Cell block society post-release master plan: Reincarnation first 30 months post-release

Brookshire, Levert, III (Sékou)

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Cover Page Working Title: Cell Block Society Post-Release Master Plan Subtitle: Reincarnation First 30 Months Post-Release Author: Levert Brookshire Page Count: 20 1/2 Word Count: 18K *Approaching graduation from short-term courses. Reached first 30 months of release *Professions chosen because of life experiences can be reciprocated with those professions *Putting myself through self-exploration, interpreting my own psychological characteristics, identifying traits in myself using expertise and theory's found in relevant literature. As a way of self-diagnose. *Taking everything I've learned from school, life experience, and reading in my cell. Put all of it to good use. Start Inspiring others with it, hosting speaking engagements, seminars and try to become a motivational speaker, talking about what I know first hand. *"Behind Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison" by Ian J. Ross. "How To Do Good After Prison" by Michael Jackson "Incredible Human Potential" by Herbert Armstrong "Speak With Confidence, A Practical Guide" by Albert Vasile "Understanding Your Potential by Myles Munroe "How To Conquer Negative Emotions" by Ray Masters Pre-Post Release Survival Manual by Ned [Palla?] *Seminar broker #112 $10. Concert, seminar, event producer #278 $10. New venture consultant #109 $10. Business consultant #94 $1. How to be a consultant #256 $5 Drug alcohol treatment specialist Physical therapist aide Psychologist/Social Work Real Estate Appraiser Natural Health Consultant Eden Press 800-338-8484 Stratford Career Inst. 1-800-363-0058 #6616 Produced by: The Cell block Society Initiative Working Title: Cell Block Society Post-Release Master Plan Author: Levert Brookshire First 30 Months Post-Release (Reincarnation) I've reached 30 months now into my post-release, 2 1/2 years exactly. The amount of time estimated for having completed or at least very close to completing the final days of my formal training, or educational courses that I've enrolled into. Graduation from the technical trade school, vocational training classes or community college should be close to or already completed by this stage of post-release. Official diplomas, certifications, licenses or permits received. 30 months is a generous amount of time to have enrolled, attended and completed all of the required number of courses for any one of the top eight choices potential professions to pursue. Looking to minimize the amount of time having to work and labor at temporarily low-end, low-skilled, and low-paying menial jobs. Jobs not meant for long-term employment. By not having any formal professional training or skilled educations to rely on, really seriously limits my income potential and opportunities to earn a decent livable salary. Using my past life experiences, and through first hand accounts with the criminal lifestyles of my earlier life, I've tried to select professions where all of this can be used as educational background for my future careers. Repurpose what I've already been through in my life, I'm already well familiar with the subject matter. Transitioning it, into a professional career of close relationship to what I already know about; the chosen professions I've selected were the best eight options I believe work for my background and personal experiences. Time of completion from start to finish was an impact on my selection. Estimated to be kept inside the time range of my state parole/community supervision. Making sure of this qualifies me to receive both state and federal financial-aid benefits, through government grants. All state parolees who are still under State of Arizona's Dept. of Corrections authority and jurisdiction are instantly eligible, automatically qualified to enroll into technical trade schools, vocational job training courses, community college classes etc. With their enrollment tuition waived, cost of book's, supplies even some training equipment expenses paid for. All it covered under state and federal tax-credits and grants, specifically and directly aimed at ex-felons who are seeking to reintegrate back into civil society, reassimilate themselves into a smooth and comfortable transition. Trying to become contributing, tax-paying members of society. Aware of the kinds of discrimination ex-felon's face, prejudice, bias and rejection, having past convictions on our records. Programs have been launched to offer supportive assistance to those of us who are serious about staying out. They have tax-credits available for businesses, employers, willing to offer us a chance. Giving tax-deductions to those willing to hire us. By now, I've had enough time outside prison to test-out each and every single one of the benefit's I qualify for. During my cell archaeology, digging through the pages of books, raising important information up to the surface, sifting through it, examining it closer, charting it and then cataloging