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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR PIMP IS A COP OR PAYS COPS?

People don't believe some of the stories I tell when as to why we issued a "red alert" Nevada is the most dangerous state for someone in the sex industry to live?

Despite highly publicized cases of violence against Las Vegas resident Christy Mackbeing raped by an ex-boyfriend, or another porn performer Cytherea http://downtrend.com/vsaxena/cytherea-raped-by-gang-of-teen-thugs raped in her own home - which no matter how I look at this case I can't help but wonder if it wasn't deliberate.  I mean how would five men know there was a woman behind the front door with enough confidence to kick it in, and then supposedly rape her in front of her family?  This doesn't sound like a random home invasion.

There's also the high number of prostitutes who have gone missing where the police have not properly identified where their bodies are, nor who murdered them.  I say that because despite Neal Falls being attributed to some of the Las Vegas prostitute murders/disappearances, despite the fact there's not one shred of DNA evidence linking him to any of those cases, his background and profile do NOT fit that of a serial killer, or even one who has a pattern of targeting prostitutes.  For one thing - where's his violent history?  Where's the "souvenirs" many serial killers keep?  How many serial killers have you seen own a dog and living in their car?  Just doesn't fit.  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/man-killed-prostitute-may-be-linked-las-vegas-killings

Amber Rayne was raped by James Deen in a Las Vegas hotel room according to this article - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3523106/Porn-star-accused-adult-actor-James-Deen-rape-dead-age-31.html

These are just a few of the many upsetting cases of violence, rape, and murder against sex workers in Nevada.  Tonight I was sitting here watching an episode of "Cops" in Las Vegas and it left me speechless.  I saw a couple run out of a cab without paying.  Okay a crime, but a misdemeanor.  They ran into their apartment.  The cops then got the apartment manager to let them enter into the apartment using their master key WITHOUT a warrant.  Now I'm confused about this because it's my understanding you can't enter private property without a warrant.

I go and google this to see if the laws have changed and well apparently they have in Nevada.  Seems anyone can enter your home any time they want in Nevada now in fact and a federal judge will dismiss your case if you complain about this.  Check out this article about it - http://www.offthegridnews.com/current-events/swat-teams-can-now-enter-your-home-without-a-warrant-thanks-to-this-stunning-new-court-ruling/

Now I want you to think about this type of behavior entering a home without a warrant if you were a woman who was being forced into prostitution by someone who either was a cop, or connected to cops.  Not impossible at all to consider when you look at the number of Nevada officers who have stepped down out of office because of allegations of corruption or outright sex trafficking as we saw with Joohon David Lee.

On this "Cops" show, what prompted entering this apartment without a warrant was the accusation she'd "not paid for a cab".  Well contrast this to the day when we learned a Las Vegas cab company was OWNED by sex traffickers.  How about CLS Limo company owned for TWO DECADES you can read about here http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/limo-ceo-aides-plead-guilty-las-vegas-racketeering-conspiracy

So you're being trafficked by one of these guys, who can then tell their cop buddy they can enter into your home without a warrant by just "claiming" you didn't pay a cab bill - and what have you got?  You've got someone who can enter into your home without a warrant is what you got.  Seems a federal judge will even back them up.

Now supposedly the cops can't enter your home without a warrant on a misdemeanor arrest.  But I noticed on the "cops" show the one cop yelled "welfare check" when it entered.  http://crimlaw.blogspot.com/2012/03/can-officer-enter-residence-to-arrest.html  Now supposedly a "welfare check" is when you're checking to see if someone is okay or not.  Running after someone who just stiffed a cab driver I don't think qualifies as a "welfare check" unless the cop suspected the African American male was kidnapping the white girl with him who ran into the apartment.

But between what I just saw on this "cops show", and reading about this case in Henderson which the judge then threw out of court - WOW.  All the more reason why I left Nevada.  When the protection of your private home is subject to the discretion of some cop not getting twerked off at you for some reason, any reason, then it's not safe for anyone.  If it's not safe to be in your own home minding your own business in Henderson, Nevada - then were is safe in Nevada?

I bring this up because I want people to understand how sometimes a predator can get a badge and then decide to use that badge to force women to prostitute for him while taking their money and getting sexual access to this victim whenever he felt like it.  I've had it done to me by cops who were with the Beverly Hills and Van Nuys police when I was in my 20's, and from what I'm reading it's still happening to people such as Celeste Guap just to name one.  From over 30 officers and 3 Chiefs of Police in fact.  That we know of so far also.  She has supposedly said the sex was "consensual".  I say "what else is she going to say when to say no would just piss of a cop and his buddies"?

Things like this are why I left the sex industry, but I'm reading about a family in Henderson who was home minding their own business when these cops took over their home and falsely arrested them.  So this isn't about some "woman deserving it because she was a prostitute".  We as people are supposed to be able to turn to the police for help - not assault.  Until that day where anyone can call the police when being forced to have sex, as well as be trafficked, then our hotline is going to remain on.

If you need help for any reason to leave sex work and can't call the authorities for help with your situation - know you can call us confidentially and we're not connected with law enforcement in any way.  Your call will not be sent to the police or authorities.  Not without your express request any way.  www.sexworkersanonymous.com






HUMILITY

One of the very foundations of a 12 Step program is that of “humility”. Many think “anonymous” to us just means the same as “confidential”. Actually this is but a small part of a very deep spiritual principle. “Anonymous” is defined by the dictionary in part as “a state of bearing no name”. When we as individuals come into this program, we become part of the group. This group is part of a “power greater” than ourselves. When we “bear no name” it's because we are no longer Jody, or Paige, or Becky or John. We become “anonymi”, or individual members of the group like spokes on a wheel, where we can then tap into an even great energy than ourselves collectively. A wheel can travel much farther than a spoke alone.

This also is why we don't have “female” groups or “transgender” groups. We make no distinctions between our members because there are no “female” members vs. “male” members because NO member is either “above” nor “below” nor “different”. The MINUTE we make any “distinctions” between our members for any reason, whether that be about age, race, sexual identity, or for any reason whatsoever, is the minute we allow “division” into our group. This “division” is what blocks us from the realization in God's eyes we'll all His children. We often fight this because to realize we're “all God's children” puts us on the same level in our minds as those who have abused and harmed us.

I used to look at it this way – you can go into a supermarket and see before you aisles of different sodas ranging from diet, diet caffeine free, sugar free, dye free, and so on and so on. You can also realize that no matter what the differences are though they each are just “soda”. We don't want to all be “just soda” however because then the nasty “sugar free, caffeine free, dye free” then becomes the same as all soda – putting us on the same level as those who did great harm to us in some cases. No better, no less than puts others on level with us that can make us truly uncomfortable.

This is why we insist our meetings are open to anyone regardless of their gender, sexual identity, or even what they did in the sex industry itself. Who is to say that someone who was a pimp or madam can't come to our program when they too share the common desire to “leave the sex industry and find recovery”?

Do we say because they were “predators” or “exploited others” they don't belong here? Who among us has the right to judge this line of distinction? Are we saying that the prostitute who robbed their “johns” or knowingly exposed them to an HIV/AIDS virus by taking more money not to have protected sex, or who recruited a juvenile into the industry with us because it made us more money, is any “less” of a predator simply because they called themselves a “prostitute”? What about those of us who were forced to recruit others into the industry by force or fear? Is it any better or worse if the fear was that of starvation than of a gun? Again, who is to decide where these lines are when we know the only one who can truly judge our hearts at the end of the day is not man. This is why we have “one requirement for membership” only. No one is going to stand at the door blocking some over others because their past is viewed as “different” than any other in the rooms. We're all the same once we cross the threshold into our meeting as “anonymous” members.

It's said you can't recover without the “H.O.W.” of this program which is “honesty, open-mindedness and willingness”. But again the very foundation of this program is that it's an “anonymous” one. It's important therefore to yes be “honest, open-minded and willing” but it means nothing if you're viewing yourself as different from other members for any reason. The Steps are there to walk you through how to deal with whatever it is you're “powerless” over.

But even this was challenged when the first African-Americans started coming to Alcoholics Anonymous back when segregation was actually still upheld and legal. There was legitimate concerns allowing some of them to attend meetings could result in some meeting halls, or even homes, being burned down by racists. To address this, the Traditions were developed on how we “play with others”, and society at large. Looking back it's probably one of the reasons why not only AA is still growing strong, but why the process still continues to create miracles because of how it's created a “system” where one can tap into a Higher Power when all man made efforts have failed. Even Jesus himself was attacked when he taught God loved “everyone” whether Jewish or Gentile. So the idea we are “all the same” is truly still a revolutionary one.

Which is why we want to address the very important fact not only must we understand that as an “anonymous” program there are no distinctions among us in our rooms such as “male”, “female”, “white”, “black”, or even “prostitute” vs. “pimp” or “madam”. There is only ONE requirement for membership, and so long as you meet that requirement you're welcome here. But we can't welcome anyone, even ourselves, into recovery if we don't first get the concept of “humility”. For some of us, this means we also need to get off the “victim” podium and start realizing we did some things worthy of an “amends” ourselves.

In Alcoholics Anonymous they say the number one reason for relapse is “resentment”. What we've seen over and over again is the number one reason why someone doesn't get out, or find recovery, in our program is the lack of “humility”. This includes feeling our pain is somehow bigger than anyone else's too. We also tend to have strange ideas something of what we're “proud” of as well coming into the program.

We come from a strange place when we find it less “humbling” to give someone a blow job in a back alley or back seat of a car than we do to simply ask others for help or to do an “honest day's work”. This is how twisted up our disease has got us when we're doing things over people would consider truly “humiliating” but yet we take pride in just that same action. Remember while some of us are putting down that mother of three who is working at that fast food restaurant for minimum wage, she would rather work two of those jobs than to do the things we're doing. Because the truth is money has nothing to do with “humility” or “value”. This same mother is trying to reach her children “values” which is more important to her than the dollar amount she's bringing into the house. In other words, she has “pride” in her choices and wants to teach her children some things just aren't for sale.

Which is why we have a 4th step to help us sort out all those differences between where “pride” can be harming or saving us. To understand the differences between “humble” and “humiliation”. Something many of us have great confusion about being we're coming out of a world where everything's been all twisted upside down for us. The alcoholic has some instances where alcohol can be viewed as a social event taken for a celebration. The addict sees some drugs are used to save lives. But there's no instance we can see where the sex industry is something positive for anyone involved. Therefore to justify our actions, we've had to twist things all upside down even between “right” and “wrong”.

Once we had a woman call the hotline from a motel room. She'd paid for the night but didn't have money for another night while not having a job yet. She was in the motel in the first place she said because she'd decided to quit prostitution, and as a result had also been evicted out of her apartment. The last cash she had went into the motel room and she was calling us asking to help her pay for the room.

We asked her if she wanted us to pay for the room, or show her how to not solve her problems with prostitution. She didn't understand the distinction. To pay for her room was not going to teach her how to get through life, and economic problems, without resorting to prostitution, or turning to other people to take care of her. We assured her when the motel came to her in the morning asking her to leave, she had the legal right to refuse. The motel had to give her a 24 hour lock-out notice legally. During this time frame, we knew of a social services program she could go down to and ask them for help with a voucher which would take care of the motel while she either found work or got into public housing.

She responded she didn't want the “humiliation” of staying over in the motel without paying them in cash. We responded we could show her how to get through this without resorting to going out on the corner to get cash to bail her out of this situation because we'd done this ourselves, and with other members, and knew we could help her get from point a to point b without turning a trick. I had been illegally evicted once myself and literally in this position. I went to the manager and said I would be fighting the eviction while seeking assistance, but assured them they would be paid. They actually agreed to work with me so they got paid and I even stayed there for a few months until I was able to get into another apartment. Everyone won and I didn't relapse. But I would have found it more “humiliating” to have resorted to sex work to solve the problem. I also knew God would find me a solution – as long as I was willing to take that solution.

This woman however cited this was “too embarrassing to her” to go and speak to her motel manager about her situation, and decided to go out on the corner to get the cash rather than to try to ride this out in another manner. In other words, she didn't want the “humiliation” in her mind of telling the motel manager she didn't have the cash to pay them the next morning. We however knew if she would have just “humbled” herself and talked to them like many people have who have found themselves in just such a financial jam, then we could get her through this without her having to resort to relapsing back into prostitution.

