And I Have Zero Shame
I take great in pride in the humility with which I speak truth today!
I vowed to explain in detail the people that I trusted, mainly ‘in the name of Jesus’, who deceived, betrayed, lied, and benefited from me and my mother’s vulnerability and naivety. It will continue to be quite challenging to take this to task for I believe that I will end relationships with my testimonies.
I am already aware that many of my adversaries tell a different story, about the same scenarios, than I do. …A story to which I will not agree, simply, because their stories are untrue, and glamorize them.
I have an exceptionally good memory, and have maintained documents, journals and notes that support my claims. If I cannot back up what occurred in my posts, I simply do not state it. I needed this same brain to design system solutions for some of the largest corporations in the world.
I am very confident in my testimony, simply because it is mine, no one else’s. My story conveys what “I” see as my experience, and how “I” felt, through those experiences, as well as, the lessons “I” learned.
I cannot speak for anyone else’s version, but mine. It is me who aims to heal from getting this story out, therefore I must be truthful and I will. Hopefully this truth will heal others who have emotional uneasiness inside about the events that involved them.
I have taken great care in an attempt to pacify those who may be hurt by the blunt nature of my accounts, especially those who I feel caused me or my mother harm. I warned them that this testimony was coming. I’ve been warning them for ten years now.
I’ve changed names, and sometimes genders to keep them anonymous. I apologized to them, when feeling no real a need to. I extending to them, after my mother’s death. These things were all done to no avail, in the majority of cases.
Though they were expecting a book first from me on the subject, fate would provide me with a more permanent and accessible medium, blogging. Now that I have a blog, it facilitates unfolding stories whenever I feel the spirit to regurgitate them. The blog is a prelude to future projects, which will go even deeper, perhaps causing even more pain…and healing.
Again, it’s my hope that their pain is a prelude to reconciliation, as mine has and will continue to become. Surely, if any of my adversaries have a conscious, they may feel a bit of pain. It is not my intention to draw this out, but I must be truthful. …Honest, on my mother’s grave.
I must also be truthful about myself, good and bad, in that regard. I feel that I have done an honest job so far. Now, I will begin to take you through the messiest segment of my life.
In the title, I refer to this period as my ‘mess age’.
During this period I was broken and vulnerable on many levels, but I never lost hope, remained functional, but nonetheless made many bad choices, and fell into many traps.
From about 1996 to 2000 my career was moving very rapidly. I was making lots of money, moving beyond $ 200K a year. At this point, I had relocated from London, travelled extensively through Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean with my mother. Our trips and the special attention that I gave her was solidified at this point. We had a very special bond. It seemed that my future was exceptionally bright. I had been hired away from CNN, by one of the largest software vendors in the world, and the Y2K scare was keeping me very busy and wealthy.
Though the new job was based in Atlanta, only my first assignment was in Atlanta. After that, I was all over the place, taking five-day trips to Tulsa, Miami, the Bay Area, Chicago, Amsterdam, London, New York, Canada, Princeton, Philadelphia, to name a few. I was hot and in demand! My company billed me out at over $ 300 per hour. Money was coming in at a pace, the likes of which most Creole ghetto boys had never imagined. I had investments, savings, and would get $ 20,000 to $35,000 bonuses, in addition to my six-figure salary. I would go to the ATM to get weekend cash, and would have easily have a balance of $ 35,000 in that checking account alone, not to mention my many other accounts. I was on top of the world, or was I?
The thing that was missing in my life at this time, was ‘a life’. I set out to change that. I wore the finest clothes, drove a fancy car, and had money to spend.
I don’t remember how, but I would eventually stumble upon old friends from New Orleans. One friend, Ken, grew up 2 blocks from my mother’s home. I used to see him when walking past his mother’s home as a child. We weren’t close as children, though. My stepfather Samson, and mother were very strict on me and did not allow me to hang with many other kids in the neighborhood.
The other friend was a high school mate, Brady. Ken, Brady, and a host of other people, all from New Orleans, were right there in Atlanta! ‘Hot diggity’, I had an instant life. At this time, I wanted to be accepted and cool.
What I did not consider is that none of the people around me had accomplishments or dreams as I did. Brady was a carpenter. Ken was a coke dealer. As my success became evident through new cars, homes, and international travel, they started to make me feel that I was forgetting ‘where I came from’. Brady actually told me those words. So, I looked past many of our differences and focused on what we had in common, outside of being from New Orleans, which was a good area on which to focus.
At Ken’s home, there was always a bunch of people, drinking, tooting coke, and watching porn movies. I would go there because I was drawn to the coke, but not much into the social activity surrounding it. On coke, I was a loner, and did not want to be bothered.
