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Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Whitney Houston. Bobbi Christina. Robin Williams. Michael Jackson. Amy Winehouse. Now we're beginning to see the long term ramifications of what happened when Narcotics Anonymous was taken over by the treatment centers with a profit motive instead of the addicts' best interests at heart like Jimmy Kinnon had when he founded Narcotics Anonymous.

When Bill Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous, he achieved something that no one had ever done before. Before AA, alcoholics died. Period. End of story. They were sent to sanitariums, or “wet farms” because the alcohol would turn their brains to mush to die in peace. Churches and psychiatry existed then, as well as “the family's love”, but it was no match for this disease. The closest anyone came to a solution before Bill did was the church that Ebby came from – the man who visited Bill saying sobriety was possible.

Ebby took Bill to the Oxford Group Church where alcoholics were achieving about six to nine months of sobriety before relapsing. They were put in the front of the church to show how well their church “worked”, and then after relapsing sent to the back rows again. So it really was a constant process of attracting in new members who would achieve a little time of sobriety before relapsing again and again. But stopping and starting had it's problems too.

Which when the obsession to drink hit Bill Wilson at eight months of sobriety he was determined to not give in. He got a roll of nickels and sat himself down at a payphone and made a promise to himself he was not leaving that booth until he found himself someone who was an alcoholic who needed his help. He knew instinctively that reaching out to help another was going to stop him from relapsing. Sure enough, he was told about Dr. Bob, a surgeon who was drinking so badly he couldn't even operate safely any longer. Off he went to stay two weeks with Dr. Bob, telling him his story of complete “powerlessness” over this disease.

People think that from there Bill just founded AA and the rest is history. What they don't realize is that he spent months doing outreach to no success. All he wound up with was a house full of drunks with his wife working to support all of them instead of just him as it was before. Which brought even more insanity into his life than before when he was just the only drinker in the house. When he and Lois came home one day to find one man dead – that's when he knew his approach was wrong. I remember seeing a very interesting DVD once when I was researching how to make my 12 step program work about how what he had to do was to stop telling the other alcoholics he could help them get sober. Instead, he says he led with “powerlessness” which worked to get him sober.

His own sobriety had finally been achieved after being sent to visit with Dr. Carl Jung. Instead of promising to help Bill as everyone expected, Dr. Jung did something I think would be unheard of in today's world. He said “I can't help you” which actually is what saved him. There are some fascinating letters actually between them talking about their meeting but in essence Carl told Bill that he was a “hopeless alcoholic” and there was no power on earth that could help him stop drinking. Bill felt it was a death sentence and of course promptly went on a bender in response. But when he woke up in the hospital for probably the 1000th time – this time he had his “spiritual awakening” where God had granted him sobriety along with the vision of creating Alcoholics Anonymous.

Do you know how crazy he sounded telling everyone he had “developed the cure” for alcoholism? But in his eagerness he started out by preaching he had the solution. Something that Carl hadn't done. To turn things around Bill says he instead would lead the alcoholic he was working with to the realization there was no hope, no quick fix, no pill, no solution. Through pushing them to their own realization of “powerlessness” this was when they would have their own “spiritual awakening”. It worked on Dr. Bob, then the Irishman they visited together in the hospital when Dr. Bob had only four months sobriety, and then on enough alcoholics that Dr. Silkwood started taking notice of how once hopeless alcoholics were now achieving long term sobriety.

But time and sobriety reveals more. More the booze was self-medicating and disguising. Because yes Bill stayed sober for the rest of his life from all reports. But he started suffering from severe depression. Looking for solutions to that depression he experimented with things like B vitamin therapy, LSD, and even speed. The reports say he would close himself off from everyone to conduct these experiments to find some way out of the black depression he was falling deeper into the longer he was sober.

He looked around him to see other alcoholics achieving long term sobriety were having the same issues. They too were stopping the drinking but also falling into this pitch of despair. Bill had led them out of booze and bars – he knew he could lead them out of this valley also. A talk with a priest revealed that the depression might be God's way of compelling him to move forward – a “divine dissatisfaction” if you will.

