“Roads to Addiction – Highways to Recovery: The Brian Masters Story” available on Amazon

Roads have one to two lanes – there are two to six or more lanes in a highway.

Many call this the Multiple Path to recovery. If you choose the one or two lane approach to improving your quality of life, it’s probable  that you may neglect other proven avenues to recovery and still have to live with the stigma of addiction. Facing the personal issues that brought you into the subculture of substance use could expose hurt and provide of  hope. By facing the reality of what happened or what is happening, you can concentrate on the lanes that will take you out of your current situation.

My book, Roads to Addiction, Highways to Recovery describes three phases of my life that brought me into the subculture of substance use and out of it. In phase three, I discuss eleven actions that I worked through. During that time, I was able to step back and see what had taken place. I faced the reality of my life by writing about it, which any of us can do through journals.  I became educated about addiction and depression. I found that to really move forward on a highway to a better life, actions must be taken. When you read phase three carefully, you will be able to see the eleven actions I took and the impact of those actions on my life.

As I was learning about addiction and recovery, I discovered that the eleven actions plans which move me up and out of the subcuture. Those actions complemented existing work by William White’s Recovery Capital concepts. Recovery Capital was discussed in detail in my last two blogs. In review, the Recovery Capital Scale includes thirty-five statements that a person serious about recovery must answer.  The statements quantify which life changing events are strong and those that are weak. The lower scored statements expose the weak areas of how you manage your life. Once you’ve assessed your weak areas, if you are truly committed, you can develop action plans to address those weaknesses and increase your score. White and his colleague Dr. David Best conducted a statistical analysis of the scores of people who completed the assessment.  Their results show that people who increase their score are able to better their life, motivate to recovery, are able to address stigma, and ultimately move out of the subculture.

If you want to learn more about the, real life, eleven action plans I developed that helped me build and use my recovery capital, you can buy the book, Roads to Recovery, Highways to Recovery: The Brian Masters Story through Amazon.  Follow this blog as well.  Future posts will introduce the key factors of each phase of my recovery.

My hope is that you can identify with the negative life events I have been through and see how my action plans actually worked.

Brian

Recovery Capital Scale Real Life Successes – Use the Scale Monthly and Yearly

This is the second blog on Recovery Capital and the Recovery Capital Scale (RCS). I followed the instructions I laid out in the last post with a sample of 3 individuals who I know from the streets who agreed to share their personnel scale scores from the beginning of Addiction to A Better Quality of Life; Normalcy.

Categorizing the Scale Ratings: The individual’s answers to William White’s Recovery Capital Scale were matched to the Categories of Assets to initiate and sustain recovery from alcohol and other drug problems. I matched the numbers from the individual’s answers to statements to the KEY NUMBERS under the Category of Assets to the MASTER KEY NUMBERS from White’s scale pertaining to that category. Each person’s scale statement numbers are broken out under “Lowest and Highest.” When each person answered the Capital Scale they used 1 to 5 with 3 falling under the low number column. See The Capital Recovery Scale Evaluation and Next Steps.

If you are doing this, once you have placed the numbers under the Lowest and Highest columns, you will divide the lowest numbers in that category by the Master Category Key Numbers total of the category. The result will be the PERCENTAGE of NEED. If you are  just beginning your path to recovery, normally, the PERCENTAGE OF NEED percentages should be high. You should then concentrate on the high percentage statement on White’s statement sheet to move toward recovery.

Key Benefit: Once  you have categorized the RCS questions, you will be able to easily focus on “specific” assets.

Here are the categories and Master Category Key Numbers from the Recovery Capital scale:

  • Financial – Questions 1, 9, 10  Total is 3
  • Transportation – Question 2   Total is 1
  • Environment/Housing/Clothing – Questions 3, 4, 19, 26  Total is 4
  • Support – Questions 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 31   Total is 10
  • Medical/Health – Questions 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 17, 18   Total is 7
  • Self Motivation/Confidence/Plan – Questions 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35   Total is 10

Total number of Statements to answer is 35

Volunteers’ EARLY RECOVERY answers to the statements:
(Remember, these are the numbers of real people I know from the recovery community)

Person:                                             1                                      2

Category                             Lowest Key #/%           Lowest Key#/%

  • Financial                      1,9,10 / 100%                  10,9 / 67%
  • Transportation            2   / 100%                      2 / 100%
  • Environment      3,4,19,26/  100%                      4,12,26 / 75%
  • Medical/Health  12,13,14,15,16/ 71%        12,13,15,16,17 / 71%
  • Self Motivation   25,29,33,34,35 / 50%     25,27,28,29,30,
  •                                                                       32,33,34,35 / 90%
  • Support         5,8,22,23,31/50%    5,6,7,11,20,21,22 / 70%

Person:                                            3

Category                             Lowest Key #/%

  • Financial                1,9,10 / 100%
  • Transportation            0 / 0%
  • Environment         4,26 / 50%
  • Medical/Health   2,13,14,16,17 / 71%
  • Self Motivation    25,27,28,29,30,32,33,34,35 / 90%
  • Support                 1,20,21,22,23,30 / 90%

Questions: What does breaking the Lowest Score tell us? How does it help?

Answer: Assuming a Case Manager is working with an individual, we now know “each” statement that can be looked at with the highest percentage of concerns. These are concerns that need to be addressed with the case manager. For each statement that is acted on, the higher the individual will progress on the Recovery Capital Scale. Additionally, by improving the rating on any given statement, there may be a contributing effect on other categories. For example, by creating workable Transportation, an individual may get a job and hold it, thus improving the Financial and Self Motivation Categories. The Recovery Capital Scale can be a valuable tool to recovery and a better quality of life.