Ken was not a street dealer. He was very fashionable, wearing very exclusive designs, some scammed by expert shoplifter friends who he bought from. He drove nice cars like Jaguars and BMWs. I never purchased any of the stolen goods, but purchased the coke, go figure.
I never participated in their promiscuous escapades either. I went to get my stuff, stay socially long enough to not seem like I thought I was better, and left, or meet them at a club. This activity was new for me, as I did not use coke prior to my return to the states from London. I did not use drugs on any of my travels with my mother.
Billie Holiday says in the song God Bless the Child, that when you have money ‘you’ve got lots of friends, crowding ‘round your door’. I say, when you have drugs (or access to them), ‘you’ve got lots of friends, crowding ‘round your door’.
Once, accepted into Ken’s entourage I was connected with a network of people who used, and some who sold coke. They all clearly knew or put word out that I have money to spend, so I instantly became popular.
While in London, and in Atlanta, I felt compelled to get roommates in my apartments in the states so that I would have a homey feeling to come to, when I arrived back in town, and to ward off possible burglary. A friend who maintained my apartment, while I lived in London, moved out, after I returned and was dissatisfied with what was really going on in my place, while I was out of the country. …a place for which I paid most of the bills. I called my apartment from London, and someone answered giving me the third degree about who I was.
I then got a second roommate, who was a long-time friend from New Orleans. He seemed more promising because we had a catering business in Ohio together and planned to start one in Atlanta. My third roommate was just a plain con artist, though I invested a lot of effort and money into helping him to turn his life around.
Keep in mind that I had all of these roommates, while I traveled 100% of the time, Monday through Friday. I would leave on Sunday evening for a project, and return on Friday nights. I only had Friday nights to party, if I were to be functional during the rest of the week. That became my routine.
On one occasion, I was met at the Hartfield Airport in Atlanta by my second roommate Dale. He had a preference for street drugs, crack to be exact. That was not my choice. I did coke, not crack and furthermore, purchased very discretely from very professional looking dealers.
When Dale picked me up, I took over driving my vehicle, and he insisted that I take him ‘to get something’. I told him that I did not like doing this. I eventually conceded, after he told me this would be the last time. I conceded because at the time I didn’t think he was a regular user, but I didn’t know what he did while I was out of town. Also, because of our long history in New Orleans, I believed him. Well, this proved to be a very bad decision.
Dale, unknowingly led me into a police sting. Neither of us purchased anything or attempted to. We simply drove into a sting area, and my car was impounded, and I was arrested. Dale was let go. That was my first jail stay, for about 8 hours. I didn’t even know that I was supposed to check in my wallet. Luckily, I was able to use the cell phone (phone in a jail cell) and a credit card to secure my release on my own. Dale never attempted to get me released. No one did, only myself. Dale has never apologized to this day. All charges against me were dropped, though, because I did not solicit or purchase anything.
After this incident, and finding out that Dale stayed in the city during my Monday through Friday trips, and pretended to be there all week working on business tasks, I asked him to leave, but offered him money to establish himself. He rubbed salt in my wounds when he refused my offer and showed me all of the money he had saved by living with me, while I carried most of the cost of living bills.
My third roommate was Sonny. Sonny was very wounded, health-wise, addiction-wise, and emotionally. Years ago he had been raped by a higher ranking officer in the Air Force, when he was married with a daughter. This broke him inside and made me feel sorry for him. But Sonny was a drug addict and sex addict. I recognized this later, but gave him a chance.
I inspired him with inspirational readings and original poems, as well as, groomed him for the job market. I was determined to get him away from the cheesy bar where he bartended, and I did.
Though he broke down in tears fighting my booth camp type discipline, exercise, and health regiments, he was able to use his aircraft mechanic experience, to land a job as an aircraft mechanic for a major airline. He now makes six-figures and owns multiple pieces of property. I am hopeful that he is sober too.
Things were looking promising. Drug use was diminishing as far as I knew. Again, I didn’t know what was happening when I was on the road, though. My use of coke remained a Friday night thing, for I would not allow anything to distract my career and livelihood.
As I was making so much money, I needed a tax deduction, so I purchased my first home. It was a custom built mini-mansion, only eight houses from Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth home, on Auburn Ave. Sonny moved from the 2 bedroom apartment, to a very luxurious home. I furnished every room immediately, and had custom window treatment done to every window. The home was exquisitely done. Friends and family seemed to react with jealousy.
Sonny, now working a better job, occasionally would still work at the bar. Nearly every time he’d return from the bar, he would bring drugs that he would stay up all night doing them. I didn’t always participate because my career and travel schedule came first. I was an independent contractor at this time, and if I did not fulfill my role, I simply would not be paid. There was too much money at stake.