what I learn inside my notes. I made a point to take full advantage of every supplemental resource, financial support, or benefit, made available to me while under the jurisdiction and authority of state parole supervision. Any support, that I can access to relieve stress and take pressure off, is good enough for me. Especially in these early first few years. With a "financially" disadvantaged family, having little if any at all to offer me, just getting out. Few and limited resources will come from family and friends, having scarce resources for themselves, minimal help if any at all is expected from any family members or close friends. Depending on them would be a mistake. Thankfully I've assessed this situation in advance, taking appropriate action necessary to develop alternative sources of support and resources, that I can turn to, from day one. Most of which I've already tapped into, following the (initial six months) of these post-release plans. Resources such as civildisabilityact.gov, disability.gov, Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, along with U.S. Dept. of Labor, Work Force Enforcement Act, and also the Work Force Investment Act. Each one of these programs have been the beneficiary of millions in federal/state tax dollars, tax-payer's money. In the form of grants, which have been allocated specifically for us ex-felons, who like myself are committed and ready to put in the time and the hard work necessary to "dig" up these resources, then proceed to draft-up a plan for using them, in a planned-out transition. Unfortunately not very many, few at best. Want to, put in the time and the hard work it takes to exercise their own will power, discipline and determination, to turn off their personal T.V. sets, pull themselves away from the card games, poker table, dominoes and chess matches, that are a staple inside prison's for those who are looking to find ways to help distract themselves away from the time or the calendar. Ways to shift attention away from thinking about the people, places and things we all miss while we're inside prison. Majority of the cell dwellers who surrounded me didn't know how to read a book or simply had no desire to. Few ever mentioned, or talked about drafting plans for themselves to have when they got released. Lacking the necessary "hunger" to stay out of prison, the lack of self-discipline, self-determination and will power that is demanded from them to be able to turn off their own T.V, push away from the card games, dominoes, and chess matches by themselves, for them to read, study, and "think" instead. Just doesn't seem like it's a practical alternative to most prisoner's, who need instant relief and gratification, not delayed rewards. Obviously there's very little excitement, fun or entertainment in studying. If it were, a lot more people would be doing it. But, it's absolutely expected even demanded from any of us that's serious about breaking the vicious cycle, shattering the psychological chains of institutional holds around our minds, anyone looking to deprogram their own mindset from the institutional programming, encoded into their value-system's and rationale, must make the choice to do whatever it takes, first. I'm glad I did, after finally becoming disgusted with myself, exhausted, and drained of excuses. I wanted out of the whole lifestyle, everything. I wanted to deprogram myself of all prison culture, institutional life, I hate it, it's dysfunctional, corrosive and toxic. Yet, I've kept coming back to it, three separate times now. I can't ignore the fact, there is something psychologically wrong with me, if I keep repeating an action that I know the outcome to, which I hate, but I keep repeating it anyways. This left me with the difficult acceptance of acknowledging I had gone insane. A notion of profound implications, I knew wasn't the case at all. I just didn't have any answers as to why? So I set out to look for plausible realistic explanations as to why? Starting at the source, my "thinking." Questioning the basis of my values, belief's and rationale. This is where my self-archaeological digging first started at. Right there confined to a cell turning off my T.V. set, so that I could begin digging into books, reading and taking notes. Digging further and deeper to make comparison's of what I would learn, that seemed strikingly similar to my own behavior and thinking patterns. Books helped to walk me through it, during what [termed?] to be, my "cell therapy" sessions. It helped me to identify stuff I didn't know before, compelling me to look closer and closer at myself to find answers. I was able to uncover decades-old, hardened, aged, almost fossilized remains. Decomposed, decayed, past childhood traumas, dysfunctional family history, deep mental scarring. Broken trust and lost innocence buried deeply inside the soft, fragile and delicate tissue of my brain, artifacts to me now, at my age. Self-archaeology was an important piece of the puzzle, finding out answer's, exploring, discovering, researching and then studying what I