
Many of them are addicted themselves, to food, retail, gossip, flirting, manipulating, gambling, alcohol, work, money, exercise, television, running,or the internet.
At first glance, some addictions in the list may seem like soft addictions, versus my hard addiction (I hate that word but must use it). An undiscerned mind would draw that same conclusion.
But all addictions, all of them, have the same root cause. Many generalize that the cause is emotional or psychological pain, but I will be more specific:
Most addictions stem from fear of loneliness and emptiness.
The object that we find to stimulate us from our fear is supposedly our relief. It’s not our fault that we reach out for relief in this way though. We’ve been trained since childhood to escape, whenever we didn’t want to address something that displeases us.
Continuing to seek outside stimulation works for a while, but after years, on into adulthood, we begin to feel guilty and dirty. This leads to depression, anxiety, crisis, and even death. The first three manifested in my life, luckily not the last one.
“One of the reasons I was so unhappy for years was because I never embraced my emotions and I was trying to stay in control.” – Demi Lovato
Many are not emotionally mature enough to deal with their addictions head on. In the case of my family and friends, they didn’t seem humble enough to admit that they had anything to deal with. So, surely they did not reflect in stillness to turn their tide. Maybe they did, but it just wasn’t apparent to me.
But to conquer any addiction, we must go through the emotional pain, addressing our fear of being alone, before we can conquer our addictive behaviors.
Most try to avoid this internal pain. But internal pain can be a tool for growth and should not be shunned.
Most people who were in my circle, in my mess, during my ‘mess age’, and who are friends and family today, are all addicted. It may not be to coke. Maybe secretly it is. I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter.
All addictions have the same root cause. None is worse than the other. What varies is a person’s emotional maturity, and their ability to address their demons head on.
I did, successfully.
“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.” – Demi Lovato
Most importantly, my addictive behavior built a bridge that I used to cross over to God. Coke led me to God, in a relatively short time, without me having to suffer any devastating damage.
By Kevy Michaels
I enjoy speaking to my soul
I visit my soul daily
He is renewing and uplifting
For my soul knows me better than me
My soul always provides the right direction
And gives me the courage to move on in faith
Whenever I reach life’s crossroads
I just allow my soul to navigate
That soul of mine is my best friend
Never ignoring me when I am confused
Whatever the problem is
I tell him about it
And simple whispers leave them diffused
When I told him I wanted to give up
He told me to be that I was born to win
When I hated myself
He said that my beauty lies within
When I felt my life was ruined
He counted all of my blessings
When others doubted me
My soul reminded me of my true essence
One day I needed to talk to him
I called and called
…But to no avail
I then heard a voice in my ear
It was HE
For my soul never fails
He said, ‘I am sorry you could not get through
You really need to talk to me in your condition’
‘But this time, let’s do things differently
I usually don’t call you
Because I know you’ll come running to me
But this time I’m here for you,
Because don’t like what I see’
He said, ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you’
‘But wasn’t really sure that it was wise’
‘And, each time you came to me
Your vulnerability made it hard to criticize’
My soul said, ‘I just want to say this!’
‘You disappoint me so, by the things that you do!’
‘You follow my advice in dire times of need
Then go right back to being you’
‘Please realize’, my soul said
‘You upset me when you treat me like someone else’
‘Though my advice uplifts your moments of grief’
‘You’re not realizing
That I am your true self’
‘You don’t have to call on me’
‘Just as a friend, when you’re feeling blue’
He continued ‘the more we continue to talk’
‘The more I will become you’
I took heed to his advice
And don’t call on my soul anymore
…Or anyone else
The decisions that I make now
Are made all by myself
It’s not that I dismissed my soul
Or brought our friendship to an end
It’s through those conversations,
That now I realize that
My soul is who I really am
My soul is who I really am
And I know him
What Does This Have To Do With My Caregiving Terror?
Here is where I get to give valuable advice. It is cliché, so don’t expect anything prophetic.
“Never feel ashamed because of people’s judgement of you. Never feel shame period. Every experience is manufactured specifically for us. Each of our experiences contain in them potential for our growth and understanding, exactly where we need growth and understanding.” – Kevy Michaels
Why should we want to feel ashamed about what led us to growth and progress? Don’t pet that monkey! Let no one put that monkey on your back. If they try, chances are they are trying to deflect from their own issues.