Should we have paid her rent? If at the first sign of financial struggle she was willing to go back on the street corner, then this would have been money wasted. We would have been no different than any “john” hearing her sob story and reaching for our wallet. Doing this would have saved her nothing. Because if that was her mind set, then the next time her check was late, she got fired, a client screwed her over on her paycheck, or any other financial crisis hit her that her first response was going to be to think of prostitution as her “back up option” then we saved her from nothing.

We're not here to hand out money. It's not in accordance with our 7th tradition for one and doesn't teach her how to rely upon herself for her solutions. It was her who felt like turning to financial aid and having to tell that manager she didn't have any cash was more “humiliating” than going out to have sex with a strange man for money. No thought being given to how that could be that “last trick” who murdered her, raped her, gave her a lethal disease, or even was an undercover cop who would arrest her.

Should Alcoholics Anonymous offer to pay the rent to every member who drinks up their paycheck and then can't pay their landlord once the binge is over? Who comes crying into the meeting “save me” from their bad decisions? We didn't create the situation this woman was in. She hadn't called us for help when she made up her mind to quit the industry without a plan in place about her rent which got her evicted in the first place. We weren't the ones who put her in a motel when we might have been able to let her stay with a member had she called our hotline sooner. But as long as she's blaming us for her rent not being paid – she's not getting out of “whore mentality” either.

This was clearly her setting up her “self-fulfilling prophecy” many of us do so we can justify to ourselves “well we tried to stop” and then cite off why it didn't work as to why they returned. This is no different in our minds than the addict who went back to using because “being clean didn't work”. This thinking is clearly not that of someone who has truly surrendered it doesn't work in the long run and money is the same deception that the high is to an addict that keeps them coming back again and again thinking it “will work this time”. Bailing someone out on their rent is not helping them leave the sex industry behind.

Leaving the sex industry is going to require adjustments which also require humility in order to be able to do them. You might have to move into a cheaper apartment, turn in your car for a cheaper model, buy generics at the market, and make all kinds of adjustments while you're finding your way out. These are the same things everyone else has gone through finding their way through life also. It's only our perceptions which can't make the distinction between being “humble” and being “humiliated”. We can assure you there are many others who feel having another person expend their body fluids onto your body is way more “humiliating” than cleaning a house or walking a dog for a living. We've also learned God will provide us with the “power to carry out His will”. Maybe it's not God's will for us to be wearing a $5,000 designer dress while putting ourselves through school. Maybe instead of stripping to pay for our tuition, maybe we need to be out asking for some grants, loans or scholarships.

All of this comes back to where money can't define us nor be the basis of our self-esteem in this “anonymous” program. Because if we are truly “all the same” around here, than even we can't judge each other based on such external things either. Social acceptability does not equate recovery with us anymore than our bank balance defines our recovery either. If there are no differences between us as “male” or “female” members, then there's also no differences between those of us living on an SSI disability check vs. those of us living in a mansion or making six figures a year in their own company. We're the same around here whether we arrive at the meeting on the bus or driving a Ferrari. Something we've literally seen at our meetings by the way.

The only thing that counts around here is those of us who have had a “spiritual awakening” and are thus reaching out to help others. That we've living the life God is having us surrender to. Once we've had the self-obsession leave us to where we realize we realize we're all connected, that our “personal recovery depends upon SWA unity”, then these are the role models we look up to around here.

Being of service is one of the best ways we know of to learn true “humility”. It's why many treatment programs have new patients going out cleaning the bathroom floors with a toothbrush. We think that's misguided and a form of “humiliation” actually because you're not benefiting the group using an ineffective cleaning method.

There is nothing which can build your value up more than being of service to the group, or those who “still suffer”, because that puts you in a position of “giving” rather than “taking”. So if you need to become more of the group, want to walk a more spiritual road, and fill up that “hole” in your spirit – then ask us how you can be of service. Our “leaders are but trusted servants”. Meaning until you can serve, you aren't ready to lead. The same holds true in all our affairs.



Sunday, October 9, 2016

BUT WHAT ABOUT A JOB?

BUT WHAT ABOUT A JOB?

Let's talk seriously about income now shall we? I talk about “income” rather than a “job” because the sad facts are jobs may not even be available where you're living even if you didn't have this thing dragging around behind you of the sex industry. One of the most common mistakes those of us make upon quitting sex work is go out to the nearest fast food joint, or minimum wage job, and then try to get hired. I get a lot of confused calls from people wondering why they didn't get hired at these jobs because their preconceived notion was “they'd hire anyone” taking it personal they weren't hired.

I saw a lot of this in Las Vegas. Vegas is a town where there's a lot of jobs available for someone who is willing to be a maid, house cleaner, etc. But go into the casino, motel, etc., ahead of the job interview and take a real good look at the maids they hire. You'll find many of them are minority women, older, without a lot of education. In other words, someone who really “needs” the job. Hiring managers report they don't want to spend the time it takes to train someone only to have them leave in a few months. So yes they'll hire people they think can't find work elsewhere who will stay loyal. Now if that fits your description, and this is what you want, great. If not, then move on.

If you're not sure, ask. Call up some hiring people, employment agencies, personnel offices, and tell them you're job hunting and would they mind if you asked them a few questions. Most won't mind at all. Ask them what they look for when hiring someone. Every region, every season, every industry, is different. This is why I say when you're ready, start asking questions. You might hear things like they look very carefully to make sure you're not “wearing too much make-up”. This tells you to be sure to tone it down when going on an interview.

Your sponsor can be of help to you. If not, ask us here at the main office. We have members who work with placing people in employment for a living. There are members here who can help you write a resume, figure out what you want to do now you're out, help you figure out how to apply for a job, and pretty much whatever you need to get on your feet financially. You just need to talk to us. We can also refer you to resources we've used effectively such as the book “Dress for Success” to name one. We even have a list of foundations who will invest in your starting up your own company, as well as scholarships available to those of us leaving the industry. People hire professionals to help them find work so realize it's not always as easy as falling off a log to find an income in this world.

I knew a woman who had been a stripper for a few years in Vegas. She was a beautiful woman. Tall, white, green eyes, lovely figure, and she was still young when she quit the sex industry. After knocking on doors day after day for maid, cashier, even parking attendant jobs and getting nowhere, she realized her best bet was probably going to become a dealer. So she got herself into the nearest dealer/bartender school and she was off in just days making a great deal of money legitimately. Her skills as a dancer came in very handy for her as a dealer in Las Vegas. She knew how to handle difficult drunks, how to graciously hustle tips, even how to count money well.

She was fine until the recession of 2008 hit. Now she's going to work and coming home with literally $20 in her pocket for a whole night's shift. She'd gotten married, had a few kids, bought a house and the last thing she wanted to do was jeopardize all of that by going back to work as a stripper. On the other hand, she was telling me how her health insurance for the family alone was $400 a month and making $20 a night as a dealer wasn't going to cut it.

So realize even if you get into a good job for a long time, there might come a change in our economy, or your personal life, which sets you right back on your hind legs all over again just like when you were new. That's life.

I told her the story I remembered in the Bible about the poor widow who was down to her last meal when the prophet showed up at her door asking for food. He told her to “look around your home” basically. All she could find was an empty vase. It suddenly filled with oil and he told her to go and sell this oil. No matter how much oil she sold, she still had more leftover to sell. She became a prosperous woman by selling the oil in this ever flowing vase.

Now I took this story to mean basically to “take stock” of what you not only have in your house physically, but also your skills and talents. So I asked her to give me an idea about what kinds of things did she have in her life and her home we could draw upon for inspiration. She told me she'd just invested in this ultra deluxe carpet cleaner she needed between the kids and the dogs in her new home. It was a very expensive professional cleaning model she'd just bought. This was also a very strong woman physically with a lot of ambition.

She knew smaller motels didn't have quite the same staff and resources as the larger hotels and they might appreciate someone who could offer them carpet cleaning without a lot of overhead costs. Next thing we know she's setting off to start knocking on doors on these smaller motels. She offers them a bargain of something like $50 a room to clean their carpets. Not only was she being offered 20 rooms at a shot to do at this price, coming home with $1000 for a day's work, but they invited her to come back once a month. Going from motel to motel she soon got herself some contracts set up. By agreeing to give them a set price if they signed a year's contract, she soon had herself booked for the next year making about $5000 a week.

When she didn't feel like working that day, she hired herself some day laborers to do the work for her. After a while she started doing nothing but contracts, and hiring out the actual labor to those willing to do the work for $20 a shot plus her supplying the materials. Within no time, she was making a $1,000,000 a year negotiating cleaning contracts. In her case, not making money as a dealer turned out to be a huge opportunity for her. We've seen over and over again where what's appeared to be a set-back actually was God opening up an opportunity for us we wouldn't have done otherwise. She sure wouldn't have started knocking on motel room doors with a carpet cleaner had she not found she wasn't making any money as a dealer any longer.

I've heard the complaints “there's no jobs”. That doesn't just apply to those of us coming out of the sex industry or who may have been victims of sex trafficking. Right now there is a shortage of jobs for everyone. I can't turn on a TV without hearing people with graduate degrees complaining about driving a cab to pay the rent. So welcome to the real world where everyone has to figure out a way to make a living without resorting to the sex industry to do so. But also keep in mind there are companies who openly will hire someone with a criminal record. You can find them online or check with us here at the world service office for a list of employers who overlook a criminal record in most cases.

You'll hear about scholarships. It never harms you to have an education. But keep in mind this is not a guarantee you'll be handed a job. You might have very real challenges you need to address such as a criminal record, being on probation, or even porn photos of yourself online creating havoc for you now. There are ways to get these photos taken down even if you've signed a model release.

For one, you can have your name trademarked. Then trademark your image. You can then go back and challenge those photos based on your trademark. Some clever members have changed their name legally. Thus their criminal records, or news clips about an arrest involving them, didn't show up when applying for a job. Others found getting married, and having a new married name also allowed them to basically “start over” again. Some have even been able to change their social security number if their past involved domestic abuse. It's also not as hard to expunge your criminal record as you might think. In Las Vegas for example, if you've stayed out of trouble for two years or more, there's a simple form you can fill out and give the court to have your records taken off the internet, and made almost impossible for someone to find doing a cursory job or housing search on you. In other cities, we've had members go into the court with their sponsors, along with proof they're staying out of trouble, and successfully appealed to the court to expunge their records so they can get work licensing or degrees.

Do not count on the first year “out” being able to hold onto the same job. I've rarely heard about us doing that. Most of us are used to a lifestyle where we've acted however we wanted, dressed how we wanted, talked how we wanted. Others of us have lived lives cowering in so much fear we're like an abused animal who has been chained up in the yard for too long. Whatever it is about us, people out there in the “square” world sense something is “off” about us and like people do when you aren't like them – they tend to shut you out. Cliques are just a natural thing for most people especially in the work force. When confronted with the “unknown” people generally react with fear. Meaning if they sense something “different” about you then you're likely not to be hired if that's what you're seeking.

Which is why if you are out job hunting, I suggest you go a day early, or even a few hours earlier, and take a good look around at the people who work at this company you've set your sights on. How do they dress? What type of people do they hire? When I went to go interview at an office where every other woman working there was 5'9”, 120 pounds, African-American and wearing a short skirt with high heels and three shades of eye shadow - I not only didn't fit that image myself but I could see this wasn't a place I wanted to work.

So do your homework. If you don't “fit” in, then see what you can do to fit in if that's what you want. I remember when I wanted to get work as a paralegal, most of them in the town I was in at that time all seemed to have the same kind of hair cut and color. I went down to the beauty salon and got that cut and color and had no problem finding good paying work. I also invested in a wardrobe which appeared to be a lot like the other women were wearing in law offices back then in that city. I tried to “blend in” as much as possible and for me it worked. You look like a “boss” and people will tend to think of you like one. It's just human nature. Can't afford a make-over? Talk to us as maybe we have a member whose a beautiful who can help you out. Ask ask ask ask and ye shall receive.

If you find you can't find a “job”, then look into how you can make some money. All over this world right now people are making money in ways other than through sex work. In fact, most of the wealth in this world is not being generated by those working in the sex industry. Ask yourself what your “vase of oil” is. I've heard of a lot of members who started up dog walking services. One woman worked her way up to a dog grooming van. She'd pull up to the dog park daily and soon told me she was making more money grooming dogs than she made as a prostitute. Having a lot more fun too.

