Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom

Delinquency starts at home, not in the streets.
Growing up, I saw my mother, on a nightly basis, drink herself to shame with all-night, loud parties filled with men.
Things didn’t improve much after my brother and I moved in with our father. It was with him and his male lover where I first encountered drugs. (It’s my opinion that the man who lived with us for 10 years was his lover. However, to this day, my father will not admit to that nor has he come out. As I told him a few years ago, if you’re gay, be gay, be happy. Don’t hide who you are. To my knowledge, he has not taken my advice.)
One day when I was a freshman in high school, I found cocaine in one of my father’s drawers. That same year, his lover started offering me drugs and was very aggressive about it. He told me that I should try them with him so that someone else wouldn’t take advantage of me. He practically shoved them in my face, but I always resisted. I saw what substance abuse had done to my mother.
My resistance lasted until age 18 when I tried marijuana. And then when I was 21 or 22, during a Mike Tyson fight, I started taking drugs with my brother. It began casually, only while watching the pay-per-view Tyson fights. But soon it escalated to every Friday night after work at my brother’s business, where we would talk about the hardship of our childhood.
After my brother was murdered when I was 27, I didn’t grieve for four years. I was numb. And then reality hit, I realized I was never going to hear from him ever again, and the tears and heartache began.
In a misguided attempt to get through the pain, ironically, I turned into my parents. I imitated what I had seen at home and started abusing drugs and alcohol. I also associated drinking and drugs with the good times I had had with my brother, so in a twisted way, when I was abusing drugs, I felt closer to him.
Drugs and alcohol numbed the pain for a while, but took much more from me than they ever gave. And like every recovering addict knows, you have to hit rock bottom in order to climb back up to get your sanity and get hold of your life again.
Today, I can honestly say that the party is over and it is time for me to grow up and face life. I look forward to future opportunities to share and help people who are struggling with chemical dependency.
The complete story of my alcohol and drug addition will be in my memoir.

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Debriefing

image by Iris
In my last blog, I told you about how I was busted in a Walmart parking lot for trafficking in cocaine and then taken to their conclave for questioning.

They were trying to get information out of me about my Colombian cartel and American accomplices.

Being questioned by the DEA is intimidating. Six black-vested agents with guns and me in a tiny conference room, the size of a bathroom. They were trying to bully me and overpower me to get me to tell them the truth. While only two agents asked the questions, they all worked together, upping the pressure and the ante for hours.

Someone had set me up, and I was pretty sure it was Mano, my cartel connection, so when he had the misfortune of calling during my interview, I flipped, and told them the truth.

That call actually saved me, because Mano proposed another deal, this time to move 30 kilos—a significant amount of cocaine—which suddenly made me valuable to the DEA.

So even though they didn’t know or trust me, they then started getting me ready for my first job as a confidential informant.

That doesn’t mean they eased up on me. In fact, for the first full year, my debriefings were hell, like colonoscopies without anesthesia.

In the tiny room, Special Agent Johnny, who eventually became my handler, leaned in. “If you even think of double-crossing us and running or if you get any of the agents hurt, we’re going to hunt you down to the ends of the earth and you will pay dearly!”

This was no act. He was serious.

After a while, Special Agent Tom told me to call my wife and tell her to come down with my passport. They said that might relax me a little, but that didn’t exactly work.

Penny, my second wife, was thirteen years my junior. She was pretty, Cuban-Chinese with small, delicate features, except for prominent front teeth, which she exposed in a big smile aimed at Johnny.

I guess she didn’t understand the part that I had been detained because, in addition to not taking this seriously at all, she showed up wearing every single piece of jewelry I had ever given to her. Her 5’2” thin frame seemed weighed down by it.

“I see what you spend your money on,” Tom smirked.

She was there for a moment, and then left, taking our marriage with her.

The DEA never offered me a deal. They just said, “Do the right thing.” And I did.

For the next four and a half years, I was bait. I worked hard for the DEA, getting drugs off the street, earning their trust bit by bit, and keeping myself out of jail.

The complete story of my debriefing and years as confidential informant will be in my forthcoming memoir, The Baggage Handler.