found. Keeping meticulously accurate notes as I learned about myself, preserving them and organizing them into a filing system. So far it has proven to be an effective way to spend 21 years of my life, if I had no other choices available. It was well worth turning off the T.V. set, avoiding distractions and concentrating on reading, studying and thinking instead, planning my future. "Cell therapy," eventually led me into self-archaeology, and from the self-archaeology to a "thinking" shift, how I started to look ahead into my future. A whole different and a completely new vision, I saw for myself. Eventually over a span of time it started forming and taking shape, becoming a complete and full deep, understanding human being. Getting to know more and more about myself on a much more deeper and personal level like no other time before. Building my knowledge, growing wiser, and more aware of myself, my motivations and what drives me inside. It all helped me get a better understanding of the world and life itself, came into better focus for me. I soon figured out, what it was I was doing wrong, and why? Ever since my early years of life. Though literature, I started to dismantle all of my earlier years of faulty, jimmy-rigged, improvised thinking models and rudimentary problem-solving ways. Deconstructing all of how I used to think and impulsively react to my surroundings, approach problems, succumb to my temptations and neglect my will power. Taking everything that I've learned about myself into account, sorting it all out, reorganizing my entire way of thinking. Today, thirty months into my freedom, I approach my problems different now, I figured out solutions to complications that arise in my opposed to reacting to them impulsively as I once did before in my early years of life. I know how to navigate through difficulties now, by thinking my way through them. All the discoveries, I've made, the important questions I've answered through years and years of "cell therapy," and self-archaeology having led to the construction of these plans. They are important to my success of staying out of institutionalized-living. Plans, I am proud of. Because it's my thinking, my hands and efforts which made them come together, my execution of them will determine the results. Inspired by a burning desire for something different in my life. I knew that I wanted change and if I was get any changes in my life it would have to come from inside of me, I'd have to start learning about, a new way to "live?" Figure out a new way to "think"? Learn another way to process information through my mind. Finally, leading me to create my own uniquely structured problem solving system. Giving myself a unique way to look at my problems approach challenges and obstacles that arise in my life. I created a way to take on future threats to my life, freedom and legacy. The three purpose's I stay alive for today. Purposes which have since inspired these plans to be drafted up years ahead of their time. Repulsed by prison life, disgusted with myself and the kinds of people I've put myself in here with. I vowed to do whatever it takes, to ensure myself I'll never return here again. Never will I risk the loss of my life, my freedom or damage my legacy ever again. Much work had to be done first, before I could keep such a pledge. As it turns out, I was more than willing to do the necessary work needed of me to make the changes inside myself. Those changes and the hard work it took to make them was the idea behind these here post-release plans. Not wanting to ever forget. The idea was to create a time capsule of sorts, a yearbook so to speak a chronology, of my gradual growth process while confined, all the way up to my release, and even beyond my release. Everything neatly organized, sorted-out, structured for my own unique personal taste, using my voice and my language. Serving as my GPS guidance mechanism. Charting, tracking, and helping me stay on course, outside of prison. Plans that I've constructed to keep myself completely focused. Constructed from raw materials, scraped up inside of stripped down windowless, cold, cramped maximum security prison cells. The demand for real answered, forced me to shift my thinking and work on a new way of thinking. My own problem solving system. Since, not being able to solve problems is the reason for my cycle of criminal behavior, that keep's me returning to prison. Figuring out my problem's without resorting to crime, became an awakening moment. Figuring-out problems ahead of time, finding answer's to challenges before reaching them. "Think," rationalize, process likely outcomes, consequences. Look ahead for plausible obstacles to arise in my life? Which ones are likely to challenge me, when I'm released from prison? These plans, have definitely given me a formula that works for me, so far. 30 months is only the infancy stage of the rest of my life. This new structured problem solving process has proven to work, to "think" intelligently as I approach problems, not like before. Reacting to