Maybe you can't get a job, or start your own company, because you've got damage or illness from your time in the sex industry. I know of one woman who was shot in the back with a 9mm trying to leave her pimp. That woman wasn't going to be able to get a job doing anything for some time. She was having trouble just walking from the bed to the bathroom.

For her, she needed to turn to disability services. Since it takes time to apply for this, she then had to rely upon social services for a few months until they could arrange to get her a check coming in and housing. People get disabled all the time and if you're having trouble getting yourself some aid, go and find someone in that area who is getting aid. Ask them how they got assistance. Maybe they have a name or a phone number of someone who can help you.

Most of all, try and avoid the “self-fulfilling prophecy”. I got a a call a few days ago from a member of our program crying because she'd just been fired. As we talked more about it, she admitted she was talking on her cell phone repeatedly during work hours and in front of her supervisors. She had very large tattoos on her feet, arms and neck she wasn't covering up in an office environment. It's not that hard to wear long sleeves, a turtleneck, and boots or tights to cover up foot tattoos. As we talked, she admitted she was “swearing like a truck driver” in the office, coming in late, taking too long of smoke breaks, and basically just acting like she didn't really want the job. Well in all honesty she didn't. Being fired was her excuse to go back and turn a few tricks.

It's very common for those of us who aren't really “done” yet to go into some job we hate, doesn't pay the bills, or that we just screw to hell and back, so when we get fired we can blame life for going back to the sex industry. It's “not our fault” because we “had no choice and rent was due”. It's like the alcoholic who blames his wife or his job for his drinking. Once he really gets sober he finds they're not the problem after all. That or without needing the resentment any longer they get removed from his life. So get real with yourself about your desire to really leave the industry. You either want out or you don't. I can assure you the younger you are when you quit the better. There's nothing harder to try and accomplish than someone in their 60's trying to change their lives then.

Figuring out how to support yourself financially is something everyone in this world does at some point. It makes you part of society at large rather than being on the fringes. I myself after my stroke found myself suddenly flat on my back in bed unable to get out of it at risk of dying. Now it would have been real easy to say that being in such a position would be a great excuse to go back to madaming, screening calls, marketing calls, dispatch or whatever you want to call “working the phones”. I had rent to pay, a car payment, no health insurance, and a child to support. So if anyone had an “excuse” I sure did.

I prayed, then found ways to support us during that difficult period. I even made a deal with the supermarket next door to give me their food they were going to throw out at midnight every night. There was a chicken place that at 10 pm when they were closing they'd also give me whatever they hadn't sold. I actually had more food than I could eat when I made this arrangement! I found myself giving the leftovers to the halfway house a few blocks over. I took in a boarder who didn't want her abusive ex-husband to be able to trace where she was living. With the apartment in my name he couldn't find her. I just had to take stock of what my “vase of oil” was and move from there.

So my situation even became a blessing for others. I just had to be willing to “not take that first transaction”.



Monday, October 3, 2016

How Do I Give Up “All That Money”?

When I made a phone call to the people who mentored me into the sex industry, who I later learned had “tricked” me into making that phone call unknown to me however at the time of making that call, I had literally no food in the house left. I had maybe $0.03 in change in my purse I'd fished out of the couch. My rent was coming due in a few days. I think I had maybe 1/8 of a tank of gasoline in my little two door economy ca

I had been working as a waitress anywhere that would hire me while also going to college working on my psychology degree. I had just turned 18 years of age and moved out into my own apartment. I was absolutely determined not to go back to my mother's house either. After all the work I'd put into leaving my mother's house last thing I was going to do was admit defeat by returning home now with my tail between my legs broke and hungry.

I say this because I told myself I was “just going to work the phones” as a dispatcher at this escort service “until I'd paid my rent and got myself another job”. I had just been fired from just about every restaurant, bar and club in Los Angeles county and out of options. I had added up this magical dollar amount and posted it on my refrigerator telling myself I'd “quit once I hit my goal”.

Before I could hit this goal, I found myself working as more than a “dispatcher”. Tina, the girl who was assigned as my mentor, asked me to go into the man's house “just to keep an eye on her”. I would sit on the couch while she went into the bedroom in exchange for being paid extra as a driver. From the couch, I was then paid extra to take off my top and just be nude while she performed the sex. After she got me comfortable being in the house, then being nude, then it was more money to have sexual contact. A few months after going on calls with her, it wasn't a big deal to start going on my own and now here I was completely as an “escort”. I had gone from a “dispatcher” to a driver to now being a full fledged prostitute. Of course convincing myself I wasn't a common ordinary “prostitute” because I didn't ever stand on a street corner.

Once I hit my dollar amount I'd put on the fridge as my goal, I then thought “Well I really could use a better car before I give up this much money.”. Once I bought myself a beautiful new car, then I started thinking how nice a new wardrobe would be too. I mean a waitress couldn't possibly afford a new car or a new wardrobe so I'll just buy myself these things and “then I'll quit”. After the car and the clothing, I realized I had to have all new furniture too. Then of course I had to raise up the money to pay for the four year college I'd be going to once I finished up at the community college.

I added up how much money it would take me to finish paying for college, along with my living expenses once I got my degree, and then of course I reached that goal. Once hitting this amount, I started thinking “well after I get my degree then I'm going to need to set up my practice”. I had wanted to become a psychologist/author like Dr. Joyce Brothers. She worked out of her home so this of course meant I needed to buy a house nice enough for me to practice out of. Soon I had the money raised for my living expenses, tuition, even the house I wanted to live and practice out of once I got my degree.

I couldn't put the money into the bank because then the IRS would want to know where I was getting all this money from. I couldn't buy a house for cash because then I'd get the IRS wanting to know the source of all this money. I realized I would need to find a way to launder my cash or I'd never be able to spend it. This of course meant I needed to go rent myself an office, get a business license, and set up a phony business to launder the money through by paying myself a paycheck. So of course now I had to raise more money to pay for this office, furnishing it, paying for the business license, the accountant, and all that stuff.

I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets to prepare to move into the condo I'd just bought to live in while I “just finished school” and found the envelope I'd written my first “goal” of my rent on the apartment where I'd promised myself I'd “quit once I . . . “. In the drawer I found all the other envelopes and pieces of paper where I'd written one after the other of the “when I . . . “ then I would quit goals. I realized no matter how many goals I'd set as my “quit date” I was soon just finding another excuse and another excuse to keep changing my date where I told myself I “now had enough money I could quit”.

Many women in the industry have pimps. They give all their money to him and focus on paying him to shut him up. I didn't have a pimp. No, in my case it was always some imaginary goal or thing I “just had to have” before I'd quit. I would tell myself I'd quit “once I bought all new furniture for the apartment”. Then after I'd buy all that new furniture, I'd decide I hated the “color” or the “fabric” and I'd just give it all away. Then of course I had to buy something new again because I was now sitting on crates and an air mattress. The same with cars, furs, jewelry, etc. I would hear addicts talk about “chasing the high”. I realized I was like that addict chasing something I wasn't ever finding.

This is when it sunk in I wasn't in this “just until”. That was a hard day. It was a hard day to realize I was now in this business because I wanted to be in this business. No wolf was at the door. No pimp was threatening to kick my ass. No cop was chasing me. No monkey on my back telling me I had to go use drugs. No I was now a prostitute and I had absolutely no desire to stop any longer.

I mean why on earth was I thinking about quitting? Hell I could go on and do this until my legs fell off and then I could madam once I was 100 years old and in a wheel chair. When I got too old to do any of this any longer I could go get myself a job as a madam at a legal brothel. I mean why would I ever quit? To me sex work was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I joined a group which was forming back then called COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). This was a group based upon the idea if we had control over our bodies as women to get abortions, take birth control, etc., then why couldn't I also sell my sex if I wanted to also? I mean wasn't control over my body to do with as I wished include selling it? I could sell my hair to a wig maker, my blood to a blood bank and even my eggs to a fertility clinic so why couldn't I sell sexual intercourse then if this was my vagina to do with as I wished?

That's the way I felt back then and joined COYOTE so we could push towards decriminalization of sex work. I also wanted to improve the safety of sex workers because I thought it was absolutely insane how we couldn't call the police when we were being beaten and raped while a secretary or housewife could. I mean why was it “fair game” for us to be robbed, raped and and ransacked simply because of our profession being illegal?

I mean crack houses couldn't call the cops when they were robbed but why we were treated the same as crack dealers? This was what I told myself as I drove around in my Mercedes 450 SL convertible, wearing my fox fur coat, my fingers stacked with gold jewelry, cruising into up into my driveway of my condo south of Ventura Boulevard a few houses down from Hollywood movie stars. What was I thinking when thinking about ever quitting?

One night I had a horrifying dream of me sitting on the top bunk in a womens' jail. I was wearing this forest green dress which looked no different than if someone had put a hole in a hefty bag and told me it was a dress. I could feel the cold cement and hear the clanging noises of a jail cell doors slamming behind me. I've had dreams like this my whole life and I knew what it meant. When I have these prophetic dreams which come true – they are always like Polaroid snapshots in color I'm looking at. As I woke in a cold sweat from this dream I knew it was a warning of what was to come – I was about to be arrested.

That was my literal “wake-up call”. I phoned my mother and told her we needed to talk. We met in a Denny's because I knew she was going to freak out when I told her what I was about to tell her. I told her I'd had one of my prophetic dreams I was about to be arrested. This was why I believed I needed to just turn around now and walk away. I certainly had enough cash stashed away at this point to well afford finishing school and start a whole new life so why not. This was as good as any other day to quit – and quit while I was ahead. I had no criminal record of convictions, I had my health, I had plenty of money so now was the time to quit while I was in the best possible position to quit.

My mother of course started bringing up things like I had six months left on my lease at the warehouse and if I broke that then I'd owe them all that rent. I had her car payments still left to pay and other things I'd bought her on time which hadn't been paid off yet. There were ads I'd placed in magazines which weren't even due to come out yet for weeks that would be completely wasted if I walked away now. If I planned ahead I could probably even sell the business to someone. What about the lease on her office?

We'd also set up the first phone sex 900 line I was aware of anywhere in the country for that matter. This operation alone was bringing in $30,000 a week and mom loved running that business. The phone lines of course ran on 30 day cycles so even if we pulled the plug things would contine on for at least another month. The calls however were dependent upon the ads in the adult magazines (remember this was before the internet) and all my mom could do was talk about how much money I'd have to lose and shell out if I just walked away right then and there.

I didn't care. I told her the only way I knew not to get arrested like my dream had warned me was to stop and stop now. Then she started in with the lecture about how “impulsive I was” and I “wasn't thinking about anyone but myself” and I hadn't thought about what “she was going to do” if I pulled the plug on everything and how “selfish” I was being. She came after me like a dog wanting his bone. I said to her “What in the hell do you want out of me?” I mean here I am telling her I'm going to go to JAIL unless I walk away right now and all she's talking to me about is what is “she going to do?” and how “selfish I”m being?” So what did she propose exactly I do then?

My mom suggested since I had leases on everything, and car payments still coming due, that maybe I was just burned out. Maybe I just “needed a break”. Maybe instead of burning my bridges behind me “like I always did” as she reminded me, maybe I needed to just try and simply “take a vacation”. She suggested I just lock everything up and tell everyone I was “taking some time off” and to go and “try life without the sex industry” before I went and “just tore everything we'd built all to shreds”. I could cut off the phones, lock up everything, run ads to sell the cars, and just go rent a nice hotel room with room service for a few weeks, put my feet up and take a long well deserved break. That I could “try on” quitting the industry like a pair of shoes and see how everything fit.

It made sense to me. I understood how much sense Satan must have made to Eve and thus Eve made to Adam because that's how evil operates. It always sounds so “logical”. Sure it sounds crazy to have the whole world at your feet, name everything in existence, but don't touch that one tree. I mean what sense does that make right? Why put the tree there in the middle of everything right where I can touch it if you don't want me to take a look at it or even taste one? Certainly God wouldn't have put the tree right there unless he wanted us to eat from it right?

