I heard horror stories about cocaine. I only experienced one story that was similar to the stories I heard from people.
ONe day a friend of mine decided to get high. He was in town and stayed at a motel.
Best Western. I went and purchased the stuff. When I came back the night mare started. We had gotten hi many times in the past. I remember once somebody called me when I was in Atlanta and begged me to call him because of things he was doing. I did. I was not getting hi at the time. I had not finished getting hi. I knew that. I was just taking a break. She told me of his extreme behavior.
Well, I saw it at the motor inn. I could not believe what I saw. It was like watching a kind sweet woman who suddenly turned into a "road rage demon" once she was behind the wheel of a car.
I begged for him to slow down. I begged for him to wait. There was not lighter but I could not get him to wait until I went to get one. Tissue paper had burned marks all over the bathroom floor from where he used them. He had such anger in his face.
I was scared he was going to have a stroke. However, I trust that he would cease. It took a while and he finally did.
"Walter, now you know." were his words when we sat in his rented car. We talked a long time. The accumulation of pain in his life and the need to burry it had grown to such a degree that he became violent, with himself, in the pursuit to burry that pain by saturating himself with more drugs. EVEryone, I guess, who crosses that threshold, where their reliance on drugs takes a quantum leap, goes through that in one manner or another.
However, I trust him. I never not trust him. He was not a thief. He only robbed himself. I was not a thief. I only robbed myself and, by definition, those around me of me. However, when He says he stopped trusting me I do not know what he is talking aoout. He was always honest with himself. He never believed his own bullshit. I never believed my own bullshit. That is what saved us.
However, his experience with drugs was different with mine. I did not see or experience how drugs effected him at his final stage of usage except that one time.
That was the last time we ever got hi together.
He did what he had to do for him. I did what I had to do for me. We both stopped, I later than he. However, I do not want him to presume that what was necessary for him is necessary for me.
"we have to let you go". He talkes as if I am still doing drugs. He talks as if I need medicine to stop. I do not know if that is the case. I do not make assumptions though those statements concern me as they resemble the cookie cutter attitude that exists on skid row.
There is no communication, just people being told things. Every person is different.
On Skidrow, they group everybody to be the same. Drug usage, the quality of it, the effects of it and the CURES of it are as diverse as each person themselves that use drugs.
You have people who claim they speak for people on Skid Row but who never speak to the people of Skid Row. I talked to the LA Times. I did not speak for the people of Skid Row. I spoke for myself. My experience and my observations.
My friend did not experience me the last two years. He would have been proud to see me work out and study everyday. PRior to that he would call me and he would ask me and I would tell him. "No, I have not stopped. I never told him a lie." He should have trust that. How can my friend know what I need unless he talked to me. My mom did not know what I needed until she TALKED TO HERSELF, I TALKED TO MYSELF AND WE TALKED TO EACHOTHER. Likewise, with her. I did not know what she needed until I listened to her and then listended to why she felt she needed something. She, after all of those years, finally told me."Walter, Vernon always said to explain why something it is the way it is so that you would understand. She finally explained to herself and then explained to me.
I ask my friend"Do you know what I was doing the last two years I was at home?"
Do you have any idea how much writing I did in monitoring myself and my emotions, my whole life history, to eradicate the feeling of dependency and, in turn, the usage of drugs in my life? He did not know what I was doing. I did not know that he lost his wife. That is a statement in and of itself.
He is one man who, and he knows, for whom I would take a bullet for him to live.
He is one man that I do not react to what he said. I ask myself why does he say that? Does he mix my experience with his? Does he think I need what he needed?
I stopped before this massive misunderstanding of a fateful day's events?
Did he ask me or does he think it is important what happened that day?
He thought it was important to tell me ten years ago that my sister was calling around saying things about me. He asked me then what was my side of it. I did not know what he was talking about and put it aside. I should not have because whatever it was, had I paid more attention to it, or had I been more courageous or had more understanding that drugs were the root of alot of answers, the root of alot of inner turmoil and the root of distance between my sister and me, I would not be in this situation and my relationship with my sister would not be in this situation.
My mother and I are cool. She is proud of me. Everybody else wanted me to work. IWANTED TO WORK. However, If I had worked for a living before working on myself I would have failed. I would have failed miserbably because I did not know myself because I was burried beneath a thick cloud of smoke. I dug myself out.
It took work. I did work so I would never start again. I did work so I could stop for good when I started. My mother and I decided that is what I was going to do after she saw a gradual change in me. No one knows that. We used the Methodone method of eradication. That handled the quantitative side and I handled the qualitative study. One would be no good without the other.