them, irrationally, impulsively, only leads me back to prison cells, or emergency rooms. I'm glad that I started working on the upcoming problems I knew would be awaiting me once I stepped out of prison from day one. Solving these problems meant having to take each and every single one of them, individually, one at a time. Look at it by itself and address it accordingly. Overlooking the smaller detail, making one minor miscalculation. Could be the mistake that leads me to another cell. The threat of this, kept me motivated to want meticulous detail's covered. taking my time to conduct all the research necessary in order to solve, each and every one of the anticipated problem's ahead of me. Carefully documenting everything I learned, keeping detailed accurate notes, during my "cell therapy" with author's and throughout my years of digging into my "self-archaeological" project. Making sure to keep detailed records of what I was able to find, for myself to reference later on and use as needed. This post-release plan was the final and last finished product to come out of those archaeological dig's. Drafting these plan's together, compiling all of my notes and discoveries into a series of personal essay's, written in a language that I can understand. What this post-release master plan amounts to is a motivational letter of encouragement to my own self, once I've left prison and I'm setting off for freedom. Pulling this plan out, will be a way for me to look at myself back in time, writing to my future self, I was looking forward to becoming, outside of prison. If strictly adhered to? Making a comfortable transition into freedom should go smoothly as planned? I made sure to include guideposts, mile markers, and directions all throughout the charted maps and plans, as I traveled through freedom. There's unique, subtle "triggers" for me to notice, tools for generating fire inside me when I need it, to stay driven and focused. Painful reminder's to inspire "ideas" and "creativity" inside me. Heart felt memories to spark up my passion all over again. Factual detail's that will assist me in navigating my way through inhospitable, challenging, difficult and trying terrain. There are compelling archaeological notes included, which give me much needed creative ideas, memories, and passion whenever I need to be "re-charged" again, "motivated," again. Given the limited number of resources found inside prison the scarce amount of useful tools I had available to me at the time. My work on these plans still began regardless. Making this the most important work that I've ever done before in my entire lifetime. My legacy will be inside these plans, what I've invested into these writings will decide the rest of my life. Being alone with myself for years and years in those confined cells digging deeper and deeper inside my buried memories trying to explore and find what ever I can, for answers. It was amazing what I was able to recover during my self-archaeology and cell therapy sessions. Unleashing years of buried repressed memories which were too overwhelming for me at first. Especially recently losing my mama while I sat inside a cell. For awhile I had to step away from it all, put down the self-archaeological stuff, for a few days, just to recompose myself before I went any deeper or any further into my digging. It all had become just too much to take in all at once. Revisiting my long buried, past childhood. Remembering my father's violent, angry, thrashing's, his large, heavy fist, violently and swiftly coming downward in a "swoosh" to pound against my mothers beautiful, delicately soft face. As he would regularly hammer her small, fragile, petite frame of a body. Recalling how me and my two siblings Tina and Tisha only toddlers then, we'd hunker down together, hiding somewhere, scared, confused, and feeling helpless for our mother's suffering, sympathetic as we saw her crawling on the floor pleading, begging for my father's mercy, and whimpered into a corner covering up her head. Being only toddler's three, four, and five years old at the time. There was nothing we could do, but watch. Sometimes not often, but few occasions it became us who were targeted for the beating's. We suffered a hard beating, pounded with electrical extension cords or thick leather belts for making the slightest misstep at the wrong time. I went back so far into my memories, digging up old repressed pain and forgotten scar's that became difficult for me to look at them again. But, necessary for me too. In order to reach answer's and to reconcile with some personal strains, I've ignored and had buried away for a long, long time. But eventually I managed to uncover answers and reconcile with some issues that have caused my life to have great distress, for years. The answer's I've found helped to explain why I ended up choosing the kinds of coping mechanisms I did/ Helping me to rationalize My hurtful history, and painful past traumas, so that I can get over it, for good. I could see what drove all of us into our very own different private, personal and