My mom didn't pitch the fit I expected at all. No she made perfect sense and I agreed to her proposal. I mean what would it hurt? I went and rented myself a beautiful room at a nice hotel which had Japanese food they'd bring for room service that would let me and my pit bull Corky go anywhere we wanted in the hotel together. It wasn't too far from my boyfriend of that time period to come and spend the night so I settled into my first “vacation” I'd had since I'd crossed the line into the sex industry.

I'm sitting there one night having just had some sushi sent to my room for dinner when the phone rings. It's the front desk telling me I need to “come and move my car because it's about to be towed”. Only I'd taken a cab there so I told them they were mistaken and hung up. The phone rings again there's a “problem with my bill and I need to come down to the desk to discuss the charges”. I reminded them I had a deposit and it was 9:00 at night and I'd come talk to them tomorrow during reasonable hours.

The clerk then insisted I had to come down immediately to sign something or they'd have to send out animal control in the morning because of a complaint had been signed about my dog running around unleashed and threatening people. As a pit bull this was a serious accusation. I reminded them my dog is never unleashed and argued but the clerk was insisting I needed to come down there immediately no matter what I said.

I opened my door to go to the front desk and I'm immediately pushed back into my room by a SWAT team. I look above me and actually see a helicopter shining a light upon me. I then see teams of armored agents coming after me like I'm Pablo Escobar or something. Talk about “shock and awe” because I'm completely in disbelief about why it appears half of the SWAT teams in the state are now all over me, invading my room, handcuffing me in my PJ's, and now stripping apart my room like they're looking for the Holy Grail or something. I mean what on earth did I do to warrant what appeared to literally be half of LAPD outside to arrest me.

I later learned to get me arrested the cop who was putting this whole thing together had literally formed a task force in order to go across all the different jurisdictions I had carefully set up so I couldn't be arrested. I had the warehouse in Van Nuys, while the phones were in an office in downtown Los Angeles, which rang through an apartment in Oxnard, and nothing was even in my name. Who would think yes someone would go to all of that trouble just to arrest one hooker right?

I was in so much denial about what was happening in my own life when the arrest warrant said I had 25 telephones operating I kept insisting there was a mistake. Then I started counting in my head and realized I actually had more than 25 phones and then realized I was in some serious trouble. My bail was $5,000 so I whipped it out at the station to bail myself out. The police officers' eyes literally rolled back in their heads when they saw this much cash on me. I guess they were used to junkie prostitutes who never had $5.00 on them at any given moment.

The cop then says to me “Well if you got $5,000 to throw around so easy how about if we make your bail $10,000?”. I said “Fine” and reached into my bra for more cash. This made him so angry he turned purple literally and started swearing at me like I'd killed his dog or something. He then throws me back into the cell and says “Let's see how fast you whip out $50,000 with no 10 % you little bitch”. As he goes storming off to get my bail raised I swear I can see steam coming out of ears.

I then went to post the $50,000 bail when my attorney shows up at the cell. He warns me if I post this much cash for myself then they'll claim the money is from “racketeering” and charge me with another felony. I then say I'll have my mother do it. He warns me it's a common practice to arrest whoever posts the bail for a prostitute as her pimp. Then if the pimp can't explain where the cash came from he's then charged with a felony and everyone's in jail.

It gets more complicated when I learn this cop has now told every bail bondsman he wants me kept locked up and no one had better post my bail or there's going to be hell to pay. Thankfully, I had a regular who offered up his house as collateral and my attorney had a personal friend who was a bondsman. I was able to get my bail posted this way. If not for that, I think the guy would have going like “Let's Make a Deal” because he didn't want me out of police custody.

I mean who knew posting bail could get me into more criminal charges when cops want you locked up as bad as these people wanted me locked up. My attorney later advised me he had felt they were trying so hard to keep me in jail because they had planned on having me murdered on the inside and blaming it on another inmate. He had told me his other clients had told him about being approached by people with a lot of money offering to do the job. Supposedly a fake “riot” was supposed to be created and I was supposed to then have an “accident”.

As I'm going through this posting of bail and hearing about all these people who are wanting me dead I am suddenly hit with the realization I was not living the “rosy carefree life” I had thought I was living before the arrest. Here I am fighting proudly for my sisters and brothers at COYOTE protests and outreach and insisting I have a “wonderful great life” whose “only problem is it's illegal”. I suddenly feel like I'm just lifted up some horrible rock where all the maggots and slime have been hiding underneath hidden from sight. This I later learned was called “denial”.

As more and more of the truth about my life comes out, I realized if I hadn't of been arrested I would have most certainly been murdered in some form or fashion before that year was over. I had no idea at all I was in the middle of multiple scandals then – one which was later named “Iran Contra”. When I was being paid to do things like drive a truck laden with crates of unprocessed cocaine leaves which had been loaded off a boat which had just come in the country, and then driven it to a processing warehouse in south central Los Angeles where it was then turned into grams and rocks, and from there I was giving it to my girlfriends who were then taking it in their purses into places such as the Beverly Hilton hotel to party it up with the Hollywood Elite – I mean how convenient for these guys there were killers like the “Grim Reaper” running around hacking up women like me for breakfast while the police weren't doing the slightest bit of investigation into their murders. It was being written up as “just another dead whore” as they saved their police resources for when a “real human being” was involved.

I remember while I was still in custody watching these mothers on TV. Their aughters' had been murdered and then left like trash in alleys protesting how the police weren't lifting so much as a finger to investigate who murdered their baby girls. The public attitude was like “well what did you expect?” like these mothers' desire to have their baby's treated with proper respect was completely out of line or something. Their protesting in the streets didn't even show so much as a sign of human emotion on the faces of the LAPD where if these bodies had been that of dogs I think they would have shown more concern. Seeing how little my life mattered to the world because of how I was classified as “just another whore” was yet another wake-up call to me that my life in the sex industry might have been paying me a lot of cash – but society sure didn't value me as a person for all that money.

This is when I had my first “epiphany” or “moment of clarity” or whatever you want to call it when I felt reality hitting me upside the head like I'd just been whacked by a 2x4 hard. Yes I might be making a lot of money in the sex industry but as far as society was concerned I had absolutely no value in it's eyes because of it no matter whether it was “legal” or “illegal”.

As someone in sex work, legal or not, I never saw whole communities organizing searches in the middle of the night and in freezing weather dragging out the blood hounds to go and find the bodies of women like us as they did for others who were called “housewives”, “mother's” or “secretaries”. That someone who I looked down upon like I had been looking down on maybe a convenience store clerk would have more “value” in society's eyes than someone like me. Sex worker was a job title but a statement of who I was as a person so who had I been kidding all this time?

This was the first time I stopped looking at cash and began looking at things like “value”. At one of my all night coffee outings with my first sponsor, Paul, he had me pull out a piece of paper and list how much money I made on a good month in the industry. I happily wrote down the $30,000 aweek from the phone sex operation, and $10,000 a night from when I went to a movie star's house in Bel Air and “entertained” him during a coke binge when he couldn't even get an erection, and proudly showed him how much money I could make on a good month during my prime.

Then he wrote a big slash down the page and titled one side “Income” with the other side titled “Expenses”. Here he told me to list the attorney's fees, fines, probation fees, surveillance equipment, my gun, self-defense training, car alarms, the cost of money laundering, my expenses, overhead, condoms, lubricants, laundry services, maids, ordering food out because I was too busy or exhausted to cook, moving in the middle of the night to avoid arrest or death threats from a pimp, what I paid doctor's to treat me without notating it on my account so I wouldn't have something incriminating me as an illegal prostitute, and basically write down every single thing the industry “cost” me including the money the police had confiscated from me, the jewerly they're stolen from me because they knew it would just be auctioned anyway since I couldn't prove I'd gotten it from a “legit” source, and right down to how much my pager cost me very month.

I was devastated when I realized not only was I operating at a loss most of the time, but further I hadn't paid a dime into my FICO so I also now had no social security to fall back onto. For all my bragging and self-flattery I'd been doing to myself about how much of the”high life” I was living as a sex worker that clerk at a convenience store was probably making more of a profit monthly than I was. Sure I looked more wealthy on the outside but here I was with it all taken from me by LAPD in two shakes because of how I'd obtained it all illegally. Sure I could claim some of the stuff back IF I could produce receipts or the testimony of people about who and why gave it to me. So I didn't even really own what I thought I'd owned after all even.

Then if I wasn't feeling stupid enough at this point yet he asked me to now write down all the things the industry had “cost” me other than money. He wanted me to look at the types of friends I had in the industry. How Alex Adams, who I thought was my “friend”, was really an FBI informant who had been part of putting me me behind bars. All the nights I thought I was confiding in her as a friend were being recorded and then used against me when I didn't do what these government men wanted me to do.

When I wouldn't sell them the women they wanted me to sell them then I had the same thing happening to me I've learned is the pattern – we're arrested, given the walk of shame, our faces and names plastered all over the press so we didn't stand a chance of being able to leave the sex industry for any other type of work. Then once we had no other options but to continue on as a madam or escort because of the press, the restrictions probation had put on us, losing everything during the arrest – then when they came back to us again THIS time asking us to do what they want us to do we're much more cooperative So for all the money I thought I was making I was now right in the gutter with the rest of the gutter trash. Because I'd now also lost control over my life and all dignity as a human being.

Those were the things no amount of money could buy me back if I allowed that to happen to me and if I didn't leave the sex industry behind right then and there. Now am I saying this about anyone else other than me? No. I was the one in that position and no one else. This list I was writing out about what the industry was costing me was my list and my list alone. Every person on this earth has to decide what they can live with and what they can't. We all have to decide for ourselves what we value and how much. So in some ways this inventory I was doing was part of my First Step as well as what became part of my Fourth Step.

I strongly recommend all new members who are coming in saying to themselves “How am I ever going to cope with not making this amount of money” to do such an inventory for themselves. I further want you to ask yourself who really has the wealth in this world? Those who are in sex work or? I mean seriously ask yourself how many billionaire strippers do you know? More important than how much money you are telling yourself you can make IN the industry I want you to think ask yourself how much you're LEAVING the industry with. For that matter, how much ANY of us leave the industry with. In the 30 years now I've answered this hotline I'd yet to see ONE of us, and I mean a ONE, who has left the industry with a $1.00 to their name.

I remember once a woman who had been working at the legal brothels of Nevada bragging to me about her million dollar retirement account she was going to leave with when she retired at 50 years of age. I kept hearing “I'm 48 now” and then I'm “49 years old now” as she was bragging to me she was going to retire at 50 years of age with her house paid and car paid for and her retirement account and nest egg of over a $1,000,000 she had squared away. I remember her insistence to me how she was “different” and therefore “not like the other girls” and how she was going to “show me” that you could leave this industry with money on you to show for it.

Now again I'm not saying there aren't men and women who don't leave the industry with money. I'm sure they're there. I just don't see them calling our hotline for help to leave the industry and doing so because they have a flushed our 401K retirement account. So far just about everyone who calls up our hotline tells me they can't even afford to buy a copy of our “Recovery Guide” when it was $4.99 to print.

It's also embedded in my brain how on the 50th year of this woman's life when she went to retire on that nest egg she'd been bragging to me about she had and why she was “different” and learned it had been raided by Bernie Madoff. All of it. Every penny gone. This woman now had to start over again from scratch at 50 years of age without enough money in the bank to play for some plastic surgery because she was now competing with 21 year old's who were now wondering “who the hell is this old broad?” coming out to stand in their line-up now. I tried to reach out to her when she went on her well deserved nervous breakdown after learning she'd been cleaned out. The brothel owners kept blocking me from reaching her. I learned she'd gone on a two year drug and alcohol binge before deciding she “didn't have a choice” but to go back to work at the ranch and “start over”. '

Of course we knew there were other options for her than to keep doing that line-up at 51 years old and up - but when she's only hearing the voices of the brothel owners telling her to “come back” as her source of making her income back then she's not going to probably think of those options. If she wanted to keep working at her age because she wanted to – I'd totally respect her decision. But when I see she's doing it because she's convinced there's “no other way” then I don't think that's the plan God has for us.