So he moved forward and started talking more and more to others within his own program about what was now being called the “ism” of “alcoholism”. He started partnering with people to create the National Council on Alcoholism to see if medical science could unlock the secrets of this disease and educate more doctors on how to treat the sufferers. But “newcomers” always out number those who have long terms of sobriety so Bill was outnumbered. When he would start these discussions about the “ism” many felt he was violating his own policy of “not having any opinion on an outside issue”. To silence him since he would not be silenced – his own program took him off the Grapevine, and even started banning him from speaking at conventions. Soon he found himself being shunned by his own program. There was a booklet written by Bill and Jimmy called the “ism” of Alcoholism that is not put out at meetings.

But not others who were experiencing the same thing he was. Jimmy Kinnon, the founder of Narcotics Anonymous, speaks about how he fell into a pit so deep he didn't leave the bed for years. His wife would have to bring food to him because he wasn't even able to face leaving that small safe place. Finally feeling there was no way out, and that his family didn't deserve to suffer on with the burden of his suicide, he speaks of the fateful night when he had resolved to wait until his family was all asleep where he was going to then kill all of them and then himself to end the endless days and nights of this blackness.

It was in that time and space he says he heard that voice of God calling him a “scoundrel” and revealing to him the 12 “golden steps” of what would be the NA program. A program where the issue wasn't over a bottle, a pill, a needle, or any substance – but over the disease itself. Where instead of war stories about who drank or used who under the table – the point of contact would be “empathy becomes a healing therapy”. Which of course meant taking the eyes off the “thing” or substance that was used and instead putting the focus back onto the FEELINGS. I had trouble grasping this when I was new in recovery so over coffee one night some old-timers told me a story.

A story about a woman who had achieved two years of sobriety so to celebrate her new freedom she decided she was going to go and have one drink. She went to the bar and ordered that one drink – only to wake up the next day in jail. She'd ordered another drink after that one, and another, and another, and then got into her car and ran over a little girl killing her driving home from the bar. The old-timers said “AA would tell you she lost control AFTER she had the drink and that's when her disease then caused the murder, but NA teaches us that it was the disease TELLING her in her head that she could “have just one” and that she could get away with it and then ordered the drink from the bartender was when her disease had taken over control.”

Okay I think I got it. I knew then I was an addict and NA was the program that would save me because I knew my problem was between my ears as far back as I can remember. I also knew that their path to sanity would be the path that followers of our program, called then Prostitutes Anonymous originally, would be able to help men and women who were finding themselves in situations where they were being arrested 50 times for prostitution, or with pimps who forced them onto those street corners, or running down streets naked because some maniac with a machete was chasing them down the street, only to find themselves returning to the sex industry the next day also. No different than any drinker, drugger, or gambler who also keeps repeating the very thing they then think is the solution to what created the problem in the first place.

I came in to recovery thankfully at a very pivotal point in the recovery movement. It was 1984 and my mom, God rest her soul, sat down with the yellow pages and started calling everyone in the book trying to find help for me. I had been arrested by LAPD and suddenly was thrown out of the world I knew into another one I didn't. I too had fallen into a black depression to try and cope. I had someone tell me that cocaine was a “mood elevator” and now I had a $1500 a day habit. Only every place my mom called said they took alcoholics – but not addicts. As for alcoholics they only took people who had insurance through things like their jobs – tell me what junkie prostitute has health insurance?

Everywhere we looked there were sober living homes for alcoholics, halfway houses for alcoholics, treatment programs for alcoholics, huge AA meetings with 500 people attending at a time, etc. Only problem was I'd seen the alcoholism in my family growing up, and having two grandmothers who owned bars that I used to help them out with as a kid, would make anyone swear off the stuff. So I never drank. I'd never even been drunk except one time in my whole life. I had tried booze to see if they would stop some menstrual cramping I was having once. Didn't work. So I couldn't even “fake it” to get into one of these alcohol programs.

I hit my own point of “powerlessness”. I remembered a girlfriend of mine who had joined a “Jews for Jesus” church. I called her up and asked her for help. She said she would call a prayer group for me. Okay I was willing to try anything. I scored some coke on the way over and got high in the bathroom of her house while everyone was preparing a prayer circle for me. I was high as a kite when they stood in a circle and prayed I'd be released. I didn't feel any different so I thanked them and trotted off to my computer school I was required to attend as part of my probation.