secretive "coping" world's. Placing where we all went to, in private, with our suffering. Where we process our trauma in our own ways. Nobody deals with their trauma exactly the same. What I did with my pain and lost innocence, how I eventually came to cope with my trauma wasn't how my mama came to cope with hers, Tina and Tisha didn't choose the same coping mechanisms either. They both developed their own way's of coping. We watched our mama slowly start to sink into deep depression and turn to alcohol, for her self-medications, coping mechanism, and started self-medicating often. As I uncovered more and more buried memories, small ripples on the surface grew into waves of memories I had long forgotten. Becoming a driving force inside me, triggering a strong desire and more determination for me to stay on course and keep my focus. Using this same process, to keep my torch lit. I became unafraid to open myself up to an ever-widening spectrum of self-archaeology. Losing shame and ditching embarrassment, I reconnected with myself again. Who, for awhile, I lost touch with. Putting up so many other faces and alter-ego's as a way for me to hide behind, as a "coping" mechanisms. Finally the "master of disguise" I became, was over with. Remembering how we use to sit together, as a family at our dinner table, once dad came home from work. Always angry, grouchy, and complaining to mama about something she did or either didn't do, we'd be flinching if he as much as reached for a piece of cornbread. Those giant black, calloused hands of his swiftly moving in any manner at all, had conditioned us all to jump and tremble, nervously with tension and fear keeping us anxious for something to happen next. Like 3 little puppies, trained. Constantly making our house as if it were a simmering pressure cooker. Mama's self-medicating brought her to get up the nerves and courage to grab a few items, with me and my sisters in tow she waited 'til my father left for work and she left our house behind for good. Coming to land at her mother's house, Granny's. Where she felt right at home as Granny too was an alcoholic, Mama's self-medicating picked up even more so, her physical abuse led her to suffer a nervous breakdown and even mental illness, issues later on. Her parental abilities declined shortly afterward. Neglecting her motherly duties and abandoning all responsibilities to us. Having to fend for ourselves as six, seven, and eight year olds, with the recent arrival of Bird our infant baby cousin who Aunt Michelle just brought into the world, her first born we all doted on him, and being an only boy myself, he and I instantly bonded a big brother, little brother. With Mama's declining capacity to parent us, my most memorable period of childhood, were the instances grown up after getting out of school, coming home to find no gas for the stove, no electrical power, empty food pantries just days after our month [AFDI?] government welfare checks had been issued out. Yet, I'd clearly notice empty alcohol containers strewn all over the house, as it was always dirty, unkempt anyways, Mama and Granny both would be passed out, hungover from the night of drinking before. Even after seeing all of this for what seemed like years but had only been several months of deplorable, filthy living conditions. It still wasn't enough for me or my siblings' to want to leave our mama. Besides it gave us the chance to finally feel like kids without fear or nervousness. We never wanted to go liver anywhere else, definitely not with our father again. To us, the neglect was "no big deal," and so we learned to adapt and put up with is, just to be with our mama. Plus, it also gave us a chance to have unsupervised childhood's, with all the adults partying and drinking nobody was watching us kids. With no rules at home or curfews like our father enforced in his household, we'd be outside at all hours of the night, running around with other neighborhood delinquent, under-supervised kids. Coming and going as we pleased, at eight, nine, and ten years old, without any structure in our still-early stages of life. Fortunately our father loved us enough to keep in touch with us, he really wanted to live up to his role and fatherly duties, as a good parent. He made regular visits every so often to take us to eat out at fast food joints, etc., etc, Or drop in just to chat with us and check on us, his kids. Although there were times he'd surprised us unannounced to check on his kids. He'd seen us in such poor, filthy, neglectful conditions. He'd just demand us to climb into his car and drive off, as we had tattered, filthy clothes, being hungry looking, showing obvious signs of malnourishment, he'd gotten angry and took us back into full-custody again. Moving into temporary arrangements with his own sibling's-- and we'd live with relatives aunties and cousins who we'd form lasting bonds and relationship's with, something that turned out to be a good thing for us. But our nights of unsupervised running around the neighborhood being mischievous, and delinquent was quickly