From each of my challenges, the major ones being health, drugs, success, and caregiving, I’ve growth. They all served as preludes to my eventual victories and spiritual transformation.
I am not shameful because I never deliberately harmed or intended to harm anyone.
I hurt myself first and foremost. Once I hurt myself bad enough, others came in ‘for the kill’ with gossip, lies, judgements and deceit, like crabs in a trap, once blood-dripping meat is thrown in.
When you are up or have a special vivaciousness, ‘like white on rice’, you will be tried.
But I never set out to hurt anyone, the way that many of them set out to harm me and my mother…..good Christians and the fake-faithful.
I needed love, but it was not being offered in my circle, certainly not when I needed it most.
These events, which occurred years prior to caring for my mother directly related to the conspiracy to undermine me, once I arrived back to New Orleans to serve as caregiver.
Automatically, stories were dredged up as though I was a heavy drug user years after I had stopped. These stories came back to me from my siblings, friends, and through agencies, as propagated by my family and friends. Though the gossip had a grain of truth, years ago, they were not true then, but no one wished to believe that.
I’m not sure if they even knew of the prescription drugs impact. That too became a blessing, leading me to alternative healing.
The exaggerations about my drug use, along with many other lies, told by folks who organized to discredit me, was juicy and believable, to immature minds that is.
But the gravity of the salacious lies and deceit took off into the stratosphere when you consider New Orleans’s history, black caste system, my siblings’ personality, their spirits, my phenomenal financial success, and my sincere love for my mother and God.
My family and New Orleans are full of weak minds. Most will never mature, if they haven’t already.
I am proud to share this aspect of my life with you for another reason on which I would like for you and then contemplate:
- I do not lie and have never lied to cheat someone
- I have never deceived or betrayed.
- I have never killed a baby
- I have never stolen from anyone
- I have never disrespected my mother
- I never neglected anyone, even ones who were abusive, that depended on me
- I have never intentionally tried to undermine another, for my benefit
- I have never been violent with anyone
- I have never owned a gun
- I have never committed adultery.
- I am no longer and was not addicted to money or materialism at the time I served. I gave up everything I had to serve, becoming bankrupt, after making all that money.
- I am no longer fearful
- I am real and truthful. I am not a facsimile of myself.
- I try to gain greater understanding of God every day to ensure that I honor His will.
- I don’t give a good fuck about what others think of me. Only God, and maybe a couple of friends served me through my most difficult trials, not friends or family members that I expected.
- I am not addicted to alcohol or drugs. Though I have used in the past, my use was limited, and I never considered myself an addict or my life unmanageable. I simply made bad choices that I grew from, spiritually, through communion with God, not man or any program.
Collectively the family members, friends, and cohorts who participated in the conspiracy against me serving as my mother’s caregiver, violate every item on the list above. They violate God’s most fundamental principles, most in the 10 Commandments, and still had not gained wisdom even at that age in their lives.
This is not so bad if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, but most of my adversaries ranged in age from 50 years old to 70+ years. I was the youngster.
And then they found audacity to judge me?
They figured that their skeletons were well packed away for years. But I was not looking in their closets. I simply observed their actions, and felt evilness in many of their spirits. I’d be sharing these things with you for you to judge.
Just as my history is being written, so is theirs. They cannot change what they’ve done; I cannot change my deeds. But I have learned from them. I am confessing them now.
As Leona, my sister-in-law, would instruct me, ‘God has an accounting book, with every deed marked in his ledger”. Good luck y’all!
I know that God is witness to my innocence, successes, and mistakes, but never to any disingenuous and deceptive behavior that violates his will, or aimed to hurt someone.
The God in whom I believe apparently sees, my judgement versus theirs in the same way as I do, as referenced in the bible, by prophets, and in history.
They had some audacity to treat me like ‘scum on a bun’.
My bad, that I allowed them to make me feel shameful initially. But after I experienced and reflected on their dirty deeds, things that ‘I wouldn’t do to a dog’, I knew that once healed from my fear of being alone and empty, I was good in God’s sight. We were on the same team.