Posted in ABC news, Acceptanve, Actors, Adverting, African American writers, Alarming, America, Ana Curry, Anderson Cooper, Argentina, Australia, Beauty, Blogging, books, Books Reviews, Brad Pitt, Brail, break the chain, Britain, Bruce Willis, California, Canada, Canadian Book, CBS news, Chicago, Childhood, China, Civil Rights, Clint Eastwood, CNN news, Coming Out, Cooking, craft, Crime, Crime/Drama, criticism, Culture, Current Events, DEA, Demographics, Denmark, Denver, Denzel Washington, Depression, Di Caprio, Drug Bust, Dwayne Johnson, Egypt, Ellen Degenenes, Emotion, England, English Literature, Entertainment, Ethics, Event, Faith, Fashion, FBI, Film, Filmmaking, Firstpost, Five-Minute-friday, Fox news, France, free=write-friday, Friday, George Clooney, Gerald Butler, Germany, Globalization, God, Grief, Growing Up, Happy Friday, Headlines, International Affairs, Internet, Ireland, Italy, James Cameron, Japan, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Journalism, Kevin Costner, language, Lgbt, Life, Literary Agents, Literature, long story, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Manners, Mark Wahlberg, Marketing, Matt Damon, Media, Medicine, Memior, Men, montreal, Moscow, Motivation, Movie, Movies, Music, NBC news, networking, neuroscience, New York City, New Zealand, News, Norway, Phillippines, Pitt Bull, Politics, Postaday, publishers, Publishing, Reading, Religion, San Francisco, shortstory, Social Media, Spain, Spirituality, Starbuck, storytelling, Sweden, Television, The new york times, Tourism, Travel, truth& Rumors, Turkey, Uncategorized, unresolved grief, wall street journal, Weekday, Weekend, Wine, Women, Work, Writing | 1 Comment

I Flipped

DEA

I was in a crowded parking lot at Walmart on a typical-for-Miami, hot and humid day. As I opened my SUV to complete a drug deal, suddenly I was surrounded by seven unmarked cars with their silent, flashing lights, and just as many DEA agents pointed guns at my head.

“FREEZE DEA,” I heard someone say.

I froze. Then someone grabbed me from beyond and knocked me to the ground, his knee was pressed hard into my neck.

They put handcuffs on me and picked me up, all in one motion. I landed on my feet, but wavered.

All of this happened in about 30 seconds.

I was disoriented, in shock, still dazed, although reality was starting to set in.

In waves, thoughts moved through my mind, “This is not good. I’m in deep shit.” And then, “Who did this to me?”

They took me in the back of a car to a grey building with a high chainlink fence with barbed-wire circles on top.

No one said a word to me as they led me to a very small room, the size of a bathroom. My thoughts were now about what my children would think of me and if I would ever see them again.

There’s a saying that no one is sorry until they get caught. And that’s true. But by then, sorry is too little, and much too late.

After emptying my pockets, taking pictures, and then leaving me alone in the holding cell for a while, I was eventually taken to a small conference room where agents David and Johnny were waiting.

Johnny, who eventually became my handler, never said a word during that first meeting.

David said, “You’re in a big trouble. It’s best that you cooperate. We know about you!”

I knew I was big trouble, but I didn’t know what they knew, so I lied. I said that I was picking up the bag for a friend.

After listening awhile to my B.S., Special Agent Steven leaned in, “Listen, your window of opportunity is running out. You have a decision to make. You can cooperate or you can go to jail. It’s all up to you.”

In the background, I could hear the ringer of my phone.

In the short amount of time I’d had to think, I had figured it had to be Mano who’d set me up. And so, in that moment, I decided: If I was losing my freedom, so was he.

“You’ve got 60 seconds,” Special Agent Steven said.

In my memoir, The Baggage Handler, I tell the full story about how I flipped and became a confidential informant.

A special note and a request. As you know, I have spent much of my life swimming with sharks. I’m now almost done with the manuscript of The Baggage Handler, and I’m looking for a good home. I want a literary agent who’s great and honest and hard-working. Who sees the commercial value in this, yes, but just as importantly, appreciates what I’m trying to do and values that just as much. If you know of someone like that, I would be very grateful if you sent him or her my way or let me know. JJ