I went to get some coffee (I always like the uppers boy – even caffeine) and there was a man sitting there talking about how “people in the life are all sitting around slashing their wrists and laying bets as to who is going to bleed to death the fastest while laughing about what a great time they're having”. BAM! That description hit me right between the eyes about what I was experiencing in the world of the sex industry. Right and left I'm seeing people murdered, catching HIV, dying over drug overdoses, getting sent off to prison, and everyone's talking about how “hip, slick and cool” we are.

I went up to that man who then became my sponsor. Paul took me to my first NA meeting. This man didn't teach me how to stay off drugs – but how to live a spiritual life. He introduced me to what was considered a “blood line” if you will of people connected to Jimmy. People who were sponsored by him, friends with him, worked at the office with him, etc. I remember even getting the 4th Step Guide that supposedly was the one he'd developed with Sydney, a woman who was considered to have the most time about NA back then.

It was a time when we were taking recovery back. Too many people in Hollywood and the creative industries especially had died from this disease. Los Angeles, being the capital of where the movies and the music was made, had of course a high population of artists. Artists who found they were having a hard time staying clean on movie sets where people kept handing them drugs or inviting them to drug parties after the work was done. Drugs were everywhere back then and it was impossible to have a career while saying “no”. The parties where the business was being conducted had bowls of cocaine literally next to the bar. Trust me no one wanted to work about someone who was saying “no thank you” either.

But the insurance companies weren't happy about the payouts they were having to shell out when someone died in the middle of a film or a record. So they set out to do something about it. One of the first things was to create drug treatment centers for addicts. Remember, there wasn't always a “Celebrity Rehab”. To open a treatment center for addicts however, one had to have literature. The alcohol treatment centers had the Big Book. Jimmy Kinnon owned the copyrights pretty much and so did the fellowship in trust who was going to follow his lead when voting. Jimmy didn't believe addicts got clean in treatment centers – so when they came to him for help with developing the literature so they could open one he refused to assist.

So a take-over took place. An illegal meeting of the board met one day and voted to lock Jimmy out of his own office. The money from the book went to the office – not Jimmy. He was old by then and had health problems. Jimmy was living on an SSI check. How was he supposed to fight a team of attorney's about this illegal lock-out? But that was just the first step. Once they got Jimmy out of the office – of course his people within the program itself fought back. The people he'd trained in what the program was were not standing for what was happening.

So they had to be dealt with also. Smear campaigns started against these addicts. People drew up lines in this war where people who worked at the office would tell their sponsees they had to “stay away from those crazies”. In their mind, anyone who would try and block a treatment center from opening that would “save addicts” must be “crazy”. In the other side, they felt anyone who would set up a fake system that would lie to an addict and tell them this program would work when history had shown it would not – was exploiting the addicts' pain for money and possibly killing them. Because we'd seen when the treatment program didn't work, because it doesn't, then the addict would blame themselves for this failure. Some would feel so hopeless then they would actually kill themselves thinking they were broken beyond repair.

Which isn't that what we saw happen with Robin Williams? Narcotics Anonymous was created by a large number of alcoholics who had achieved between 15-20 years of sobriety, hit a black wall of depression, and realized there was only one of two ways out – either to kill themselves or to elevate their program to what NA was offering. A program over the disease itself not the substance. Where the only healing therapy that had shown to work was one based first of all on “empathy”, and also living a spiritual life. That's not something you will learn in a treatment center how to do. One of these early founders of NA for example was a man named Vito. Vito showed me the scars on his neck from where he tried to kill himself at many years of sobriety while his family had left the house for church. Once he found the solution in NA he started on the outreach trail. So NA was founded by people who had hit this wall that comes somewhere about 15-20 years of sobriety who needed to take a different path.

Robin Williams achieved 20 years sobriety from alcohol. Nothing changed. I'm not saying he wasn't a wonderful man. I was very fond of him. He did many kind and great things. But he was merely sober and had not had the “spiritual awakening” that you can't buy at a $10,000 a week treatment center or retreat. So he did the right thing that everyone says to do – he reached out for help. He went in for a “tweaking” and came out with a bunch of talk. Then came home and ended it.