I remember seeing a documentary on how Colonel Sanders had hit a rock bottom at an advanced age. I think he was 50 years old when he created the method of making chicken he became known for. The film showed how he would pack up his equipment in the trunk of his car and drive from town to town introducing restaurant owners to his methods and recipes to franchise his idea. Mind you this was after he'd gone through a horrible business loss where he'd lost everything before starting over again essentially with just his chicken, a modified pressure cooker and a simple recipe.

There's stories of women like Grandma Moses who didn't start painting until she was 78 years of age, or of Jim Cramer who has the show “Mad Money”. He once lived in his car for a year while he was figuring out how to make a living off the stock market. The guy who made the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion empire once was mixing up his lotions in a trash can while sleeping in his car he was so broke.

So there are stories upon stories of people who have lost everything and built their way to wealth, along with those who were in advanced years and who achieved success from a point of zero in this world. But I have YET to hear a story of an older sex worker who has done the same within the sex industry – legal or not. Now trust me I scan the news and I answer our hotline and I assure you'd I'd love to hear the story of one of us who leaves this industry with a bank roll. Key words being “leave”. Because it really is like gambling – anyone can win $1,000,000 on that table but it's another ball game entirely to leave the casino with that money in hand.

Even if I'm wrong, that's not the point here of this chapter. You're coming to us saying you don't see how you're going to be able to make the kind of money you're using to making in sex work now if you quit. You want to know how you're going to pay next month's rent or that next car payment that's coming due soon if you just up and quit. Okay, let's ask you this – have you ever tried to quit before? Have you ever quit the industry, got a job and supported yourself for a time outside of the industry?

Meaning guess what? You've had a “job” outside of the sex industry before coming to our program and what happened? You went back to sex work because that's where you are now. So did having a job, the house, the car, and all your ducks in a row back then stop you from returning to sex work? Nope. In fact, you probably did what about 99 % of us do.

You got yourself some horrible low paying job with some awful boss that you absolutely hated that any idiot could do and then when it didn't work out because it couldn't – you then got to say “See? It didn't work and I had to go back to sex work.” No different than the addict who goes back into the old neighborhood to tell his new friends how great he's doing staying clean and winding up loaded by morning with his old buddies. Or the alcoholic who goes into the piano bar “just to listen to the music” who winds up drunk by morning. It's called the “set-up”. If you have any idea how many of us I see getting some job at a fast food joint or a convenience store that clearly no one is going to call a career move and then when it doesn't even pay the rent the first month they get to throw up their hands and say “I knew this wouldn't work”. I mean come on what a set-up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It didn't work because “just quitting” doesn't work. This isn't a disease like alcoholism where all you have to do is “not take that first drink” and you're stringing together days of sobriety. To them, the more days they're sober the better they're going to do in life. Not so with us. We can't just “stop” and then all of our problems stop. Nor is going out to get someone to stick us in some residential program like we're animals in a shelter who can't manage our lives an answer either. Sooner or later we have to face the fork in the road for us. That day when we have to decide what in the hell we're going to do with our lives. Everyone on this earth has to decide how they're going to eat and put a roof over their heads and we can't stay children forever. At some point we have to decide this also.

But I acknowledge my experience isn't the same as some others. We have members for example who were pimped and/or trafficked who were lucky to escape the situation with their lives. One of our early members, Vanessa, had been chained to a bed for over a year while bikers sold sex with her to men they'd bring up to her room in a hotel they owned for sex. She had food brought to her room and her chain extended to the bathroom and this was her world for a year. One day there was a fire and she was suddenly free. This was in 1970's San Francisco and no one was going to believe her story. Besides, they had been injecting her with drugs to keep her sedated so very shortly she knew she was going to have to find drugs or she was going to be very sick very soon. All she had was the clothes on her back, not even a pair of shoes to her name.

The only thing she could think of to do was she'd noticed a bar down the street. Maybe there she could find a trick who would be able to get her enough cash to get some food, some dope a room for the night. What else were her options really? The homeless shelter back then wouldn't take prostitutes which in her daisy dukes and no shoes that's just what she looked like at the moment. Especially being as she hadn't been outside of a hotel room for a year and strung out on drugs as she was.

What do you do when you're trying to leave the industry, but you also got to eat? I used to have a terrible time with a woman in Las Vegas who would go up and down Las Vegas strip telling prostitutes “Jesus loves you” and promising them if they quit “cold turkey” then she would show them how her church could help them get off the streets. She's convince these women to come to her church, parade them around asking for donations to build her a residential program, and then send these women home. Well soon the 1st of the month came around and so did the rent coming due. The prostitutes, or ex-prostitutes, would start calling her wanting to know about how their rent was going to get paid. She'd tell them “Jesus will provide” and “I'l pray for you” and then she'd cut off the call!

I found out about this because these women in a panic would go online looking for a solution and come across our hotline. So I'm now getting a couple of women every month calling me up in a panic as they've got kids and a 5 day eviction notice in their hands and they've already done things like thrown out their “Black Book” and cut off their cell phones. I'm now having to file a Stay of Eviction to buy them some time, and then I'm the one frantically running around either trying to find them work or some local church or program that will assist them with the rent, all while assuring them it's all going to be okay if they just hang on. Of course they're feeling really betrayed and exploited at this point by what this religious fund raiser did because she's now raised over $1,000,000 to build her program while they're now stuck with no money in the house for their trust. On top of it they're now feeling even more pimped than they did on the corner.

With the women who contacted our hotline in this panic, we managed to get them all sorted out without them having to resort to going back to the sex industry. Like anyone who has a financial crisis in life due to death, divorce, disease or losing their job – we got them through it and they're doing fine now paying their bills other ways than through prostitution. They just had to “come to believe a power greater” could “restore some sanity” to their lives. The group working together was able to always figure out some solution for those calling us in a panic.

But what about Vanessa? Would it have been wrong for her to turn a trick to pay for her supper? I used to have a terrible fight with a methadone clinic we once had a meeting at. These women were only allowed to stay in the residential program for 30 days. Then they were booted out whether they had any new place to stay, a job, any money, etc. Meaning if they hadn't found a job or housing then that's where they were at 30 days – right back on the street corner. What would happen is they'd not come to a meeting until about the 27th day. Then they'd come in crying they “needed money and a place to stay” and all they were looking for out of us was cash - not a program.

It didn't matter if we gave it to them or they got it from a trick off the corner – these women didn't care where the money came from and to them we were just another “trick” if we handed over cash to them to help. We aren't a bank, a landlord nor an employer and as a “fully self-supporting” program it wasn't our place to pay their rent to keep them off the streets. That would make about as much sense as us telling an alcoholic in AA we'd pay their rent for them as long as they stayed sober. That's not working a program for anyone by anyone's standards.

What we did do was to tell the methadone program they clearly weren't being responsible to their clients to focus only on their methodone, doing nothing about their housing and employment situation for them, then boot them out after 30 days with sticking us in the middle to try and do what they aren't doing. They were the ones getting federal grant money to run their program, so it wasn't right to use us as free labor to not buckle down and hire someone to deal with this gap which was literally forcing these women in our opinion to not even see the point of bothering to get out of prostitution if they were just going to be homeless in 30 days.

So we advised the women they were legal residents of this program and were not required by law to leave the premises in 30 days if they didn't want to. As legal residents, they could insist on staying until properly legally evicted and thus getting out when they were good and financially ready to get out if they didn't want to go back to prostitution because of not having other options. We advised them if they wanted, they could exert their legal right to remain and stay until either legally evicted from the premises, or they found work and housing. But either way there was choices to simply having to say “oh I've got no choice” and going to stand on the corner. We were helping them to find a way to deal with “life on life's terms” without the use of drugs, alcohol, nor prostitution.

But this still leaves us with women in situations like Vanessa's. For cases like this, we refer to what an addict in Narcotics Anonymous would do when a doctor insists the taking of a drug is something that has to be done or the person could die. I remember during the delivery of my daughter my blood pressure soared so high they told me I had no choice – it was either take the pain medication or risk both of us dying right there in delivery. I let them give me the pain medication, but I didn't consider it a relapse. The doctors were telling me it was something I had to take to survive, and therefore not a “relapse” or me using the drug to “get high” or “avoid dealing with life”. I certainly didn't make myself pregnant with high blood pressure just to have an excuse to take a pain killer.

The Bible talks about how when in a situation where you are starving you can “legally” steal food. It takes about how when you're back on your feet however, you replace what was stolen “seven fold” along with making your “amends” to those you stole from. If prostitution, stripping, or porn performing is illegal where you're at, or something you would consider a “relapse” because you're working a program of abstinence from sex work, but it does get down to the point where it's starve or trick – then if the Bible allows for you to steal to survive hunger, and even Narcotics Anonymous has guidelines for how to use drugs in recovery without it being a relapse – then I would take this to be a guideline. If you literally can find no other options – then look to the story of Mary also in the Bible. When confronted, all Jesus told her was to “go and sin no more”. Do what you got to do, then the minute you don't got to – go and “sin no more”. Make whatever amends you need to “except when to do so would injure them or others” and move on. If even an addict finds themselves in situations like child birth where even they have to put a drug in their system to survive – the rule of thumb is whatever it takes to preserve life. You can worry about the “quality” of that life once you've taken another breath, or taken care of any child or animal depending upon you also. No one in this program is going to hold against you surviving.

Now this doesn't give you license to go out and spend your rent money on a dress and then turn around and say “oh I have no choice”. We're talking if you've truly exhausted all options, tried to work things out with our program to the best of your ability, and you truly have no other choice to survive but to cross that line to take that first “transaction”. Again, the minute it's possible to stop – stop. Make amends and then move on. If you're not in a situation where you can stop just yet, well then start working on your plans. No one loses 100 pounds in one day – sometimes things take time to go from point A to point B. As long as your “desire” is there and you're moving towards your goal of quitting – that's the main thing to focus on. If again you can't lose 100 pounds in one day we also understand sometimes things take time. Just stay focused on your exit plan then and keep moving forward.

Especially if you are in a situation where you are being forced or threatened in some fashion. The rule of thumb is to always make sure you are “not injuring” anyone, including yourself first. If your leaving the industry endangers your life or that of others, then you need to stop, back up, and get in touch with someone in our program immediately. Then start working on your exit plan. Exit plans are different in every situation. Sometimes you can just leave. Other times you need to diffuse your pimp or captor first before you can safely leave. In this situation, you have to go by what won't harm another person or yourself first when making your exit plan. Sometimes it's as simple as calling 911 while other times it might require a whole sting storage. Your situation might even call for something as drastic as running off to Canada where they don't extradite for child custody or even living “off the grid” for a while to further protect you and your family.

As long as you have an exit plan in place and you're moving towards your goal, then we understand these things take time. We don't care if you come to a meeting in full stripper regala for years – as long as your “desire” is there, combined with you having an exit plan put together with people who have effective experience in such things, and you moving forward with those plans step by step – then you're a welcome member of this program and we want to be there to help you through all of this. That's why we're here – to do together what we can't do by ourselves. To “keep what we have by giving it away”. Even God who led the slaves out of Egypt didn't see fit to bring his people to their new home for 40 years. That was 40 years of eating manna and walking the desert – but they did wind up free people, no longer slaves, and in their new homes.

But if you're still sitting there saying “I'd like to quit but I got a car payment in three days so I'm still not clear what to do here.” Welcome to life honey. Everyone in this world has some thing like a day when they get fired right before the car payment is due. Then do they go out and turn a trick or grab a gun and rob a bank?

No. They sit down and “figure out” what they're going to do about the car payment. They either turn the car back into the lot so their credit isn't harmed, they ask for an extension, they sell the car, they get a payday loan, or they find a way to make that payment. Other people figure out a solution other than picking up the phone and booking a date. Remember, there's a huge difference between a car payment and staring into the faces of six kids who need dinner in an hour and you don't have a slice of bread nor a penny in your pocket. When you're talking about sustaining life – this when you can start entertaining ideas about making an “exception” for yourself of the “no first transaction” rule.

That's what “other” people do who aren't us is figure these things outo some “other way” and this is your perfect chance to now live “life on life's terms” and join the human race who now have to figure ut like everyone else in the world who has to figure out how to make a car payment when they've lost a job. Think of it like robbing a bank. It's not something you consider doing lightly or often.