shut down, replaced by a structure of strict house rules, homework, house chores and bedtime curfews. Something I had trouble getting used to. But, I re-adapted to it for awhile. Accepted the structured, disciplined way of life for awhile, it lasted for all of two years, 'til I turned around 10 or 11. Dealing with the rigor's of my father's disciplinary beatings, the day to day way of life listening to his lecturing and barking commands, it took its toll on me. In way's that didn't ever go well with me. Eventually it came out, in signs of serious rebellion, "criminal rebellion." Which soon led to my first legal troubles in the juvenile courts. At 12 years old, I gave stolen prescription medication's to a classmate at school who later overdosed and passed out on school campus requiring emergency medical treatment to revive him back to life, when he told authorities who supplied him with the medications, they arrested me and expelled me from every middle school in the county. While being questioned by police, they left me at home pending parent conferences. As I sat at home waiting for my father to return home form work, nervous and scared, my mind racing back and forth wondering what to say? What to do? Where to go? Knowing how bad my father's going to beat me once he finds out about it. So the way I chose to deal with it was to "flee," run away from home. Out of options, and out of real fear of how he would react, to the news. I waiting 'til my sister's came home to tell them about my plans to run away. They started freaking out about the whole situation. I told them my plans rather than stay to face Dad's wrath of fury My sibling's begged and pleased with me to take them along with me. I didn't need two little girl's tagging along with me. While I was in the wretched and inhospitable streets. But I truly had to sympathize with them, we were close and protective of each other. I could see why they didn't want to be left behind, there with him to feel his angry tension. After something I had done. Taking every last ounce of courage I had left inside of me. I agreed to do it. We grabbed a few things and fled the house together, before he got off work. Subconsciously I'm sure it was the freedom that we had and lose, that had been beckoning us, calling us back. It was something that we had missed and wanted it again. Even though we had come to appreciate the consistency of regular meal's, clean clothes, a structured living environment with dad and his relatives side of the family. We knew a certain level of freedom would come with being with our mama, which any kid would want, and we'd rather have than be without. Even if it meant turning our back's on regular dietary meals and having nutrition needs met, stability and family structure. It wasn't the same, like being able to come and go as we pleased, having to steal food at grocery stores, eating off the shelves and leaving, looking out for each other and protecting each other for survival. As along as we were together it didn't matter to us. Laughing to together, playing around, amusing each other, helping each other out whenever we needed to. Developing a tight bond between us. Centered around having to survive and protect each other. Soon, we could always drift back to our mother's and granny's front door, after a few day's of misadventures out on the street's. More often than not there was never any battles or custody disputes, contending where we lived at. I'd get to see my little cousin again Bird, who keep's growing up every time I go away and get back to him, he's gotten a little taller, who I alway's missed while I was away. With my father's side of the family. This time my aunt had gotten involved with someone who would come to our granny's house, under the influence of "PCP" and start up his rambling, snarling and cursing at us kids, staring at us, pacing in the street's, threatening to hurt our family. What grown adult male, scares kids and threatens their lives, my uncle Ricky had already trained me how to load and aim his gun, and I couldn't wait to "shoot it," it was one of Earl's rambling, "PCP" induced episodes that gave me that opportunity, when he started up again making threats against all of us kids, who were only 9, 13, 12 and 14 years old. I found my uncle's gun, and went through Granny's house to gather all of the kid's into one room to make sure we were all safe. Then went after him with the gun who I shot at multiple times and somehow missed him, but he never did come back after that. This gave me my first of many taste or uses of a "gun" to come. I was 13 years old at the time. I would go on to learn the power and influence of carrying a gun, using violence to command respect and stir fear in people. It was around this time, I can remember that one day my mother was contacted by the state welfare office downtown and told me she must report there the next morning for an interview. Which Mama had obviously felt the implicit message. The next morning she left with her friend Odessa, when Odessa returned. She didn't have my mama