Why? Because the people at that treatment center, and the people at those meetings are the people who were let in after they chased everyone connected to Jimmy, and “old school” NA out of the rooms. It was dubbed the “traditions wars” which is a nice name for what happened. The reality was much harsher. I was not unique. Anyone I saw in Jimmy's “blood line” were chased out of the service structure. We were blocked from being speakers at conventions. Do you have any idea how much I felt like I had dropped acid during the years where I would see areas take on people for service positions with six months of clean time when I had 14 years and was being shut out? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch as speakers being picked for conventions all had less than five years clean while you're standing there with 15 years of time being shut out?  I was not unique.  I would often turn to other old-timers sitting in the backs of these rooms with me where we'd been forced to sit and say to them "were you asked to speak?" or "did you get asked to serve?" only to see them nod "no" in disgust and then leave.  Remember, we've been taught to leave the asylum and inmates alone.   

I would ask many of these people “why are you doing this?” when seeing that a keynote speaker at an NA convention was being imported in from AA with five years of sobriety and I was being shunned. The answer I kept hearing was because “we think you send the wrong message”. This all coming from addicts who had less time than me being led by someone who was standing behind them trying to get control over the office, it's money, it's power, it's message.

Which was anyone who knew what it was that Chuck removed from the Basic Text. Things like “all else is not NA” referring to the fact that the office was NOT the seat of power in NA – the members were. When I came into NA, the office was strictly a literature and keytag fulfillment house. It was a “service board or committee directly responsible to those they served”. They took book orders and shipped them out. Period. When it came to NA itself – that seat of power used to be in the home group. Where you used to have to belong to call yourself a member. Votes as to what the office did with the money came from members who belonged to those home groups. A group where people knew you by name, and also knew you.

Your home group was where you went at least once a week. People you had coffee with, broke bread with, served with, and sat up nights with. That's where the seat of power used to be in NA. To wrestle the power away from the power of group conscience – they had to chase out the old timers. Chuck removed the words from the Basic Text that taught new members this was their fellowship that followed their will as found through group conscience in those home group meetings. Area and Region used to be places where the home group vote was carried to and out – not where decisions were made by individuals who were concerned about now maintaining their seats of power.

Seats of power in NA used to be decided upon by time and service. Who had a home group and who was being of service. Now with addicts being chased out of the rooms with these smear campaigns, and popularity contests, and clearly who now held the door open to any power in NA – it was clear who the newer addict still driven by the need for power and control was going to side with. Because when they would see that addicts with substantially less clean time, and even more substantially less knowledge about the steps, traditions, and our program, being given the service positions, the speaking engagements, or even now losing the ability to just attend a meeting greeted by a warm welcome when one would walk into the room – it was clear who the newer addict was going to side with in this war. The side that would provide them with “money, property and prestige” over shunning, rejection and shaming.   

When I lived in Los Angeles, people running treatment centers would see that my sponsees were staying clean. That prompted them to come and speak to me about training their counselors in what I was doing to make that happen. I was pregnant about then with a high risk pregnancy so being paid to offer continuing education was a good way for me to work a day or so a week and pay the rent. I had meetings going then all over Los Angeles, and a good working relationship with all the treatment centers.  I did it for work yes - but also because I wanted to see others with this disease get better. 

This was the early 1990's – I got clean in 1985 so I had about five years clean in 1990. I left Los Angeles in 1994 for a variety of reasons – one of which was I wanted to set up some safe houses for trafficking victims. I could buy a house with a yard back in the midwest for $5,000. I would have victims come from both the east and west coasts and we'd hide them out back there where they could start whole new lives. It was far away from the reach of the organized trafficking rings and it worked for a while – until the internet was born. 

My daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor or cyst or something (we still don't know yet what it is – they're giving her time and taking MRI's to see if it grows or changes to make a diagnosis) in March of 2013. The neurologist that had treated Roy from Siegfield and Roy had just retired. Not finding the level of medical care we needed for something this complex – I relocated her out to Los Angeles in about May of 2014 so we can get her proper treatment at hospitals like UCLA and Cedars Sinai. A top neurologist in the country is actually connected to Cedars, and USC has a ground breaking program that even operated on the singer for TLC when she had a brain tumor.