This was no quick fix.
I do not want my friend to assume that I fit into a cookie jar. He should talke to me before he makes assumptions of where I am.
Authorities in Skid Row should talk to the people of Skid Row to incorporate their feelings into policy making. IT should be a bottom up decision making process,
not a top-down decision making and then implementation process. It must be a
joint effort to understand the capabilities, constraints and concerns from each side so that each side understands the root of decisions or the root of behaviors.
We can begin to stim the momentum of 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction' with out understanding from where the action comes.
I ask my friend questions because I want the stakeholders of Skid Row to ask questions. Who are the STakeholders of Skid Row? everyone.
You know what I say yesterday. I saw a seed that can build trust between parties. That is what I saw. That is more important than a form or a pamphlet or a bag of toiletries. I saw a seed of trust that was being planted and watered by both sides.
Can it be nurtured to grow? How do you nurture it? I have at least one suggestion.
The attention that has been given to Skid Row since Thanksgiving should ge continuous. Lets not stop. Let us water the seeds that have been planted like the Thanksgiving meals by all of the missions. Lets drown the energy of distrust that exists between the parties. Communication is the key. A give and take.
I say all of this because my friend understands me well. He has made comments because he is concerned. I am responding so he knows I appreciate his concerns. I am setting the stage of fruitful dialogue by bringing him up to speed on periods of life, in my life , about which, he knows nothing.
I anticipated his questions, at least to a certain point. He knows me well enough to know that when I tell him I was not going to work again until I rooted out the cause of failure and stopped doing drugs that that makes sense. That sounds like walter.
Moreover, that sounds like Walter's father. Walter had to be going back to his father's lessons. NOt now but 4 or 5 years ago. Before then I would not practice the discipline it took to forgoe gratification. I would have obtained another High profile job. It would have pleased me and been another form of drug that burried further the root of my problem It would have been another Armani suit dressing a
catastrophy waiting to happen.
My mother grew to understand what I was doing and over time saw me gain confidence in my ability to do work, my ablilty to make deadlines. I was able to make deadlines because I was not putting deadlines on myself. If I had, my growth would have been dead in the water at one point.
My sister would have been able to say,"Walter has this great job. Then she would have had to tell someone later that Walter left that job. OR maybe walter was arrested for possession ". I would have been miserable and had cocaine in my Armani suit pockets. My sister did not know that I was practicing the discipline of Vernon Melton and deferring gratification(the first word he made me look up in the dictionary) so that gratification would be everlasting and forever blossoming in its splendor. And it worked because I was branching out from me to Mom, to the house.
I was at the next step, income producing, when fate struck. If there had been communication before conclusion, things would be different.
My friend should remember this example. He knows I said not to buy a little sports car. well he bought this little green sports car one day and came by my house.
He said he knew I would frown on the purchase for economic reasons.
I got in it and drove around. I had the props on. I had the Le Coste shirt on with the collar up. I had the flashy car. all of the women in Philadelphia turned their heads. IT was a facade. I knew it.
I did not want a facade any longer in my life. I took the steps to build from within
not from the outside. Nobody could see what was happening within me. It was beginning to be revealed. Even my sister said I cleaned my mom's room.
"YOU did a great job on the room. " It was not the room that was important. It was what I did before I did the room that was important. It made it possible for mom to let me do the room. I was blossoming.
My friend does not know another things. I remember his tool built. One day he brought it to our investment property and put it on. I laughed. However, I always liked it. I bought one myself within the last year I was home. I bought it as a symbol of investment. "Walter, now you have this. IT has taken a long time. Now you are acquiring the tools for not only this house but the tools it will take for my sister and I to create wealth and manage it." I was proud of that. I was proud that I had taken the time to build. I was proud that I was wearing the tool built that was like my friends.
I snapped it on. I wore it to take out the nails from the floor of the den from where I pulled up the first carpet. IT was my opening gambit to change the house into a home. It was when I started writing. It was when I was attacking my drug use. It was the beginning of change.
It was also when I followed my sister's lead. yes. that is right. I remembered what she did. She did not aske mom if she could paint her room. She just painted it.
Mom would have said no had she asked. Mom said no to me many times. I just did it and she liked it. I earned the right to do that though. Years later when all of this started, I was in the same room, pulling up nails and fine tuning that room.
I even got permission to pull all of the wall paper off.
Mom and I came a long way. Nobody knew. There was no communication. But you could see things. YOu could see change. there was beautiful change and more change was coming. I had a grand plan.