Posted in ABC news, Adverting, African American writers, Alarming, America, Ana Curry, Anderson Cooper, Argentina, Australia, Beauty, Blogging, books, Books Reviews, Brad Pitt, Brail, break the chain, Britain, Bruce Willis, California, Canada, Canadian Book, CBS news, Chicago, Childhood, China, Civil Rights, Clint Eastwood, CNN news, Coming Out, Cooking, craft, Crime, Crime/Drama, criticism, Culture, Current Events, DEA, Demographics, Denmark, Denver, Denzel Washington, Depression, Di Caprio, Drug Bust, Dwayne Johnson, Egypt, Ellen Degenenes, Emotion, England, English Literature, Entertainment, Ethics, Event, Faith, Fashion, FBI, Film, Filmmaking, Firstpost, Five-Minute-friday, Fox news, France, free=write-friday, Friday, George Clooney, Gerald Butler, Germany, Globalization, God, Grief, Growing Up, Happy Friday, Headlines, International Affairs, Internet, Ireland, Italy, James Cameron, Japan, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Journalism, Kevin Costner, language, Lgbt, Life, Literary Agents, Literature, long story, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Manners, Mark Wahlberg, Marketing, Matt Damon, Media, Medicine, Memior, Men, montreal, Moscow, Motivation, Movie, Movies, Music, NBC news, networking, neuroscience, New York City, New Zealand, News, Norway, Phillippines, Pitt Bull, Politics, Postaday, publishers, Publishing, Reading, Religion, San Francisco, shortstory, Social Media, Spain, Spirituality, Starbuck, storytelling, Sweden, Television, The new york times, Tourism, Travel, truth& Rumors, Turkey, Uncategorized, unresolved grief, wall street journal, Weekday, Weekend, Wine, Women, Work, Writing

“The Very Inspiring Blogger Award”

wpid-very-inspiring-blogger-award

Joseyphina, thank you for nominating me. I appreciate it very much. And I really believe that everyone on wordpress.com has something special and inspiring to say.

Life have given me a lot of valuable lessons, and these phrases are in my thoughts daily…

My actions caused me to lose everything that I love.

My reaction is to love everything that I can.

The Baggage Handler

Posted in Acceptanve, Actors, Adverting, Alarming, America, Ana Curry, Anderson Cooper, Argentina, Australia, Beauty, Blogging, books, Books Reviews, Brad Pitt, Brail, break the chain, Bruce Willis, California, Canada, Canadian Book, Chicago, Childhood, China, Civil Rights, Clint Eastwood, Coming Out, Cooking, craft, Crime, Crime/Drama, criticism, Culture, Current Events, Demographics, Denmark, Denver, Denzel Washington, Depression, Di Caprio, Drug Bust, Dwayne Johnson, Egypt, Ellen Degenenes, Emotion, England, English Literature, Entertainment, Ethics, Event, Faith, Fashion, Film, Filmmaking, France, George Clooney, Gerald Butler, Germany, Globalization, God, Grief, Growing Up, Headlines, International Affairs, Internet, Ireland, Italy, James Cameron, Japan, Journalism, Kevin Costner, language, Lgbt, Life, Literary Agents, Literature, long story, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Manners, Mark Wahlberg, Marketing, Matt Damon, Media, Medicine, Memior, Men, Moscow, Motivation, Movie, Movies, Music, networking, neuroscience, New York City, New Zealand, News, Norway, Phillippines, Pitt Bull, Politics, Publishing, Reading, Religion, San Francisco, shortstory, Social Media, Spain, Spirituality, Starbuck, storytelling, Sweden, Television, Tourism, Travel, truth& Rumors, Uncategorized, unresolved grief, Wine, Women, Work, Writing

We Broke the Chain

Breaking the Chain 0151br-logo-web

http://onebillionrising.org/livestream/entry/earlier-washington-square-park-new-york-city#.UR_K5Zg4I8I.email

“This is my favorite blog” I’ll be back next week JJ

One out of three women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime. There’s something terribly wrong with humanity!
Fact! We all come from women!
Fact! No means No!
Fact! Women are equal to Men!

A female friend of mine who knows that my daughter was raped recommended the “Break the Chain” dance, a worldwide event held on Valentine’s Day, inviting women and men to DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND an end to this violence. And what better day than the day of LOVE to do so. So I said YES! I am going to dance for my daughter!
The day my oldest daughter was born I felt something different inside of me. It’s as though I got a feminine side and became more aware and understood the female.

If my first-born is reading this blog, please know that I feel more love for you than even the day you were born. It’s an out-of-this-world kind of love. I don’t want you to hurt anymore, and I want you to let go of the pain you secretly carry because you’re not alone. And I want to let go of the anger and guilt that I have been carrying for years and finally heal as well.