So here I am back in Los Angeles with now 31 years of complete abstinence from drugs, alcohol, and even any criminal behavior at all, let alone the sex industry. Like alcohol not mattering to the alcoholic if it's legal or not legal – for me the sex industry, legal or illegal, was something I had to walk away from in order to maintain my recovery. I was offered a very lucrative job once managing a legal brothel because of my skills in that area that I was very tempted to take because it was legal. I was on welfare at the time so it was especially tempting. My sponsor however asked me “is that a spiritual path?” for which the answer for me was “no”. How could I stand up and talk about being clean from drugs while escorting men to the bar while they waited on their hooker? So I declined the job. Lucky for me also because the woman who did take the job was arrested, fined $300,000 and spent three years in prison for money laundering from what I saw in the news years down the road.

I have now successfully been working with not just addicts, but prostitute addicts, to turn their lives around for over three decades across this country. I founded the modern day domestic trafficking movement to have victims of trafficking recognized as such by the legal system so they'd stop being treated like criminals when seeking out help to escape captivity. I started the first hotline for adults to call when they needed help to leave the sex industry in any form – trafficking victims included before the term was even coined.

I called up some of my old stomping grounds to see if I could start up a meeting in the area. The sex industry has exploded in Los Angeles. The porn industry is larger than ever before. Whereas it used to be a handful of rebels like John Holmes and Marilyn Chambers – the last AVN show I saw was boasting over 500 porn stars would be in attendance. There's massage parlors in just about every corner I see, and even more strip clubs than I remember. Certainly there's a lot of people going into treatment out here that are going to need help not just with abstinence from drugs – but also in their relationship to the sex industry. Even celebrities now are having issues with this when men like Laurence Fishburne is having his daughter, Montana, becoming a star attraction at Vivid, one of the largest porn companies in the world currently.  I even saw a powerful visual commentary where it showed photos of women at a recent red carpet event vs. the women at the AVN awards and the women at AVN were actually better dressed!   

I'd even heard of a group set up for men who were in the sex industry to come off meth – a huge problem from what the men are telling me in the gay community right now who are turning to it to keep their weight down and their sex drive up. So silly me reaches out to these groups thinking I'm going to have a warm reception. Wrong. Turns out the group for men in the sex industry coming off meth isn't interested in hearing that the way to stay off meth is to QUIT the sex industry. No – they're teaching these men that they can stay clean while still doing porn.

I got someone at a treatment center in Malibu that charges $10,000 a week to level with me about why I'm suddenly now years later the wall flower when I used to be the “belle of the ball” in recovery terms now that I'm back here in 2015. I mean what's changed? She told me that I had to realize that competition now among these treatment centers was fierce. That health insurance didn't pay for $10,000 a week stays and that most people coming out of the sex industry trying to get clean were either paying for it through sex work, or they were having a sugar daddy paying for it, or maybe even the porn company. Because that's the trend now she was telling me – many porn companies, strip clubs, even mafia style crime rings were putting their people into treatment. Just to get clean from drugs – they didn't want anyone preaching anything about “living a spiritual life” to them.  Look at the drug dealer in "Orange is the New Black" where her crime boss wanted to send her to rehab to gt clean - so she could market more drugs.  What?   

Okay got it. Lie to them. I mean do you honestly think I didn't think about how great it would be if I could stay clean and with what I knew about the sex industry go back in and rock the socks off the world and die rich? Thankfully, I had a sponsor who said “show me”. He said “go out and find me someone who has continued to live that type of life that has stayed clean and sane in the long run”. I looked. Believe me I looked. I was desperate to find someone who could stay clean, put this disease in remission, and live and long and happy life inside that lifestyle. I scoured this country and others. I looked on the internet. I asked around for years. I came up with nothing.

Now I had a few false starts. Heidi Fleiss seemed to be going somewhere with using meth, dating Dennis Hof, and opening up a male brothel in Pahrump, Nevada. Only it turned out to be one big con she was pulling, and they busted her not long ago with a couple of hundred pot plants, and a couple of hundred parrots, along with drugs. There is no brothel, Dennis acts like he doesn't even know her anymore, and she's on probation now for drug use the last I heard. Not how I want to go out in this life.

Kristin Davis seemed to be making it for a while. She was supposedly running a trafficking program, and setting up a foundation where people like us could get seed money to open up new non-sex industry companies. Kristin was running for governor of New York even. Until she got popped for drugs and went to jail.