They say plans you make do not come true for people that do drugs. that is true IF YOU DO DRUGS. That is why I made no plans until I stopped doing drugs. I would not have to fight to make the plans come true. They were coming true. I was living by example. They need to tell people that there is nothing wrong with making plans, just do it without drugs being in your life. They do not make that level of detail in the presentations. that is why people walk around Skid R0w with no confidence.
MY sister did not know that I was wearing slacks everywhere instead of sweats. She did not know that I cleaned out the whole back porch. she did not know that I sterilized the pantry and did the regrigerator. She did not know that mom used to yell at me when I wanted to do those things. She did not know that I begged mom to let me clean the mice feces. She did not know that I begged mom to let me lift the curtain of depression from the household.
Over time it worked. communication and discipline and toughness of purpose. It worked. I stayed the course. My sister from time to time has commented on certain things. She has no idea what was really going on in that house. It was turning into a warm home where the free expression of love was being exchanged. It was a place where my mom could aske me to give her a hug where before she never knew how to ask for one, let alone accept it. She learned how to accept one around the time I told my brother in law I was glad he was my brother in law. He did not know it but he was a key factor in my fight to stop doing drugs. He has no idea at all.
Communication before conclusion. I have learned so much these last few years. And I dont just mean drawing conclusions on something else or someone else. I mean drawing conclusions on ONESELF as well. lEARN how to communicate with oneself.
lEARN HOW TO GIVE ONESELF CREDIT. ACCEPT YOUR FRAILTIES.
It tickled me when my sister said she was very good at interior design. IT sounded like she was comfortable in saying it. I was glad. She communicated with herself. I never doubted thst she would be good. She has extraordinary talent. I am only glad she believes it now.
People say I had talent. The problem was I lost the belief in myself. I thought I did not have any talent. The problem was I could not advance my talent while advancing my drug use. I confused my lack of confidence with no talent. I needed to look at the fact that my talent and development was a function of not advancing drug usage. I HAD NO IDEA THAT ONE WAS RELATED TO THE OTHER . SOUNDS CRAZY.
I had no idea. I had no idea until I talked to myself honestly. I would sit in front of a mirror in my room and look at myself and talk to myself for hours.
I had to dissect the problem. I had to find out the root of my no confidence.
IT was the same reason my mom had no confidence. Drugs. But she had faith.
She never stopped having faith. I never stopped having faith in her Or me.
I wonder now if she had faith in herself.
She kept telling me about my skills and I kept telling her about hers.
She made me believe. I made her believe. WE came together. nobody knew. That is why she yelled at my sister. She knew I deserved to be defended. I earned the right. My sister just did not know. She may not ever know what was being created in that house. I was rebuilding myself. I was on the mission of rebuilding the family. It was working.
It is no miracle that I am not doing drugs. I did the work. It is no miracle that my mother and I walked down the street holding hands. We did the work.
It is no miracle that I am typing and communicating. It worked before. Sooner or later it will work again. It healed me. It taught me patience to put things in detail.
I can not edit like I would like because I can not see it all on here. But it is ok. My sister will not read this. But somebody's sister or brother will read it somewhere and it may help them understand that which they did not understand before.
This is what this blog is to me today. "Radio FREE Healing".
Maybe my friend, if he reads this may understand. He knows me and should remember one thing that may lend creedence to what I am saying. No, two things.
Once we bought a building and he told me that he knew me. I told him he did not but he had no choice but to get to know me now because we were tied together.
Another day we were being sued. Everyone told me that it was my fault that we were being sued. We went to court and lost the case. Everyone was mad at me. I knew their was an injustice. I would not take no for an answer. I went to see the judge and told the judge's clerk that there was a misunderstanding. The clerk listened to every word I had to say. He finally understood what I was saying.
On the day after Christmas, we were standing in front of the judge. The judge told me to go home and get the evidence that supported what I had to say. I went right home and retrieved the evidence, went back to the court and the judge reversed his decision and ruled in our favor. My friend looked at me in disbelief that I was able to pull it off.
Communication before Conclusion. That is what is important here. The clerk allowed me to communicate.
I listened to my friend. "Live the truth, Walter." I have been living the truth. Every breathe I take without a pipe in it lends creedence to what I have said and warrants consderation of everything else. The evidence is in the wooden floor at home. The evidence was the cleared out bedroom, the cleared out closet, the pantry, the back porch, the carpet that was finally vaccuumed because mom let me do it.