with her. They had arrested her at their office. Suddenly shifting our lives once again. My mind flooded with all kinds of questions but, I was too young to have to have the answer's too, at that age. I simply repressed all of my anger and confusion, cursing the authorities who took my mama away. This promptly put me and my sister's back in the care, supervision and control of our father again. Being expelled from school still, meant that I had to spend all day at home, completely alone, while everyone else went off to school and work. A unique opportunity for me to grab my bicycle and sneak out to wander and explore the cityscape. Look for much needed adventure and excitement, to make up for the boredom at home, needing some adventure and rebellion on day, I got the notion to ride up to my school after being given strict instructions in my terms of expulsion to stay away. I decided to go seek retribution against the classmate who overdosed and eventually told authorities on me. I found him on campus and then punched him in the face, broke his nose and got arrested again, this time for assault. Placed on juvenile criminal probation. Tempering my defiance against law. "Rebellion" and "defiance" was growing inside me. It was gradually taking shape for awhile. In early 1983 Mama was finally released from the state of California's Institution for Women C.I.W. in Frontera, CA after 2 1/2 years. I had just turned 15 at that time. We had been living in the California garden's for a year at that time. While inside prison Mama became a sincere born-again Christian during her time inside. Her faith had become so strong in there, she had shed her addition to alcohol when she'd finally been released. She had become a completely changed woman. Sadly though, I had went through quite the opposite, while she was away in prison. I had developed a way of coping with all that had happened while we were smaller kids. Without anyone to explain the difficult feeling's I was having or how to cope with the dysfunctional upbringing I had experiences, it left me unprepared and susceptible to finding my own coping mechanism just as my siblings had to do, and so do many other's who have to grow up in low-income, dysfunctional families, set in disadvantaged poverty stricken neighborhoods. Whatever magical, imaginative play worlds, we created for ourselves as smaller kids gets shattered to pieces, and swept away. Replaced by a difficult and harsh, ugly reality. When my ambitions were lowered to just basic survival. At 15 years old facing constant economic, familial, and even social challenges that kept on mounting up, more and more daily. While I watched my schooling and education, along with my athleticism and even employment opportunities beginning to narrow down to nothing. Driving me closer and closer to the enticement and courting of the streets. My neighborhood "social" network had caught my attention. My building resentment towards Dad's strict rules at home, combined with a growing animosity towards authority as a whole. All of this only pushed me even closer into the streets awaiting arms, where my neighborhood's street corner welcomed me and couldn't wait for me to come, and enlist. The streets are where we can give our personal expression about the deep frustration's we are feeling inside of us. On those corner's of 14th street and Arizona street in the California gardens. I came to create my disguise, fabricating my own unique mask, so that I have a way to conceal myself, shield my past traumas, hide my insecurities, guilt, embarrassment and shame. On those street's we turn all of that kind of stuff around, and start to construct our own alter-ego's our of it. Just like the Phantom of the Opera story. We invent our mask's and alter-ego's to use them as a way to act out roles. Making ourselves appear to be larger than life character's. Using those streets form San Bernardino, to Los Angeles, down to Phoenix, AZ was always fair fame for me to express the strong hormonal changes that were rippling through my body at that time, as my sexual desires peaked. Having nobody to ever sit me down, explain any of this to me. Show me, the way these powerful natural changes in my body feel, how to control them, manage them responsibly. I just acted on them naturally and instinctively, becoming super sexually promiscuous, irresponsible, and reckless. Nobody talked to me about the strong changes happening in my body during that period in my life. I didn't know about the serious consequences of my sexual behavior. At that age there weren't any times where, I was sat down and had someone define way's of coping, to me. Nobody cautioned me, or offered me guidance. No discussions ever took place, that explained cause and effect to me, or way's of problem solving. I had to improvise and make it up as I went along. I never knew how to rationalize through difficulties in the way, or how to navigate around them by thinking them through, first. Rather than reacting to them as I did. Nobody taught me or showed me how to cope with my worries