Sonny seemed to become more and more obsessive with his drug use, and occasionally would bring people to the new home, with the drugs. I began to feel very uncomfortable with this. I remember one occasion when he brought someone over who I swear was Satan himself.
Sonny serving as my friend and roommate ended, when I found out he was not paying bills that he said he did. One day I found over a month of mail hidden under my car seat. Needless to say, I asked him to leave, but financially accommodated his transition, setting him up in a weekly hotel, until he was on his feet.
During this time, friends, and family seemed more impacted by my success than I was. They were thinking like ‘crabs in a barrel’ do, judging, deceiving, and gossiping about me. I was still trying to be accepted by them, but still was flying in, to do coke in the process. I slowly began to break away from them all, because this was just not working for me. My life was caught in a circle.
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” – Carl Jung
Later I found other dealers who were friends of Ken. I continued using discretely and functionally, but was very unhappy and ashamed of myself. Throughout all of these events, I prayed and meditated regularly. God never loss importance in my life. Through my trials he only became more important.
The ritual of constant prayer came from my mother. Meditation started with attending Unity Church, introduced to me by my sister Felicia, before she went cult on us.
It was in this period that I first sincerely had a desire to become closer with God and to be removed from my demons.
I may be exaggerating my drug usage in this narrative, but I was never a strung out junkie. I never hit rock bottom. I used on the weekends, while designing and implementing very complex systems for some of the largest international corporations, during the week.
“Every worthy act is difficult. Ascent is always difficult. Descent is easy and often slippery.” – Mahatma Gandhi
What’s more important is that I never set out to hurt anyone; I just hurt myself. I was a lot more considerate than drug users, dealers, friends, and family members were to me, during this ‘mess age’.
I knew that I was caught in a vicious Circle and was confident that I would get out. I knew because drugs never brought me happiness, only shame, guilt and pain. I had confidence because I was well equipped with faith, God, and my ability to express my feelings in writing.
But, it took some work and the elimination of lots of people from my life to finally get out of this vicious circle.
This Story Continues to Part 2
It is with great pride that I share this aspect of my life because it is an embodiment of my growth and transformation.
I don’t hate myself anymore. No longer am I ashamed of my mistakes. It took me years to get to the point of putting my guts on the chopping board for the world to see. In this act, there is confidence, freedom, and faith in dear God.
In this installment I discuss how I learned that my drug use challenges, as well as, a variety of others challenges were nothing to be ashamed of.
Because of the ‘mess age’ I better understand my mistakes, and have greater discernment and understand God. I share this wisdom with you.
It also discusses how the people around me were. Few didn’t act lovingly towards my challenges, though I was very generous to them before they erupted. Most just judged me. I guess they had no more use for me.
Though they may not have experienced my same challenges, I found that they were guilty of violating many of what I understand as God’s simplest, but most important principals of Honesty, Love, and True Faith.
Working with Me
By Kevy Michaels
I was just graced by the hand of the spirit
…The velvety touch of a butterfly
My life changed in this moment
Spirit assured me everything would be right
Gone are the days of fighting the world
Now strengthened to continue on this course
The Almighty’s smile just thrilled my soul
I anxiously move forward, now that I know
I was at the end of my road
The more I hung on
The less I had hope
When the pain I could no longer bear
The answer was revealed
Like a whisper in my ear
Subtle as the birds singing,
Yet as powerful as the sun
What I wanted so badly
Was already done
The power of God
Was working within me
God was working deep within me
Familiar with the place I am leaving
But unsure of my destination
Knowing when I get there
The journey will be worth the anticipation
So navigated me down the lighted path
God used me, according to his will
Now I have the hope that I need
I know my purpose will be revealed
Overjoyed by the hope given to me
Don’t ever take my salvation away
I promise to be true to you, and to me
Your love will not go in vain
Ed Welch: Addiction at the Crossroads – 10,754 views – CCEF Live – Published on Oct 30, 2009
CCEF faculty member Ed Welch talks about how addictions bring us to a crossroads in life. Only Christ can help us make the right turn. An introduction to his small group curriculum. Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction available through New Growth Press (http://newgrowthpress.com)
Overcome Addiction • One Powerful Solution to Stop All Your Addictions – 47,048 views – Full Perception – Published on Apr 8, 2017
Overcoming Addictions can be a very hard task if you’re not prepared to deal with it. There’s a huge list of possible addictions: Alcohol, Drug Use, Nicotine, Gambling, Food, Video Games, Smartphones, Social Media, Porn, Work, Shopping, etc. This video will teach you how to confront addictions and regain control of your life. Don’t let your best years slip through your fingers by serving your addictions. Use Awareness to get rid of them and free-yourself. Learn how to overcome your addictions a begin working on yourself.
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