She was finally experiencing a refreshing side of life. she went from not wanting me to clean the house to EXPECTING ME TO MAKE HER COFFEE BECAUSE I SHE LIKED THE WAY I DID IT. That is the point. I went from doing things wrong because I did them with drugs to doing everything right because I did them without drugs. Even when I did things correctly, with drugs,eventually something would happen. I knew it.
I did the small things first. I communicated with myself. I acted on the discoveries that came with that self communication. I started small and built up a regimentaion of determination. I practiced the toughness of purpose the unrelenting pursuit of triumph. I learned to put the small things first and build instead of doing the grandiose first.
The grandiose was easy because I had the skills but the confidence to actualize those skills had been corrupted. I reuilt my inner machine.
Nobody knew. My mother knew. I knew. USC knew.
My mother would not even let me vaccuum. Finally, she told me to go to the bank and get money and do with it as I saw fit. She saw me purchasing household goods. she saw me pusrchasing groceries. She stopped fighting. She began to see that she did not have to do it herself and then did not do them because the tasks were too overwhelming. HER SOON WAS BACK. COMMUNICATION BEFORE CONCLUSIONS.
I am living the truth. I am not experiencing the truths of my labor of love with my mother. I am not enjoying being clean from no drugs. However, I am not going backwards. I would not know how. It tooks for me to grow forward.
I planted a seed within myself and the stalk grew and branches formed and grew. Leaves were coming out. After time my sister even saw a book where I had receipts. I just could not find a ledger until it was too late.
I created a soul of a new machine and the parts were being put in place. I hope my friend takes the time to read this blog. Maybe he will. Maybe he will sit back and say, maybe I need to reconsider where Walter is and understand why those thwo think they know him really did not know what he was doing. There were times he did not but found out that I was doing things to protect us, like with that judge that he had no idea I had put in place. He found it when we needed it.
Communication before drawing conclusions.
Regarding Skid Row, the same is true. There are too many engrained perceptions that come from stereotypical perspective. Not from experience. And I meant that from both sides.
There will be no Change in Skid Row without communication. Each side must communicate with itself, openly and honestly and examine itself openly and honestly.
Then, and only then, will each side, each party, be able to listen and communicate, and express and receive information with other parties in Skid Row.
As far as my sister goes, I understand why she did not know anything that was going on. She was never around me and we never talked. Plus I had that invisible stigma of the drug image that was with her, in her mind and heart, when I was not around. She could not know what I was doing and I can understand why should would be closed to consider anything other than what she believed to be the case.
Now as for my friend, he should remember something. He did not know that I took the steps to protect myself and our partnership until we needed those steps to show up in court. He did not see what I did, He did not know what I did. We did not talk about it. And he was AROUND ME ALL OF THE TIME. He should remember what he told me once he found out what I did in the judge's chambers and reversed the decicision of the judge. I will not say what it was that he said. It would sound like I am patting myself on the back. But he should remember his exact words.
I submit to him that what I was doing, in silence, except for the knowledge and encouragement from my mother, is exactly the same thing. She had to watch me for a long time and watch me across the board in so many different arenas before she began to see what I was doing and before she could ACCEPT that what she was seeing was true. If what my friend said about me was true then, it is true to the tenth power now. Why because there was no weakness in my foundation. Wrong. The weakness was in the perception generated from past behavior. My behavior was strong. My discipline was strong. My constancy had longevity. My purpose was unwavering. I wanted my family to be strong and a happy unit. I had the power to mend it. I splintered it. I splintered myself. I rebuilt myself and each moment I was rebuilding myself I was thinking about what little step I had to take to rebuild my family. Each stroke I swam in the pool, I thought about it. Each step I ran, I thought about it. Each reduction in consumption, I believed it was going to happen.
The proof was in my mother allowing me to clean and heal the house. to throw out the past and bring in the new. God it took 6 weeks of throwing out stuff.
I cleared the way and I was ready to plant more seeds like the seeds I planted within me that had yielded so much fruit and productivity. I took baby steps.
I took baby steps that no one could see. They wanted me to take steps that they could see but eventually I would fail. I could not live with that any longer.
I was thinking of myself and my family. I sat in that pool at USC and thought of it. I sat in the whirl pool at the Kennedy AThletic Center at USC and thought of family. I thought of the importance of family because the Ist family of America was in my face every day when I sat in the whirlpool and read that name.
My friend says. do it with more than words. My god, I did, the evidence is in the house. The evidence was in my mother's eyes and spirit when she woke up everyday and couldnt wait for me to get up and make the coffee. The evidence was when she knew I would go shopping for the best price and would wait to look at the
"sales" to come out instead of just rushing to get it because money was available.