Still don't know what to do? Go ask someone who has been in that position what they did. If you can figure out how to get away from a manic coming after you high on drugs who hasn't slept in a week chasing you with a machete and calling you by the name of his ex-wife – then you can figure out how to deal with a little old thing like a car payment without “taking that first transaction”. There are people all over this world and throughout history who have gotten through hard financial adjustments without resorting to “turn a trick” or hopping on that stage or jumping in front of the camera to manage things.

Welcome to the real world. It's called “life”. Many people will tell you it revolves around a lot of other things besides money. In fact, there's some people out there who tell you they have things they wouldn't sell for any amount of money. Now's the time when you pull out your own “inventory” and figure out what those things are for you now in recovery. The answers are all provided to you to find solutions. You can “pray for knowledge of God's will for you and the power to carry that out” along with taking a “group conscience” where “God's will may express itself” through members of this program. This is where you sitting down with your sponsor and other members of this group becomes a valuable part of the recovery process for you.

Because instead of us answering this question for you about “How are you going to ever manage without making that kind of money?” as you did in sex work, we're going to instead ask you to define all those things “other” than money which are more important to you you need to be focusing on instead of that money. To us, it's like sitting around asking us to tell you when to hit that crap table to win the big prize. It just doesn't work that way and even if it did – again we haven't seen a lot of people leaving the casino with the money in hand.

Besides, we can assure you this one thing about recovery. If you are in line with what “God's will” is for you then we do know the “power to carry it out” will appear. The red sea will part when you're standing at the edge of it needing to move on. But if you want to go back to the land of Egypt – well then no the sea isn't going to part. So you need to tell us what you're moving towards and the rest will all start to move forward across that new wet path!



How Do I Give Up “All That Money”?

When I made a phone call to the people who mentored me into the sex industry, who I later learned had “tricked” me into making that phone call unknown to me however at the time of making that call, I had literally no food in the house left. I had maybe $0.03 in change in my purse I'd fished out of the couch. My rent was coming due in a few days. I think I had maybe 1/8 of a tank of gasoline in my little two door economy car.

I had been working as a waitress anywhere that would hire me while also going to college working on my psychology degree. I had just turned 18 years of age and moved out into my own apartment. I was absolutely determined not to go back to my mother's house either. After all the work I'd put into leaving my mother's house last thing I was going to do was admit defeat by returning home now with my tail between my legs broke and hungry.

I say this because I told myself I was “just going to work the phones” as a dispatcher at this escort service “until I'd paid my rent and got myself another job”. I had just been fired from just about every restaurant, bar and club in Los Angeles county and out of options. I had added up this magical dollar amount and posted it on my refrigerator telling myself I'd “quit once I hit my goal”.

Before I could hit this goal, I found myself working as more than a “dispatcher”. Tina, the girl who was assigned as my mentor, asked me to go into the man's house “just to keep an eye on her”. I would sit on the couch while she went into the bedroom in exchange for being paid extra as a driver. From the couch, I was then paid extra to take off my top and just be nude while she performed the sex. After she got me comfortable being in the house, then being nude, then it was more money to have sexual contact. A few months after going on calls with her, it wasn't a big deal to start going on my own and now here I was completely as an “escort”. I had gone from a “dispatcher” to a driver to now being a full fledged prostitute. Of course convincing myself I wasn't a common ordinary “prostitute” because I didn't ever stand on a street corner.

Once I hit my dollar amount I'd put on the fridge as my goal, I then thought “Well I really could use a better car before I give up this much money.”. Once I bought myself a beautiful new car, then I started thinking how nice a new wardrobe would be too. I mean a waitress couldn't possibly afford a new car or a new wardrobe so I'll just buy myself these things and “then I'll quit”. After the car and the clothing, I realized I had to have all new furniture too. Then of course I had to raise up the money to pay for the four year college I'd be going to once I finished up at the community college.

I added up how much money it would take me to finish paying for college, along with my living expenses once I got my degree, and then of course I reached that goal. Once hitting this amount, I started thinking “well after I get my degree then I'm going to need to set up my practice”. I had wanted to become a psychologist/author like Dr. Joyce Brothers. She worked out of her home so this of course meant I needed to buy a house nice enough for me to practice out of. Soon I had the money raised for my living expenses, tuition, even the house I wanted to live and practice out of once I got my degree.

I couldn't put the money into the bank because then the IRS would want to know where I was getting all this money from. I couldn't buy a house for cash because then I'd get the IRS wanting to know the source of all this money. I realized I would need to find a way to launder my cash or I'd never be able to spend it. This of course meant I needed to go rent myself an office, get a business license, and set up a phony business to launder the money through by paying myself a paycheck. So of course now I had to raise more money to pay for this office, furnishing it, paying for the business license, the accountant, and all that stuff.

I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets to prepare to move into the condo I'd just bought to live in while I “just finished school” and found the envelope I'd written my first “goal” of my rent on the apartment where I'd promised myself I'd “quit once I . . . “. In the drawer I found all the other envelopes and pieces of paper where I'd written one after the other of the “when I . . . “ then I would quit goals. I realized no matter how many goals I'd set as my “quit date” I was soon just finding another excuse and another excuse to keep changing my date where I told myself I “now had enough money I could quit”.

Many women in the industry have pimps. They give all their money to him and focus on paying him to shut him up. I didn't have a pimp. No, in my case it was always some imaginary goal or thing I “just had to have” before I'd quit. I would tell myself I'd quit “once I bought all new furniture for the apartment”. Then after I'd buy all that new furniture, I'd decide I hated the “color” or the “fabric” and I'd just give it all away. Then of course I had to buy something new again because I was now sitting on crates and an air mattress. The same with cars, furs, jewelry, etc. I would hear addicts talk about “chasing the high”. I realized I was like that addict chasing something I wasn't ever finding.

This is when it sunk in I wasn't in this “just until”. That was a hard day. It was a hard day to realize I was now in this business because I wanted to be in this business. No wolf was at the door. No pimp was threatening to kick my ass. No cop was chasing me. No monkey on my back telling me I had to go use drugs. No I was now a prostitute and I had absolutely no desire to stop any longer.

I mean why on earth was I thinking about quitting? Hell I could go on and do this until my legs fell off and then I could madam once I was 100 years old and in a wheel chair. When I got too old to do any of this any longer I could go get myself a job as a madam at a legal brothel. I mean why would I ever quit? To me sex work was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I joined a group which was forming back then called COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). This was a group based upon the idea if we had control over our bodies as women to get abortions, take birth control, etc., then why couldn't I also sell my sex if I wanted to also? I mean wasn't control over my body to do with as I wished include selling it? I could sell my hair to a wig maker, my blood to a blood bank and even my eggs to a fertility clinic so why couldn't I sell sexual intercourse then if this was my vagina to do with as I wished?

That's the way I felt back then and joined COYOTE so we could push towards decriminalization of sex work. I also wanted to improve the safety of sex workers because I thought it was absolutely insane how we couldn't call the police when we were being beaten and raped while a secretary or housewife could. I mean why was it “fair game” for us to be robbed, raped and and ransacked simply because of our profession being illegal?

I mean crack houses couldn't call the cops when they were robbed but why we were treated the same as crack dealers? This was what I told myself as I drove around in my Mercedes 450 SL convertible, wearing my fox fur coat, my fingers stacked with gold jewelry, cruising into up into my driveway of my condo south of Ventura Boulevard a few houses down from Hollywood movie stars. What was I thinking when thinking about ever quitting?

One night I had a horrifying dream of me sitting on the top bunk in a womens' jail. I was wearing this forest green dress which looked no different than if someone had put a hole in a hefty bag and told me it was a dress. I could feel the cold cement and hear the clanging noises of a jail cell doors slamming behind me. I've had dreams like this my whole life and I knew what it meant. When I have these prophetic dreams which come true – they are always like Polaroid snapshots in color I'm looking at. As I woke in a cold sweat from this dream I knew it was a warning of what was to come – I was about to be arrested.

That was my literal “wake-up call”. I phoned my mother and told her we needed to talk. We met in a Denny's because I knew she was going to freak out when I told her what I was about to tell her. I told her I'd had one of my prophetic dreams I was about to be arrested. This was why I believed I needed to just turn around now and walk away. I certainly had enough cash stashed away at this point to well afford finishing school and start a whole new life so why not. This was as good as any other day to quit – and quit while I was ahead. I had no criminal record of convictions, I had my health, I had plenty of money so now was the time to quit while I was in the best possible position to quit.

My mother of course started bringing up things like I had six months left on my lease at the warehouse and if I broke that then I'd owe them all that rent. I had her car payments still left to pay and other things I'd bought her on time which hadn't been paid off yet. There were ads I'd placed in magazines which weren't even due to come out yet for weeks that would be completely wasted if I walked away now. If I planned ahead I could probably even sell the business to someone. What about the lease on her office?

We'd also set up the first phone sex 900 line I was aware of anywhere in the country for that matter. This operation alone was bringing in $30,000 a week and mom loved running that business. The phone lines of course ran on 30 day cycles so even if we pulled the plug things would contine on for at least another month. The calls however were dependent upon the ads in the adult magazines (remember this was before the internet) and all my mom could do was talk about how much money I'd have to lose and shell out if I just walked away right then and there.

I didn't care. I told her the only way I knew not to get arrested like my dream had warned me was to stop and stop now. Then she started in with the lecture about how “impulsive I was” and I “wasn't thinking about anyone but myself” and I hadn't thought about what “she was going to do” if I pulled the plug on everything and how “selfish” I was being. She came after me like a dog wanting his bone. I said to her “What in the hell do you want out of me?” I mean here I am telling her I'm going to go to JAIL unless I walk away right now and all she's talking to me about is what is “she going to do?” and how “selfish I”m being?” So what did she propose exactly I do then?

My mom suggested since I had leases on everything, and car payments still coming due, that maybe I was just burned out. Maybe I just “needed a break”. Maybe instead of burning my bridges behind me “like I always did” as she reminded me, maybe I needed to just try and simply “take a vacation”. She suggested I just lock everything up and tell everyone I was “taking some time off” and to go and “try life without the sex industry” before I went and “just tore everything we'd built all to shreds”. I could cut off the phones, lock up everything, run ads to sell the cars, and just go rent a nice hotel room with room service for a few weeks, put my feet up and take a long well deserved break. That I could “try on” quitting the industry like a pair of shoes and see how everything fit.

It made sense to me. I understood how much sense Satan must have made to Eve and thus Eve made to Adam because that's how evil operates. It always sounds so “logical”. Sure it sounds crazy to have the whole world at your feet, name everything in existence, but don't touch that one tree. I mean what sense does that make right? Why put the tree there in the middle of everything right where I can touch it if you don't want me to take a look at it or even taste one? Certainly God wouldn't have put the tree right there unless he wanted us to eat from it right?

My mom didn't pitch the fit I expected at all. No she made perfect sense and I agreed to her proposal. I mean what would it hurt? I went and rented myself a beautiful room at a nice hotel which had Japanese food they'd bring for room service that would let me and my pit bull Corky go anywhere we wanted in the hotel together. It wasn't too far from my boyfriend of that time period to come and spend the night so I settled into my first “vacation” I'd had since I'd crossed the line into the sex industry.

I'm sitting there one night having just had some sushi sent to my room for dinner when the phone rings. It's the front desk telling me I need to “come and move my car because it's about to be towed”. Only I'd taken a cab there so I told them they were mistaken and hung up. The phone rings again there's a “problem with my bill and I need to come down to the desk to discuss the charges”. I reminded them I had a deposit and it was 9:00 at night and I'd come talk to them tomorrow during reasonable hours.

The clerk then insisted I had to come down immediately to sign something or they'd have to send out animal control in the morning because of a complaint had been signed about my dog running around unleashed and threatening people. As a pit bull this was a serious accusation. I reminded them my dog is never unleashed and argued but the clerk was insisting I needed to come down there immediately no matter what I said.

I opened my door to go to the front desk and I'm immediately pushed back into my room by a SWAT team. I look above me and actually see a helicopter shining a light upon me. I then see teams of armored agents coming after me like I'm Pablo Escobar or something. Talk about “shock and awe” because I'm completely in disbelief about why it appears half of the SWAT teams in the state are now all over me, invading my room, handcuffing me in my PJ's, and now stripping apart my room like they're looking for the Holy Grail or something. I mean what on earth did I do to warrant what appeared to literally be half of LAPD outside to arrest me.