At the event, the smiles and energy of those beautiful and fearless women were inspiring. They stood up for themselves and their sisters around the world.

As a father and a victim of abuse myself, I know that each one of those women went through hell. And I saw my daughter in every one of them. They gave me hope and they made their point that nothing is going to keep them down.

When we all started to dance, sing and cheer to the “break the chain” song, we all became “ONE,” lifting our soul to be healed and to create a better life.

It was so moving and powerful that we all danced again!

As I was leaving, I was interviewed for the documentary that’s being made about the event, “She’s Beautiful BUT she’s Angry.” I usually get nervous doing that kind of thing, but I didn’t. My heart did all of talking!

Special Note: My daughter is earning her master’s degree this coming May and has been accepted to Harvard to do her doctorate. I’m very proud of her. She broke the chain!

Posted in Acceptanve, Actors, Adverting, Alarming, America, Ana Curry, Anderson Cooper, Argentina, Australia, Beauty, books, Books Reviews, Brad Pitt, Brail, break the chain, Bruce Willis, California, Canada, Canadian Book, Chicago, Childhood, China, Civil Rights, Clint Eastwood, Coming Out, Cooking, craft, Crime, Crime/Drama, criticism, Culture, Current Events, Demographics, Denmark, Denver, Denzel Washington, Depression, Di Caprio, Drug Bust, Dwayne Johnson, Egypt, Ellen Degenenes, Emotion, England, English Literature, Entertainment, Ethics, Event, Faith, Fashion, Film, Filmmaking, France, George Clooney, Gerald Butler, Germany, Globalization, God, Grief, Growing Up, Headlines, International Affairs, Internet, Ireland, Italy, James Cameron, Japan, Journalism, Kevin Costner, language, Lgbt, Life, Literature, long story, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Manners, Mark Wahlberg, Marketing, Matt Damon, Media, Medicine, Memior, Men, Moscow, Motivation, Movie, Movies, Music, networking, neuroscience, New York City, New Zealand, News, Norway, Phillippines, Pitt Bull, Politics, Publishing, Reading, Religion, San Francisco, shortstory, Social Media, Spain, Spirituality, Starbuck, storytelling, Sweden, Television, Tourism, Travel, truth& Rumors, Uncategorized, unresolved grief, Wine, Women, Work, Writing | 47 Comments

” The Interesting Blog Award “

interesting-blog-award

First, let me thank Katie Sullivan : http://wp.me/p3oWn1-3V for nominating me for The Interesting Blog Award. As a follower of her blog, I definitely see why she was nominated, and I’m honored she finds my blog interesting as well.

For this award, I’m supposed to list five random facts about myself, nominate five other blogs, answer five questions and then ask five questions of my nominees. Here we go!

Here are my five very interesting nominees:

1 straightthroughmyeyes.wordpress.com

2 bookblog.wambui-bahati.com

3 factorymaid.wordpress.com

4 lateralloveraustralia.com

5 brunchforeverymeal.com

And here are the five random facts about myself:

1. My favorite dessert is a piece of carrot cake with a mountain of whipped cream on top. It’s a very rare treat, since I’ve lost 60 pounds over the past six months!

2. I’m very romantic. And single….

3. I like to sleep with socks on since I get cold feet.

4. I’m in the best shape of my life. (See #1 above!)

5. Music is my serenity. It keeps me going….

Now, answering Katie Sullivan’s questions:

1.What’s your all time favorite movie?

“A Walk to Remember” starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. I would love to witness a miracle or be one!

2. Who’s your favorite Author?

Cynthia Lamb. She wrote Brigid’s Charge, which is a novel about her ancestor who was accused of birthing the Jersey Devil. The imagination and the facts are so real it’s amazing. She’s a great storyteller. And this book is way better than the Twilight series, in my opinion.

3. Who is your favorite character, can be from a book, movie, or TV?

Robin Williams in the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire.” I loved the scene where Robin, as Mrs. Doubtfire, throws an orange at Pierce Brosnan’s head. With a straight face and in her high-pitched, crackly voice, she says, “Oh, no, it looks like a drive-by fruiting.”

4. White chocolate or dark chocolate. I’m not a chocolate lover, but if I had to choose, it would be white chocolate because it’s easier on my stomach. Dark is too rich for me. But I still would eat a chocolate-covered strawberry.