Airforce Amy was boasting she was going to retire at 50 years old with a million dollars in her portfolio. Only Bernie Madoff ran off with everything and left her flat (not chest wise clearly). After a drunken drug infested binge – she's back working at the brothel. She's holding up well considering she's having to compete with 18 year olds coming into the ranch, some of who are known porn stars. It took her 20 years to build that million – so she'll be able to retire again probably at 70 years old. If the economy holds up anyway.

But now we have reality TV. People trying to achieve sobriety went out and got film makers to agree to stop showing the rich and famous drinking and smoking. They got laws passed to say you can't show anyone drinking alcohol on commercials. Pacific Group for a while had all the “rich and famous” coming into AA to the point where some wanting to break into Hollywood started lying about being an alcoholic just to get into the meetings.

I'm home a lot with a sick kid so I watch a lot of TV these days. I began to see the reality TV formula – put a bunch of people together in a room full of booze and drama ensues. I'd see the cat fights, and the hair pulling, the name calling, etc. It was funny for a while at first. But then I started noticing more and more shows of the “rich and famous” at one drinking function after the next. Cocktail parties, wine fund raisers, dinner and drinks, drinks with the girls, drunken boat parties, etc. Every single show I'm seeing people drinking constantly.

For those who “can't handle it” like Kim Richards? I watched this poor woman at a dinner once where everyone was sitting around with a drink in their hand talking about “her” problem. I saw the phone calls to each other behind her back about “her” problem. I also saw the treatment center rotating door because I got news for you – I don't think her social circle really wants to have her achieve long lasting sobrity. I can already tell the minute this woman starts talking about “recognizing spiritual values long lost” to her as it talks about in the Basic Text for example – this woman's social circle is toast.

Now I knew that coming into recovery. They told me I'd have to “leave my old play mates and play grounds” in other to get clean. However, I didn't have a camera up my butt filming me. Yes it was my career. I had to give up my career, and stay away from everyone I knew from my old life, in order to achieve the long term time that I have now. But I did so at a time when I was able to be part of the “hip,slick and cool” when I used to walk into meetings and see people like Elizabeth Taylor who I can talk about now because she's deceased and also was open about her disease.

My old sponsor said something to me not long ago – he said “there's no money in our way honey – it's over”. Which he's got a point. I got clean, got a job, and now I stay out of trouble and pay my bills. I am not on psychiatric medications that cost $1000 a month. I'm not going in and out of treatment that can cost $1,000's of dollars a week whether that's to me, or the insurance company. I'm not going in and out of jail – where my numbers give private jails money daily and also politicians stats to justify building new bigger jails.

Nope – there's money in relapse. I also have yet to see a reality TV show where the “rich and famous” are not drinking. Jeff Lewis who flips houses for the wealthy – has “cocktail hour” daily for his employees. I wonder how long someone would work there if they didn't drink with him. Well actually those who do drink with him don't last long either – which makes for good TV – but not a good life. Again, yes he has money. But remember, I'm working a spiritual program trying to walk a spiritual path so that's what I'm looking at when I view the show. I see he's had problems with his family, his long term romantic relationships don't last, his employees leave him, but yes he has his money.

The problem is that these predators who are making money off NOT giving us the “good stuff” are killing us. I started to see the tide turning with Amy Winehouse. I knew we had a problem when her dad went on TV talking about her previous treatment had been about her drinking – and not about her “disease”. When Robin Williams felt he had nowhere

I've tried reaching out. I tried reaching out to Bobbi Christina when I saw her getting loaded on reality TV and people just covering for her “because the show had to go on”. I tried reaching out to Kim Richards a week before her arrest. I sound like a nut case. How on earth am I supposed to complete with a whole marketing company that's now marketing treatment to addicts? Where some are even claiming they have the “cure” now? Boy I bet their cleaning up money wise because I sure would have plunked down money when I was new if someone had promised me a cure.

The only thing is in thirty years do you know how many “cures” I've seen announced? Do you know how many I've seen die? I remember when they were plugging this “flush” where they used to put an addict to sleep, flush the drugs out of their system so they'd wake up without having gone through withdrawal, and then be off on their merry way? I kept wondering how many times I would have relapsed if not for remembering how painful my last withdrawal was. Sure enough though – people started dying and they stopped plugging it.