It was a very painful process that I don’t think most could ever endure. I feel that God chose me, because he knew that I could handle it, and I did.
It is inevitable that they too have already or will have to reckon with their deeds, admitting to their faults as I have. For them too, it will be a painful process. It is always painful to face your demons.
But, my hope is that like me, they will reconcile, grow, and come closer to God through this process.
This, as well as, the other posts in the Terror on the Caregiver series, serve as the backdrop to my being catapulted into solely caring for my other. There is so much more to share, but I will continue to be methodical in its presentation in future posts.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” – Romans 3:10
The videos below were carefully selected to further drive the point that all addictions stem from the same root cause.
They also state and/or imply that only through going inward through meditation will we be able to conquer addictions, sustainably. I add, meditation and prayer, through God.
I can testify to the fact that this advice is works.
I started meditating in the late 1970’s. By my’ mess age’, I was well trained and was able to meditate and pray periodically through all the chaos. God, through meditation and prayer guided me directly to my demons, and stayed there with me, watching my back many times, as I endured through the emotional pain and fear.
My testimony today, addresses my faults, mistakes, and pain, head on. My entire blog does that!
I am so grateful to God that I can convey this testimony and wisdom today, with honesty, and no shame.
- What is an addiction? Almost everyone is an addict in some form. Addiction is when stop a behavior for a week, and have cravings
- Types of addictions, some may not be obvious to you: Drugs, Food, Porn, Tobacco, Internet, Work, Video Games, Wanting To Be Accepted, TV, Socialization, Shopping, Gossip, Thinking (You may think that it does not qualify….but it’s the number one thing that most people are addicted to)
- Root Cause of all addiction – Fear of the emptiness of being alone with nothing to do.
- Our addictions are our distractions and escapes from this emptiness
- Because we are unable to sit alone in an empty room, we turn to __________ for escape
- The degree to which we are self-developed and emotionally mature is the degree to which we won’t require external stimulation to sit alone in a room
- Your degree of maturing should be gauged on whether we are externally (addicted) vs Internally (not addicted) grounded
- We’ve developed this response from childhood which made us become attached to stimulation, because of our inability ‘to be present’. We resorted to games, toys, books, eating candy, and TV…We are getting attached to stimulation because you were not able to be present in stillness and being alone
- After years of following this escape plan, we feel dirty and empty inside which can’t seem to be filled.
- So we run away from this emptiness and continue to run from it instead of dealing with, accepting, or addressing head on that we fear being alone.
- This leads to anxiety, depression, suicide, crisis, or death
- But it is a beautiful and incredible experience to grasp just being
- Though a beautiful transformative experience, most are not mature enough to do it because escape is all they did all their life since childhood
- This is not easy to do. It is very emotionally challenging.
- It is the Catch 22 of addiction – Want to avoid the emotional labor of recovery
- But avoiding this is what caused addiction to begin with.
- Emotional labor that comes when you do absolutely nothing
- It’s like torture for an addict. It’s invigorating to the spiritually mature.
- Therefore all addiction is basically emotional insecurity – Childishness
Top 3 Steps to Be Self Actualized Tech
- Do Nothing Technique
- Mindfulness meditation
- Strong Determination Sitting
- Existential Investigation – Face inner demons head on. Face your consequences
Overcoming Addiction – The Root Cause of Every Addiction – 354,168 views – Actualized.org – Published on Apr 17, 2016
Overcoming Addiction – Learn how to recover from any addiction by addressing the one root cause that every addiction stems from.
Meditation Techniques: Do Nothing – The Simplest Meditation Possible – 265,695 views – Actualized.org – Published on Aug 16, 2015
Meditation Techniques – Learn the simplest yet effective meditation technique for beginners and advanced meditators alike.
Mindfulness Meditation – A Complete Guide with Techniques & Examples – 250,956 views – Actualized.org – Published on Nov 1, 2015
Mindfulness Meditation – Learn how to start practicing mindfulness to develop emotional mastery, focus, and self-control, eliminate suffering, and increase fulfillment.
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