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Before I go into my addiction story, I must first give you a proper definition and understanding of addiction. An addiction is a strong physical and mental need or behavior having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects.
Types Of Addictions
When speaking of addictions, most people think of drugs or alcohol, but eight common addiction behaviors are often not mentioned. Gambling, sex, internet, shopping, video games, plastic surgery, binge eating, and risky behavior addictions. I want to talk to you, not just about addiction, but a method of freeing one’s self from its clutches.
Arriving back in Chicago from a failed attempt at a four-year music scholarship at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, I was happy to be home but very disappointed with myself for not finishing the race.
It has always been one of my pet peeves, but unfortunately, I was not responsible enough to take care of the financial aid documents needed to complete the deal.
So here I am back in the city, not knowing in what direction my life was going, nor did I have a clue in which direction I wanted to take it, so I went with the flow.
Heavy Drinking and Drugs
My good friend Tyrone Martin was a DJ, so I enjoyed going by his house every day to listen to music, drink a few beers, and experience whatever the day delivered to us. After one year of going with the flow, I came out with a pierced left ear, an acquired taste for Old English beer, and 151 rum affectionately called bat out of hell.
Weed and a little happy stick were also drugs that I found interesting. They helped me for the moment to forget that I had problems and issues. I did not feel that my activities were classified as addiction, but little did I know that it was not the drinking or the drugs that I was becoming addicted to, but I favored the nothingness of this lifestyle.
I shortly became employed, making excellent wages working for Time, Life Magazine as a book control clerk. Some would think that was my turning point, but you must remember that my challenge was not money. It was being responsible.
Money Makes Things Worse
So giving an irresponsible young man a large sum of money every two weeks and nothing to be responsible for other than getting to work every day was nothing but a disaster waiting to happen. You guessed it, every payday, the party was on me, and my group of friends began to grow.
To make matters worse, there was a co-worker that we will call Nick who was selling cocaine on the job. This was my first introduction to cocaine, and I loved that it gave me the boost that I need to get through the workday.
After all, every day was a party for me, so I did not think about getting sleep during the week so that I would be able to make it through the workday. No need; I had cocaine to take care of that.
Changing The People Around You
I did wake up to the fact that my friends were riding my employment coattail, so I began to hang out with my co-workers after work. We would hang out at a popular night club downtown called DingBats.
Within that small circle of friends that I went out with was a young lady named Renne. We became really good friends and, through conversations, discovered that we both wanted to get out from under our mothers’ households, so we decided that we would get an apartment together and split the rent.
Marriage Without Love
She found a beautiful newly developed apartment complex in the near south suburbs. We both went to view the apartment complex and was informed that they were only renting to married couples. Of course, we knew we were not married, but we loved that apartment so much that we decided to get married to get it.
So we go to the city hall and get married, get our marriage license, and take it back to the apartment complex only to discover that they had no more apartments available to rent. You could not believe the devastation that we both felt hearing this.
We planned to get the marriage annulled after we got the apartment, but we were unsure what to do after this news. We sat down and discussed how to move forward and concluded that we really liked each other a lot. So we decided to stay with the marriage. I moved in with her in her mother’s house while looking for another place of our own.
Living That Entertainers Life
While living with my new wife at her mother’s house, I was introduced to her sister’s boyfriend, who introduced me to the band leader of a band he was the lead guitarist called Chicago’s Own Band. After auditioning for the band, I quickly became an intricate part of the group.
Now keep in mind that my responsibility issues have not been corrected, and as my musician friend had suggested, I am faking it until I can make it.
My new wife had no clue as to what she was getting herself into. Coming to work every day gave her the impression that I was responsible. But little did she know that she had married a very irresponsible brother with a cocaine habit that is now weekly performing in night clubs being introduced to the fame of entertainment.
Drugs, alcohol, and women showing a sexual interest took my ego to an all-time expanding high. My wife had no clue that I had about two women on the side. About a few years after joining the band, the leader Sax Preacher decided to take the band out of the nightclubs and direct our brand in another direction.
A New Direction
The new direction that he wanted to take the group was a more smooth jazz inspirational band. We also started a spiritual ministry call The Temple of Mercy Association. I have been addicted to cocaine all these years, but I am still addicted to this irresponsible lifestyle that getting high and being promiscuous was an effect.
There was a Sunday when the Sax Preacher, aka Minister Rahin Chesed Aton, gave a lecture on addiction, and his message was that our lives are recorded on something called a timeline. He stated that our timeline could be accessed by going into our own thoughts, recalling negative incidents in our lives, and mentally cutting them out as film editors cut out unwanted movie scenes.
This teaching really hit home with me to the point that I went back in my mind to that day I came home from Missouri feeling defeated and unsure what to do about it. I knew that it was acting irresponsibly that was the cause of all my issues, and it was not going to go away as the minister said with just an imaginary film cutting. I had some work to do.
Thinking For A Change
I began walking the path of responsibility. Saying what I mean and meaning what I say. Making my word become my bond. Continuing to attend Minister Rahim’s lecture gathering bits and pieces of knowledge that assisted me in my recovery.
It was that one moment in time where everything changed for me. I was ready to receive the message that placed me on a path that I still travel to this day. I hope that sharing this piece of my life with you may help you chart your own recovery path.
Opinion by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Feature and Top Images by Runner1616 Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by SounderBruce Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Courtesy of Felipe Oduardo Sierra’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Third Inset by Splintercell Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Fouth Inset Image by Santeri Viinamäki Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons license
Fifth and Sixth Inset Images by Omari Jahi