Same as for weight loss. I remember when Phen-phan came out. I had EVERYONE pushing on me to take that pill. I kept telling them “my solutions don't come in pills” and I kept working my steps over my weight I'd gained once I got clean. I lost the weight. Those who took the pills found holes in their hearts, while others died from side effects of the pills.

Sure – us old timers rebelled. We started banding together to see what we could do to stem the tide. Only we're dealing now with a whole generation of addicts who are coming out of jails, courts, and treatment centers – where they are handed a bottle of pills from a doctor. How do you talk to these people? I've tried. It's like talking to a wall. Prescribed or not – these people are on a “mind altering substance” where proper tests have not been done to see if they are medically necessary. Do you have any idea how many newcomers I'm talking to who are on pills like Tegretol? It's for epileptics! I ask the addicts to go ask their doctor why they're on this medication – and they come back with no answer.

When the booze and the alcohol industry couldn't make films any longer showing this stuff was “hip, slip and cool” we now had shows like “Mad Men” on TV making it cool again. It is never ending marketing, marketing, marketing. When the treatment centers wanted to get established in the beginning – they used training from people like us to build their numbers. I admit I took the money not thinking about the long range effects. That now treatment centers don't care because there's always going to be an endless supply of new customers because of reality TV.  Cheap to produce, and it builds up business for the alcohol companies, tobacco companies, the sex industry, the drug dealers, the prison industrial complex and yes even now the treatment centers - so there's no end to the sponsors to the reality TV genre now or shows like "Mad Men" which make it all cool once again what people spent generations trying to undo because it was killing people.

I mean do you have any idea how angry I get when I watch "Mad Men"?  I was a young girl when I got clean in 1985 trying to find legitimate work to keep probation happy.  Everywhere I tried to find work I was sexually harassed.  Everywhere I worked had smoking in the offices and I was allergic to cigarettes.  To be able to find work, I had to first find a non-smoking office which was practically impossible back then to find.  Then once I found a non-smoking office - I had to cut off all my hair, dye it brown, put on glasses, and nun-dresses with flat shoes to make myself look like I was damn near a lesbian - and then I was able to find work were I could be left alone instead of my boss exposing himself to me or chasing me around the desk at work.  To achieve a smoke-free work place, where I could sue for sexual harassment, and where I wasn't obligated to go to office parties where booze was served WAS MONUMENTAL.  It only took 1,000's of people and years to achieve that - and now it's like it's all been swept away when I read about things like what happened at American Apparel.  I mean people still buy his clothes after what he did to women?  Really? 

We have shows like “Intervention” pounding on the TV night and day with people saying “the only way out is to go to treatment”. Do you know I sat through a marathon of those shows one week when I was having surgery so I had sometime to kill and I found that 9 out of 10 of those who went through the intervention and being stuffed into treatment didn't stay clean past their first week of being released? Nine out of 10 didn't stay clean. If a shop didn't repair 9 out of 10 cars that was brought to them in a month they'd be shut down.

The thing is however I'm old enough to remember when the governor of California, and others, told the treatment centers they weren't going to continue to pay them with these failure rates until they got their numbers up.  That's when my phone started ringing off the hook with the program directors hiring me to train their staff.  They knew where to go when they needed to create long term numbers.  Meaning that when it's important to the people in power - they can demand excellence.  However, right now - there's more money to be made in jobs at treatment centers and in building new jails.   In other words, there's more jobs if we don't get clean and stay clean. 

These are people's lives we're dealing with. We just watched a beautiful young lady, Bobbi Christina, who was the daughter of two addicts not raised from birth to understand she had a disease that meant she could not drink or use as a starting point. The producers around her on the show weren't going to talk about it because it makes for a whole other series to show her burning out, and going into treatment. Only she didn't make it that far did she?

The reason why I'm calling this blog “Sanity Today” is that it's all around me. I used to have a home group that I could go to for grounding. Even that's been taken from me. To avoid what happened to Jimmy happening to me – I put the copyrights for the program I started in my name. That way if anyone wanted to set up bogus meetings of Prostitutes Anonymous in a setting for money without my permission I could come in and put a stop to it because they didn't have my legal consent. I thought it was a way of making sure that what happened to Bill and Jimmy didn't happen to me – that the program we founded wouldn't rise up against us.