I later learned to get me arrested the cop who was putting this whole thing together had literally formed a task force in order to go across all the different jurisdictions I had carefully set up so I couldn't be arrested. I had the warehouse in Van Nuys, while the phones were in an office in downtown Los Angeles, which rang through an apartment in Oxnard, and nothing was even in my name. Who would think yes someone would go to all of that trouble just to arrest one hooker right?

I was in so much denial about what was happening in my own life when the arrest warrant said I had 25 telephones operating I kept insisting there was a mistake. Then I started counting in my head and realized I actually had more than 25 phones and then realized I was in some serious trouble. My bail was $5,000 so I whipped it out at the station to bail myself out. The police officers' eyes literally rolled back in their heads when they saw this much cash on me. I guess they were used to junkie prostitutes who never had $5.00 on them at any given moment.

The cop then says to me “Well if you got $5,000 to throw around so easy how about if we make your bail $10,000?”. I said “Fine” and reached into my bra for more cash. This made him so angry he turned purple literally and started swearing at me like I'd killed his dog or something. He then throws me back into the cell and says “Let's see how fast you whip out $50,000 with no 10 % you little bitch”. As he goes storming off to get my bail raised I swear I can see steam coming out of ears.

I then went to post the $50,000 bail when my attorney shows up at the cell. He warns me if I post this much cash for myself then they'll claim the money is from “racketeering” and charge me with another felony. I then say I'll have my mother do it. He warns me it's a common practice to arrest whoever posts the bail for a prostitute as her pimp. Then if the pimp can't explain where the cash came from he's then charged with a felony and everyone's in jail.

It gets more complicated when I learn this cop has now told every bail bondsman he wants me kept locked up and no one had better post my bail or there's going to be hell to pay. Thankfully, I had a regular who offered up his house as collateral and my attorney had a personal friend who was a bondsman. I was able to get my bail posted this way. If not for that, I think the guy would have going like “Let's Make a Deal” because he didn't want me out of police custody.

I mean who knew posting bail could get me into more criminal charges when cops want you locked up as bad as these people wanted me locked up. My attorney later advised me he had felt they were trying so hard to keep me in jail because they had planned on having me murdered on the inside and blaming it on another inmate. He had told me his other clients had told him about being approached by people with a lot of money offering to do the job. Supposedly a fake “riot” was supposed to be created and I was supposed to then have an “accident”.

As I'm going through this posting of bail and hearing about all these people who are wanting me dead I am suddenly hit with the realization I was not living the “rosy carefree life” I had thought I was living before the arrest. Here I am fighting proudly for my sisters and brothers at COYOTE protests and outreach and insisting I have a “wonderful great life” whose “only problem is it's illegal”. I suddenly feel like I'm just lifted up some horrible rock where all the maggots and slime have been hiding underneath hidden from sight. This I later learned was called “denial”.

As more and more of the truth about my life comes out, I realized if I hadn't of been arrested I would have most certainly been murdered in some form or fashion before that year was over. I had no idea at all I was in the middle of multiple scandals then – one which was later named “Iran Contra”. When I was being paid to do things like drive a truck laden with crates of unprocessed cocaine leaves which had been loaded off a boat which had just come in the country, and then driven it to a processing warehouse in south central Los Angeles where it was then turned into grams and rocks, and from there I was giving it to my girlfriends who were then taking it in their purses into places such as the Beverly Hilton hotel to party it up with the Hollywood Elite – I mean how convenient for these guys there were killers like the “Grim Reaper” running around hacking up women like me for breakfast while the police weren't doing the slightest bit of investigation into their murders. It was being written up as “just another dead whore” as they saved their police resources for when a “real human being” was involved.

I remember while I was still in custody watching these mothers on TV. Their aughters' had been murdered and then left like trash in alleys protesting how the police weren't lifting so much as a finger to investigate who murdered their baby girls. The public attitude was like “well what did you expect?” like these mothers' desire to have their baby's treated with proper respect was completely out of line or something. Their protesting in the streets didn't even show so much as a sign of human emotion on the faces of the LAPD where if these bodies had been that of dogs I think they would have shown more concern. Seeing how little my life mattered to the world because of how I was classified as “just another whore” was yet another wake-up call to me that my life in the sex industry might have been paying me a lot of cash – but society sure didn't value me as a person for all that money.

This is when I had my first “epiphany” or “moment of clarity” or whatever you want to call it when I felt reality hitting me upside the head like I'd just been whacked by a 2x4 hard. Yes I might be making a lot of money in the sex industry but as far as society was concerned I had absolutely no value in it's eyes because of it no matter whether it was “legal” or “illegal”.

As someone in sex work, legal or not, I never saw whole communities organizing searches in the middle of the night and in freezing weather dragging out the blood hounds to go and find the bodies of women like us as they did for others who were called “housewives”, “mother's” or “secretaries”. That someone who I looked down upon like I had been looking down on maybe a convenience store clerk would have more “value” in society's eyes than someone like me. Sex worker was a job title but a statement of who I was as a person so who had I been kidding all this time?

This was the first time I stopped looking at cash and began looking at things like “value”. At one of my all night coffee outings with my first sponsor, Paul, he had me pull out a piece of paper and list how much money I made on a good month in the industry. I happily wrote down the $30,000 aweek from the phone sex operation, and $10,000 a night from when I went to a movie star's house in Bel Air and “entertained” him during a coke binge when he couldn't even get an erection, and proudly showed him how much money I could make on a good month during my prime.

Then he wrote a big slash down the page and titled one side “Income” with the other side titled “Expenses”. Here he told me to list the attorney's fees, fines, probation fees, surveillance equipment, my gun, self-defense training, car alarms, the cost of money laundering, my expenses, overhead, condoms, lubricants, laundry services, maids, ordering food out because I was too busy or exhausted to cook, moving in the middle of the night to avoid arrest or death threats from a pimp, what I paid doctor's to treat me without notating it on my account so I wouldn't have something incriminating me as an illegal prostitute, and basically write down every single thing the industry “cost” me including the money the police had confiscated from me, the jewerly they're stolen from me because they knew it would just be auctioned anyway since I couldn't prove I'd gotten it from a “legit” source, and right down to how much my pager cost me very month.

I was devastated when I realized not only was I operating at a loss most of the time, but further I hadn't paid a dime into my FICO so I also now had no social security to fall back onto. For all my bragging and self-flattery I'd been doing to myself about how much of the”high life” I was living as a sex worker that clerk at a convenience store was probably making more of a profit monthly than I was. Sure I looked more wealthy on the outside but here I was with it all taken from me by LAPD in two shakes because of how I'd obtained it all illegally. Sure I could claim some of the stuff back IF I could produce receipts or the testimony of people about who and why gave it to me. So I didn't even really own what I thought I'd owned after all even.

Then if I wasn't feeling stupid enough at this point yet he asked me to now write down all the things the industry had “cost” me other than money. He wanted me to look at the types of friends I had in the industry. How Alex Adams, who I thought was my “friend”, was really an FBI informant who had been part of putting me me behind bars. All the nights I thought I was confiding in her as a friend were being recorded and then used against me when I didn't do what these government men wanted me to do.

When I wouldn't sell them the women they wanted me to sell them then I had the same thing happening to me I've learned is the pattern – we're arrested, given the walk of shame, our faces and names plastered all over the press so we didn't stand a chance of being able to leave the sex industry for any other type of work. Then once we had no other options but to continue on as a madam or escort because of the press, the restrictions probation had put on us, losing everything during the arrest – then when they came back to us again THIS time asking us to do what they want us to do we're much more cooperative So for all the money I thought I was making I was now right in the gutter with the rest of the gutter trash. Because I'd now also lost control over my life and all dignity as a human being.

Those were the things no amount of money could buy me back if I allowed that to happen to me and if I didn't leave the sex industry behind right then and there. Now am I saying this about anyone else other than me? No. I was the one in that position and no one else. This list I was writing out about what the industry was costing me was my list and my list alone. Every person on this earth has to decide what they can live with and what they can't. We all have to decide for ourselves what we value and how much. So in some ways this inventory I was doing was part of my First Step as well as what became part of my Fourth Step.

I strongly recommend all new members who are coming in saying to themselves “How am I ever going to cope with not making this amount of money” to do such an inventory for themselves. I further want you to ask yourself who really has the wealth in this world? Those who are in sex work or? I mean seriously ask yourself how many billionaire strippers do you know? More important than how much money you are telling yourself you can make IN the industry I want you to think ask yourself how much you're LEAVING the industry with. For that matter, how much ANY of us leave the industry with. In the 30 years now I've answered this hotline I'd yet to see ONE of us, and I mean a ONE, who has left the industry with a $1.00 to their name.

I remember once a woman who had been working at the legal brothels of Nevada bragging to me about her million dollar retirement account she was going to leave with when she retired at 50 years of age. I kept hearing “I'm 48 now” and then I'm “49 years old now” as she was bragging to me she was going to retire at 50 years of age with her house paid and car paid for and her retirement account and nest egg of over a $1,000,000 she had squared away. I remember her insistence to me how she was “different” and therefore “not like the other girls” and how she was going to “show me” that you could leave this industry with money on you to show for it.

Now again I'm not saying there aren't men and women who don't leave the industry with money. I'm sure they're there. I just don't see them calling our hotline for help to leave the industry and doing so because they have a flushed our 401K retirement account. So far just about everyone who calls up our hotline tells me they can't even afford to buy a copy of our “Recovery Guide” when it was $4.99 to print.

It's also embedded in my brain how on the 50th year of this woman's life when she went to retire on that nest egg she'd been bragging to me about she had and why she was “different” and learned it had been raided by Bernie Madoff. All of it. Every penny gone. This woman now had to start over again from scratch at 50 years of age without enough money in the bank to play for some plastic surgery because she was now competing with 21 year old's who were now wondering “who the hell is this old broad?” coming out to stand in their line-up now. I tried to reach out to her when she went on her well deserved nervous breakdown after learning she'd been cleaned out. The brothel owners kept blocking me from reaching her. I learned she'd gone on a two year drug and alcohol binge before deciding she “didn't have a choice” but to go back to work at the ranch and “start over”. '

Of course we knew there were other options for her than to keep doing that line-up at 51 years old and up - but when she's only hearing the voices of the brothel owners telling her to “come back” as her source of making her income back then she's not going to probably think of those options. If she wanted to keep working at her age because she wanted to – I'd totally respect her decision. But when I see she's doing it because she's convinced there's “no other way” then I don't think that's the plan God has for us.

I remember seeing a documentary on how Colonel Sanders had hit a rock bottom at an advanced age. I think he was 50 years old when he created the method of making chicken he became known for. The film showed how he would pack up his equipment in the trunk of his car and drive from town to town introducing restaurant owners to his methods and recipes to franchise his idea. Mind you this was after he'd gone through a horrible business loss where he'd lost everything before starting over again essentially with just his chicken, a modified pressure cooker and a simple recipe.

There's stories of women like Grandma Moses who didn't start painting until she was 78 years of age, or of Jim Cramer who has the show “Mad Money”. He once lived in his car for a year while he was figuring out how to make a living off the stock market. The guy who made the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion empire once was mixing up his lotions in a trash can while sleeping in his car he was so broke.

So there are stories upon stories of people who have lost everything and built their way to wealth, along with those who were in advanced years and who achieved success from a point of zero in this world. But I have YET to hear a story of an older sex worker who has done the same within the sex industry – legal or not. Now trust me I scan the news and I answer our hotline and I assure you'd I'd love to hear the story of one of us who leaves this industry with a bank roll. Key words being “leave”. Because it really is like gambling – anyone can win $1,000,000 on that table but it's another ball game entirely to leave the casino with that money in hand.

Even if I'm wrong, that's not the point here of this chapter. You're coming to us saying you don't see how you're going to be able to make the kind of money you're using to making in sex work now if you quit. You want to know how you're going to pay next month's rent or that next car payment that's coming due soon if you just up and quit. Okay, let's ask you this – have you ever tried to quit before? Have you ever quit the industry, got a job and supported yourself for a time outside of the industry?

Meaning guess what? You've had a “job” outside of the sex industry before coming to our program and what happened? You went back to sex work because that's where you are now. So did having a job, the house, the car, and all your ducks in a row back then stop you from returning to sex work? Nope. In fact, you probably did what about 99 % of us do.