or anxiety, so I coped with it in my own way. I never knew about any such thing as a plan of action. Left to my own devices, I just processed everything the way a 15-year-old immature inexperienced, naive adolescent young boy does, unplanned, unprepared, no strategies, no counselor's, no mentor's to coach me as I go. How else does a "kid" develop their own unique ideal's and belief's? How does a young, youthful, naive adolescent kid know how to process destructive attitudes? How did I know how to cope with painful early childhood experiences? My own "critical" inner-voice was formed in my early childhood, without my realizing it. I internalized negative thoughts of thing's seen done and said all around me. Later on this became self-sabotaging thoughts for me. The kind that would tell me "not to bother trying, it's only a waste of time," or "don't think about doing that, you're not meant for that." I cast "self-doubt," on my own self. Making myself choose self-sabotaging behaviors. Once I became an adult, I could obviously determine what's right from wrong. But my critical inner-voice over so many year's, led me to re-create self-sabotaging thoughts later on, in my adult life. Playing old, the same old, overlapping negative thinking patterns from the past, ingrained inside of my beliefs. Once I learned where my self-sabotaging thoughts came from? How they formed inside me, in the first place. I, could get familiar with it and recognize when they start to slip into my thought process. As I do this, I'll start recognizing it whenever I start acting against myself. Like for example if I see any legitimate goal I want to pursue. But, instead of pursuing it, I began to look for excuses not to go after it. That's a signal to me, that I should begin to push more aggressively for it. Another self-sabotaging behaivor from my childhood year's, carried over into my adult life, is "worrying" and "anxiety." My view of the world developed from my childhood years, and managing stressful situations happening in my life, that were complicated for a kid my age, to be dealing with, demands placed onto my shoulder's which adults have difficulty dealing with. It's unfortunate that, it has taken me this long, before I could "dig up" all these answer's. Rather than continue repeating the same mistakes, for the rest of my life. I've invested the time, developed the self-discipline and focused on literature to recover useful information that's provided much help, and insight to turn my thinking.... ... all the way around, showing me way's to deprogram my old way's of thinking, and finally develop a new healthy "view of the world." Facing my past dysfunctional history of experiences or my early childhood memories became an important part of my deprogramming process. Helping me to re-familiarize myself with the way's I chose to cope with my pain back then, choosing "criminal rebellion" to act out and express my inner frustrations even back then, how I came to use disobedience and defiance as a kid to be my defense mechanism against everything in authority. Looking back on this was the start of my own deprogramming process, deconstructing my old thinking patterns, reconstructing newer, healthier ones. Thinking patterns which help me to live out a healthier, more liberated life, peaceful and self-empowered. Able to solve my own problems wisely and being more in control of the outcome, while still guarding my life, freedom and legacy. Seeing the way I had chosen to cope helped open my eyes to why my sibling's Tina, Tisha and Bird chose their ways of coping. Turning to self-medicating. Tina choosing alcohol for year's after the loss of Damien "RIP." Tisha reaching for alcohol and crystal meth too, for her entire life, same for Bird struggling with his addiction to crystal meth from his late teens into his late 40's now. Once I reconnected with my old coping and defensive mechanism's, this has helped me to avoid sabotaging my future. Looking at my past dynamics, the ways I continued to repeat the cycle. How I impulsively reacted rather than think things through, what kept me maintaining the same negative identity and criminally rebellious mindset for so long. I never struggled with any addictions. But I relate to the motivations that drive people to their addictions. How addictions are "coping" tools that destroy families. I'm hoping to use everything I've been through and experienced in my personal life and re-purpose all of it to help others, doing something positive with it now. Using what I know as a professional now, who's certified in my field. Showing other how they can live and cope without crime, alcohol or substances. Showing them alternate coping mechanisms, problem solving systems and how to establish realistic ways to recovery and sobriety. Receiving my official diploma puts me on the right path to helping other's as a professional.

Author: Brookshire, Levert, III (Sékou)

Author Location: Arizona

Date: 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 19 pages

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