I was wrong. People who wanted to make money setting up bogus “trafficking programs” just started running meetings they called “Prostitutes Anonymous” without using our literature, our meeting format, our training manual, our Step Working Guides, or anything else that made our program work. They wanted grant money so they rounded up every prostitute they could find walking down the street, told them they'd go to jail if they didn't attend these meetings, told them they were now "trafficking victims" not prostitutes, and then got their grant money.

It took me years to get the evidence they were holding these meetings behind our backs. I tried asking them if they would please consult with me on how to run these meetings as they should be in order to “work” and be effective. They didn't have the time or interest. They had their money and it was all they cared about.   It's so bad I asked one woman in Indianapolis where there's now an HIV outbreak to spend 15 minutes with me to get an idea how to run the meetings so they would "work" before I'd give her the copyright release to run a program there - and she refused.  She was too "busy".  I said "honey if you're too busy to give me 15 minutes to learn how to do it right - then you're too busy to give these men and women the time they need to learn the program and I won't give you the release".  Boy she showed me by walking away and not started the meeting there.  Now the news says there's an HIV outbreak there.  The answer to the problem is here - but no one wants to take the time because I'm not handing out grant money.   

Leaving me with all I could do was serve them with a “cease and desist” order. Most seem to have complied. I've been told these meetings that did not work, that were harming our reputation for being effective that took me years to build, have been shut down. Except one. One woman seems to have really found a calling for herself – putting on bogus meetings supposedly of ours while the documentary and news cameras are rolling on her. I've given her three “cease and desist” orders – and she's now done three documentaries anyway. Leaving me with no recourse than to take legal action.

Before doing so, I wanted to be sure I was “right”. I spoke to the women and transgenders in Chicago where this is happening. I've been asking them “are you getting what you need?” The answer is universally – when the camera is off she's gone. No they are not getting the program or what they need. To maintain her position of power and control she is not even telling these people she's deceiving there are other members with a lot of substantial time and recovery they can connect to by calling our World Service Office here for that connection. We have members who got their recovery with us in the 1980's and 1990's before this madness took it's root – who still are working their programs today and want to work with newer members to keep that recovery.

So I repeated my request to Brenda Myers-Powell to please connect the members who are attending these meetings she's calling “Prostitutes Anonymous” still (even though we changed our name in 1995 to Sex Workers Anonymous) to us so we can get them their Recovery Guides, their Step Working Guides, the newsletter, the radio show, and most important to connect them to the older members for sponsorship – and she's refused. Leaving me no choice now but to sue to try to get the word out to these poor women that the marketing they're getting so one woman can advance her career is not what this program is about. I'm sorry Brenda – but I have to do this for the “common welfare” which has to “come first”.

The documentary she just filmed “Dreamcatchers” - if she was going to insist upon involving our program, then she could have used that to benefit the program as a whole. She did not. This documentary does not have the website, the main hotline number, nor even hint anything at all about the other members at large who founded this great program. Nor how I used to book TV shows to get a trip to Chicago a couple of times a year so I could spend time with Edwina Gately at Genesis House. I would come there for a few days to nurture the PA meetings there at her house that were the meetings Brenda found when she came in the doors. The books I donated to make sure Brenda got a Recovery Guide when she came in the door.

She hints at nothing like this for others seeing this show to know they can get help too from the same process. So for that reason – I'm preparing to sue Brenda, and others connected with this fraud, because people are dying because of not finding us. They are being used to exploit people's agenda and I can't stand back and do nothing. The serenity prayer teaches us to “do what we can”. So I am. The end results I'm powerless over.

As for the rest - I have no idea.  It took a lot of people dying that a lot of people cared about, and that insurance companies were tired of paying for problems on the sets, to get things turned around.  However, even Hollywood has changed.  Instead of being stars like Elizabeth Taylor or Robin Williams - they have the Housewives of Orange County who sit around over drinks and lunch bashing a woman who is trying to raise money for juvenile diabetes because she didn't invite the right people to the event. 

I don't have a clue.  But I'm going to just keep working my program and we'll see.  Isn't that how it is anyway? 

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant writing: but women are divided and ruled by the forces you describe, so maybe working together with Brenda is a better option.