5. If you could do one thing without any repercussion, what would it be?

I live in the City so…park my damn car wherever I damn well want!

Now, I have to ask five questions for my nominees to answer. I’m going to have fun with this.

1. Someone special to your heart has shown up out of the blue and they’re very hungry.

All you have are 3 eggs that have been in your fridge for 2 months, one plain yogurt and a can of corn. What would you prepare?

2. You’re walking and accidentally knock over a dozen Hell’s Angels motorcycles. They are not happy with you! What would you do?

3. What was your worst job ever? And why?

4. Tell something about yourself that only a couple of people know?

5. What’s the worst gift you have gotten? And from whom?

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Santeria

Santeria-Animal-Sacrificesanteria 2santeria 1

First and foremost, I respect all religions. What I’m revealing today is only about my own experience. I’m not saying it’s everyone’s experience.

My father, like many Cubans, practiced Santeria, which has its roots in Yoruba, a religion that slaves brought from Africa. Because they weren’t allowed to practice their religion, it was hidden behind, and eventually influenced by, Roman Catholism. However, in my many homes growing up, there were no signs of the Christianity. No Bibles or pictures of Jesus.

There were, though, many symbols of Santeria. In the kitchen on top of the cabinets were vases and jars full of sugar, honey and coins, to bring in money. Behind the front door were a brown coconut with a cigar half smoked and an expresso coffee cup on a plate. (I have no idea why.)

In the freezer next to the food were coffee cans that had little pieces of paper with names written on them. When I asked my father about the cans in the freezer, he said, “Those individuals are being cooled down.”

My father was a career criminal and I guess he needed all the help he could get.

As I was connecting to the Colombia cartels, I knew the consequences would be great if I got caught. I didn’t have a crystal ball per se, but I had Maria.

She was pretty famous tarot reader in Miami with a background in Santeria. Her claim was that she could prevent or fix any problem, and her client list included an executive secretary from the White House, whom I met, lawyers, doctors, high ranking Miami city officials, and, she said, priests. She also saw a number of drug dealers.

Drug dealers all have the same problem: “I want it Now!” They’re impatient, always looking for short cuts, and that’s what Maria seemed to promise. Whether the client wanted LOVE, MONEY, a JOB, or help with a LEGAL PROBLEM, she could get it for them, she said. But as I learned the hard way, short cuts don’t work.

I saw Maria a few times and she always told me that my road was clear but that a tall women with long brown hair would get me into trouble, so stay away from her. Then she gave me a protector to always carry with me.

Since The Golden Rules that Pedro taught me said don’t do drug business with women, I thought I was in the clear on that. But desperate circumstances got the better of me, and it was a female confidential informant who brought me down.

The complete story of my experiences with Santeria and getting busted will be in my forthcoming memoir.

P.S. My own beliefs have always been Christian. As soon as I could drive a car, I went to church to open that channel with the Lord because I knew in my heart it was the right place for me to be.

Posted in Acceptanve, Actors, Adverting, Alarming, America, Ana Curry, Anderson Cooper, Australia, Beauty, Blogging, books, Books Reviews, Brad Pitt, Brail, break the chain, Bruce Willis, California, Canada, Canadian Book, Chicago, Childhood, China, Civil Rights, Clint Eastwood, Coming Out, Cooking, craft, Crime, Crime/Drama, criticism, Culture, Current Events, Demographics, Denmark, Denver, Denzel Washington, Depression, Di Caprio, Drug Bust, Dwayne Johnson, Egypt, Emotion, England, English Literature, Entertainment, Ethics, Event, Faith, Fashion, Film, Filmmaking, France, George Clooney, Gerald Butler, Germany, Globalization, God, Grief, Growing Up, Headlines, International Affairs, Internet, Ireland, Italy, James Cameron, Japan, Journalism, Kevin Costner, language, Lgbt, Life, Literature, long story, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Manners, Mark Wahlberg, Marketing, Matt Damon, Media, Medicine, Memior, Men, Moscow, Motivation, Movie, Movies, Music, networking, neuroscience, New York City, New Zealand, News, Norway, Phillippines, Pitt Bull, Politics, Publishing, Reading, Religion, San Francisco, shortstory, Social Media, Spain, Spirituality, Starbuck, storytelling, Sweden, Television, Tourism, Travel, truth& Rumors, Uncategorized, unresolved grief, Wine, Women, Work, Writing | 19 Comments