I was comfortable with deferring gratification. I had to defer gratification for so long. I finally earned it. and I was reaping it. "Walter, YOu matured right in front of my eyes. You are doing so much. I am so proud of you."
Communication before drawing conclusions.
My sister does not know that I kept fighting my drugs by fighting when I swam each stroke. She does not know that I fought for the family and the image that was in my heart and soul drove me threw that water.
What image? I had an image of seeing my sister sitting in the bleachers when I was at a swim work out at Lynwood Swim pool. she had to wait and endure the boredom of watching me swim because mom was at work and there was no one else to watch her at home. She had to tag along when she, at times, did not want to. Logistics demanded that she come whether she wanted to or not. It had to be a pain in the ass to her. If Walter has to go, then I had to go.
But there were times I had chlorine in my eyes from swimming and training for two hours in a 50 meter pool. I could barely see. For years we did not have goggles like they do now. We barely started ewearing goggles when I stopped to learn tennis. I could not see after swim practice. the Chlorine stung too badly.
Nobody could see.
I would barely see my sister sitting in the stands watching her big brother. I wanted to quit then. I wanted to throw up my hands. We had been swimming 400 meter sets for 2 hours. I was tired. I could not see.
but I could not quit. I would never quit. My father was in the stands but he had nothing to do with it. He taught me how to have to have the strength to endure.
My little sister provided me with the inspiration to endure. I could not stop and say I was tired in front of her. I did not want her to see her big brother quit.
I endured. She does not know those things. She does not know she was my inspiration when we were kids. She does not know she was my inspiration when I was training for the triathlon. I was training for the triathlon and I was training for my family.
People down here are doing the same. They are enduring for their families and themselves. If they win their families win. They fight the hardest in the STRIVE program. That is why I took the LA Times people there. I hoped they were so impressed by what they saw that they would write about it, some one would see it and they would receive a dontation or two.
Communication before drawing conclusions.
My sister said write a bunch of short stories and send them to the New Yorker.
The stories of me swimming and seeing her image are the stories. The stories of my enduring the inaccurate perceptions from people are the stories. The stories of my making up my mind and pursuing the dreams are the stories, the dreams of family unity that can come from my changing my life which could only come from finding out things inside. That had to come first and I did not give up just like I did not give up swimming when she was in the stands and each day I thought of her in those stands.
My sister does not know this. I lived with the fact that she did not know anything I was doing to change. I did not want to tell her. I wanted to show her. Each day I was getting closer to putting a ribbon around the house and displaying a NEW HOME.
I was hoping she would see. she did not know why stuff was in the middle of the floor. It was in the floor because I was clearing everything out.
She heard I bought wine. She did not know I bought wine because my cooking had progressed enough so that I was sauteeing the fish and cooking nice dishes. She did not know I invited the conservators to eat dinner. I had nothing to hide.
She did not know that I was getting the house ready so that she and I could do what she told me about, what I wanted to do for a long time but I had to start from within. She does not know so much. She does not know that it took years for me to trust myself and believe in myself again after all the years of failure because I did not believe I could do something. I did not believe I could change.
I had to start with waking up some mornings and taking a shower and cutting my hair to look presentable. Those are baby steps. I was successful at that and keeping my nails clipped and smooth. That was a success. Those were baby steps. It took years. She does not know that. Mom knew it. She saw what I was doing. She saw the change. We talked. I told her to just hang in there. She told me to not give up on her. We did not give up. We fought and we won.
Communication before conclusions.
Each battle was a short story. AT first, I won none of them. Then one here and one there. Then clusters of victories. then more than losing then I was winning everyday. Then one day victories with self led to victories with mom. I did not know she was watching. I know she was having victories with herself. I guess she watched me like I watched her.
I do not know what to do at times. I know I will experience some battles today. I will feel down today. I want to do some good today. I have to wait and be patient. I know I will accomplish something. I will go to that class. I will go there. I will listen. Does not matter that the frustration is high and that these classes should have been done had somebody done their job. I am fighting for myself now. I am not counting on somebody else doing what they should have done.
I know I will have another class done. I hope I learn something. I know I learned how to find a victory and I realizing that going to a class is a victory is progress and a victory in and of itself.
Communication before conclusions. I know I will do that. I do not know if I will do other things today. but I will search to be of good to myself and to the community here.
I will take some pictures. I hope I can post some pictures.
I will not give up. My sister does not watch me anymore. However, I have watched her all of my life. Watching her made me take a look at myself. She does not know that.
Good Afternoon world. I love you.