You got yourself some horrible low paying job with some awful boss that you absolutely hated that any idiot could do and then when it didn't work out because it couldn't – you then got to say “See? It didn't work and I had to go back to sex work.” No different than the addict who goes back into the old neighborhood to tell his new friends how great he's doing staying clean and winding up loaded by morning with his old buddies. Or the alcoholic who goes into the piano bar “just to listen to the music” who winds up drunk by morning. It's called the “set-up”. If you have any idea how many of us I see getting some job at a fast food joint or a convenience store that clearly no one is going to call a career move and then when it doesn't even pay the rent the first month they get to throw up their hands and say “I knew this wouldn't work”. I mean come on what a set-up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It didn't work because “just quitting” doesn't work. This isn't a disease like alcoholism where all you have to do is “not take that first drink” and you're stringing together days of sobriety. To them, the more days they're sober the better they're going to do in life. Not so with us. We can't just “stop” and then all of our problems stop. Nor is going out to get someone to stick us in some residential program like we're animals in a shelter who can't manage our lives an answer either. Sooner or later we have to face the fork in the road for us. That day when we have to decide what in the hell we're going to do with our lives. Everyone on this earth has to decide how they're going to eat and put a roof over their heads and we can't stay children forever. At some point we have to decide this also.

But I acknowledge my experience isn't the same as some others. We have members for example who were pimped and/or trafficked who were lucky to escape the situation with their lives. One of our early members, Vanessa, had been chained to a bed for over a year while bikers sold sex with her to men they'd bring up to her room in a hotel they owned for sex. She had food brought to her room and her chain extended to the bathroom and this was her world for a year. One day there was a fire and she was suddenly free. This was in 1970's San Francisco and no one was going to believe her story. Besides, they had been injecting her with drugs to keep her sedated so very shortly she knew she was going to have to find drugs or she was going to be very sick very soon. All she had was the clothes on her back, not even a pair of shoes to her name.

The only thing she could think of to do was she'd noticed a bar down the street. Maybe there she could find a trick who would be able to get her enough cash to get some food, some dope a room for the night. What else were her options really? The homeless shelter back then wouldn't take prostitutes which in her daisy dukes and no shoes that's just what she looked like at the moment. Especially being as she hadn't been outside of a hotel room for a year and strung out on drugs as she was.

What do you do when you're trying to leave the industry, but you also got to eat? I used to have a terrible time with a woman in Las Vegas who would go up and down Las Vegas strip telling prostitutes “Jesus loves you” and promising them if they quit “cold turkey” then she would show them how her church could help them get off the streets. She's convince these women to come to her church, parade them around asking for donations to build her a residential program, and then send these women home. Well soon the 1st of the month came around and so did the rent coming due. The prostitutes, or ex-prostitutes, would start calling her wanting to know about how their rent was going to get paid. She'd tell them “Jesus will provide” and “I'l pray for you” and then she'd cut off the call!

I found out about this because these women in a panic would go online looking for a solution and come across our hotline. So I'm now getting a couple of women every month calling me up in a panic as they've got kids and a 5 day eviction notice in their hands and they've already done things like thrown out their “Black Book” and cut off their cell phones. I'm now having to file a Stay of Eviction to buy them some time, and then I'm the one frantically running around either trying to find them work or some local church or program that will assist them with the rent, all while assuring them it's all going to be okay if they just hang on. Of course they're feeling really betrayed and exploited at this point by what this religious fund raiser did because she's now raised over $1,000,000 to build her program while they're now stuck with no money in the house for their trust. On top of it they're now feeling even more pimped than they did on the corner.

With the women who contacted our hotline in this panic, we managed to get them all sorted out without them having to resort to going back to the sex industry. Like anyone who has a financial crisis in life due to death, divorce, disease or losing their job – we got them through it and they're doing fine now paying their bills other ways than through prostitution. They just had to “come to believe a power greater” could “restore some sanity” to their lives. The group working together was able to always figure out some solution for those calling us in a panic.

But what about Vanessa? Would it have been wrong for her to turn a trick to pay for her supper? I used to have a terrible fight with a methadone clinic we once had a meeting at. These women were only allowed to stay in the residential program for 30 days. Then they were booted out whether they had any new place to stay, a job, any money, etc. Meaning if they hadn't found a job or housing then that's where they were at 30 days – right back on the street corner. What would happen is they'd not come to a meeting until about the 27th day. Then they'd come in crying they “needed money and a place to stay” and all they were looking for out of us was cash - not a program.

It didn't matter if we gave it to them or they got it from a trick off the corner – these women didn't care where the money came from and to them we were just another “trick” if we handed over cash to them to help. We aren't a bank, a landlord nor an employer and as a “fully self-supporting” program it wasn't our place to pay their rent to keep them off the streets. That would make about as much sense as us telling an alcoholic in AA we'd pay their rent for them as long as they stayed sober. That's not working a program for anyone by anyone's standards.

What we did do was to tell the methadone program they clearly weren't being responsible to their clients to focus only on their methodone, doing nothing about their housing and employment situation for them, then boot them out after 30 days with sticking us in the middle to try and do what they aren't doing. They were the ones getting federal grant money to run their program, so it wasn't right to use us as free labor to not buckle down and hire someone to deal with this gap which was literally forcing these women in our opinion to not even see the point of bothering to get out of prostitution if they were just going to be homeless in 30 days.

So we advised the women they were legal residents of this program and were not required by law to leave the premises in 30 days if they didn't want to. As legal residents, they could insist on staying until properly legally evicted and thus getting out when they were good and financially ready to get out if they didn't want to go back to prostitution because of not having other options. We advised them if they wanted, they could exert their legal right to remain and stay until either legally evicted from the premises, or they found work and housing. But either way there was choices to simply having to say “oh I've got no choice” and going to stand on the corner. We were helping them to find a way to deal with “life on life's terms” without the use of drugs, alcohol, nor prostitution.

But this still leaves us with women in situations like Vanessa's. For cases like this, we refer to what an addict in Narcotics Anonymous would do when a doctor insists the taking of a drug is something that has to be done or the person could die. I remember during the delivery of my daughter my blood pressure soared so high they told me I had no choice – it was either take the pain medication or risk both of us dying right there in delivery. I let them give me the pain medication, but I didn't consider it a relapse. The doctors were telling me it was something I had to take to survive, and therefore not a “relapse” or me using the drug to “get high” or “avoid dealing with life”. I certainly didn't make myself pregnant with high blood pressure just to have an excuse to take a pain killer.

The Bible talks about how when in a situation where you are starving you can “legally” steal food. It takes about how when you're back on your feet however, you replace what was stolen “seven fold” along with making your “amends” to those you stole from. If prostitution, stripping, or porn performing is illegal where you're at, or something you would consider a “relapse” because you're working a program of abstinence from sex work, but it does get down to the point where it's starve or trick – then if the Bible allows for you to steal to survive hunger, and even Narcotics Anonymous has guidelines for how to use drugs in recovery without it being a relapse – then I would take this to be a guideline. If you literally can find no other options – then look to the story of Mary also in the Bible. When confronted, all Jesus told her was to “go and sin no more”. Do what you got to do, then the minute you don't got to – go and “sin no more”. Make whatever amends you need to “except when to do so would injure them or others” and move on. If even an addict finds themselves in situations like child birth where even they have to put a drug in their system to survive – the rule of thumb is whatever it takes to preserve life. You can worry about the “quality” of that life once you've taken another breath, or taken care of any child or animal depending upon you also. No one in this program is going to hold against you surviving.

Now this doesn't give you license to go out and spend your rent money on a dress and then turn around and say “oh I have no choice”. We're talking if you've truly exhausted all options, tried to work things out with our program to the best of your ability, and you truly have no other choice to survive but to cross that line to take that first “transaction”. Again, the minute it's possible to stop – stop. Make amends and then move on. If you're not in a situation where you can stop just yet, well then start working on your plans. No one loses 100 pounds in one day – sometimes things take time to go from point A to point B. As long as your “desire” is there and you're moving towards your goal of quitting – that's the main thing to focus on. If again you can't lose 100 pounds in one day we also understand sometimes things take time. Just stay focused on your exit plan then and keep moving forward.

Especially if you are in a situation where you are being forced or threatened in some fashion. The rule of thumb is to always make sure you are “not injuring” anyone, including yourself first. If your leaving the industry endangers your life or that of others, then you need to stop, back up, and get in touch with someone in our program immediately. Then start working on your exit plan. Exit plans are different in every situation. Sometimes you can just leave. Other times you need to diffuse your pimp or captor first before you can safely leave. In this situation, you have to go by what won't harm another person or yourself first when making your exit plan. Sometimes it's as simple as calling 911 while other times it might require a whole sting storage. Your situation might even call for something as drastic as running off to Canada where they don't extradite for child custody or even living “off the grid” for a while to further protect you and your family.

As long as you have an exit plan in place and you're moving towards your goal, then we understand these things take time. We don't care if you come to a meeting in full stripper regala for years – as long as your “desire” is there, combined with you having an exit plan put together with people who have effective experience in such things, and you moving forward with those plans step by step – then you're a welcome member of this program and we want to be there to help you through all of this. That's why we're here – to do together what we can't do by ourselves. To “keep what we have by giving it away”. Even God who led the slaves out of Egypt didn't see fit to bring his people to their new home for 40 years. That was 40 years of eating manna and walking the desert – but they did wind up free people, no longer slaves, and in their new homes.

But if you're still sitting there saying “I'd like to quit but I got a car payment in three days so I'm still not clear what to do here.” Welcome to life honey. Everyone in this world has some thing like a day when they get fired right before the car payment is due. Then do they go out and turn a trick or grab a gun and rob a bank?

No. They sit down and “figure out” what they're going to do about the car payment. They either turn the car back into the lot so their credit isn't harmed, they ask for an extension, they sell the car, they get a payday loan, or they find a way to make that payment. Other people figure out a solution other than picking up the phone and booking a date. Remember, there's a huge difference between a car payment and staring into the faces of six kids who need dinner in an hour and you don't have a slice of bread nor a penny in your pocket. When you're talking about sustaining life – this when you can start entertaining ideas about making an “exception” for yourself of the “no first transaction” rule.

That's what “other” people do who aren't us is figure these things outo some “other way” and this is your perfect chance to now live “life on life's terms” and join the human race who now have to figure ut like everyone else in the world who has to figure out how to make a car payment when they've lost a job. Think of it like robbing a bank. It's not something you consider doing lightly or often.

Still don't know what to do? Go ask someone who has been in that position what they did. If you can figure out how to get away from a manic coming after you high on drugs who hasn't slept in a week chasing you with a machete and calling you by the name of his ex-wife – then you can figure out how to deal with a little old thing like a car payment without “taking that first transaction”. There are people all over this world and throughout history who have gotten through hard financial adjustments without resorting to “turn a trick” or hopping on that stage or jumping in front of the camera to manage things.

Welcome to the real world. It's called “life”. Many people will tell you it revolves around a lot of other things besides money. In fact, there's some people out there who tell you they have things they wouldn't sell for any amount of money. Now's the time when you pull out your own “inventory” and figure out what those things are for you now in recovery. The answers are all provided to you to find solutions. You can “pray for knowledge of God's will for you and the power to carry that out” along with taking a “group conscience” where “God's will may express itself” through members of this program. This is where you sitting down with your sponsor and other members of this group becomes a valuable part of the recovery process for you.

Because instead of us answering this question for you about “How are you going to ever manage without making that kind of money?” as you did in sex work, we're going to instead ask you to define all those things “other” than money which are more important to you you need to be focusing on instead of that money. To us, it's like sitting around asking us to tell you when to hit that crap table to win the big prize. It just doesn't work that way and even if it did – again we haven't seen a lot of people leaving the casino with the money in hand.

Besides, we can assure you this one thing about recovery. If you are in line with what “God's will” is for you then we do know the “power to carry it out” will appear. The red sea will part when you're standing at the edge of it needing to move on. But if you want to go back to the land of Egypt – well then no the sea isn't going to part. So you need to tell us what you're moving towards and the rest will all start to move forward across that new wet path!

(copyright 2016 J. Williams all rights reserved)