The volunteers’ LATER TIME OF RECOVERY answers to the statements:
Person:                                             1                                     2

Category                             Lowest Key #/%           Lowest Key#/%

  • Financial                      9  / 33%                           1  / 33%
  • Transportation            0 / 0%                             2 / 100%
  • Environment                3,4/  50%                       0 / 0%
  • Medical/Health            12,14 / 29%               13,15,18,17 / 40%
  • Self Motivation               25  / 10%                     29 / 10%
  • Support                       5,22/20%                           5,22,31 / 30%

Person:                                           3

Category                              Lowest Key #/%

  • Financial                       0 / 0%
  • Transportation            0 / 0%
  • Environment                0/ 0%
  • Medical/Health         12/ 14%
  • Self Motivation           0 / 0
  • Support                         0 / 0%

Questions:  What does breaking out the Lowest Score tell us? How does it help?

Answer: These people have put addiction away; person 1 has not used for 2 years, person 2 for 4 years, and person 3 for 7 years. By working with Recovery Capital (Assets), their percentage of the weak quality of life was turned around to become a strong foundation. Each month and year they measured themselves, which created positive reinforcement of their Action Plan.

As promised, A-R-E blogs about real life. I really hope you will investigate and work the RCS. As with the real people in our sample, it measured and supported actions in the right direction.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

 

The Recovery Capital Scale will Provide Hope to Anyone with the Addiction Disease!

There is a question everyone should ask themselves: “Do I want to shake off my circumstance(s) (Disease/Addictions) and have a good chance at a positive “Quality of Life”?

In my case, I have written about three life changing events:

  • Emotional trauma: a very difficult divorce after 23 years of marriage.
  • Physical trauma: an attack on my life leading to a diagnosis of Situational Anxiety
  • Medical trauma: an infection from a spinal operation leading to induced comas and lifelong pain and disability.

For more information about these events and the start of this blog, read, About the Author and His Intent

I purposely have written about my life experiences because just one of these three events could lead anyone to some form of addiction or substance use. But once substance use and its causes are exposed, how do you work your way back to being normal and happy.

The following approaches will provide a start to the answer!

  1. Recovery Capital and using the Recovery Capital Scale by William White and William Cloud: Simply, just like financial capital, the Capital in Recovery Capital are the assets and resources you use to improve your Quality of Life and Normalcy. By examining one’s self with honest answers to the scale’s 35 questions, you will discover the strengths and weaknesses of your situation. When you discover the activities in your life that are weak, you can create and implement action plans to correct them or improve your “scale score”. This works! See The Capital Recovery Scale Evaluation and Next Steps by William White for more information.
  2. 11 Action Items to “create a Beach Head” to Normalcy: By combining as many of the 11 action items you feel capable of handling, you will create a foothold in your life so you can plan and move toward a better Quality of Life. I detailed these in the 11 Action Items to create a Recovery Beach Head post. I found a strong parallel between A-R-E’s Beach Head and the Recovery Capital Scale.

CRITICAL ADDICTION QUESTION: How can we motivate a substance user to investigate the two concepts? How can we help someone truthfully understand what White and Cloud are saying, which is, work the Scale, acknowledge critical areas, and plan a path for improvement? 

ANSWER:  I will start by creating simple categories from the questions in the Capital Recovery Scale. The individual will answer the questions on the Recovery Capital Scale (RCS) as truthfully as possible. We then match up the “lowest” and the “highest” numbers to the category KEY QUESTION NUMBERS from the RCS, which are under the category name; we will use a scale of 1 to 5; 3 will be in the lowest column.  The result will be a clear view of the quantity and content of the questions NEEDED TO BE ADDRESS. The individual needs to work on those areas in life which can help him or her.

This will be in this blog. In the next blog, I will relate successes.

Provide the User with a High Level View of Critical Personal Areas to Normalcy:

  1. High Level View of Critical Personal Areas in The Recovery Scale: We can create interest by organizing the thirty-five questions into easily understood “Categories” that a person on the street deals with everyday. Each category corresponds to the group of questions in the scale relevant to that category. Once the user answers the questions, we list the questions in that category as either lowest or highest: rating 3 sometimes goes into the lowest column. If the category has a large number of highly rated questions, it has been or is being positively addressed by the user. Should the category have high number of low rated questions, the category has not been achieved or needs to be addressed by the user. This means that the category needs more action items and planning to improve the probability of a better quality of life and normalcy.

The Categories and the Relevant Recovery Capital Scale Questions:

  • Financial – Questions 1, 9, 10  Total is 3
  • Transportation – Question 2   Total is 1
  • Environment/Housing/Clothing – Questions 3, 4, 19, 26  Total is 4
  • Support – Questions 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 31   Total is 10
  • Medical/Health – Questions 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 17, 18   Total is 7
  • Self Motivation/Confidence/Plan – Questions 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35   Total is 10

The overall objective of this exercise is to show the overlap of “low scores” in the Capital Scale. A person with an addiction can then create and implement a plan in order to achieve higher scores in the Recovery Capital Scale. This will lead to a chance at regaining a better quality of life, that a person with an addiction had thought was lost.

Note: In the next blog post I will take actual “before” and “after” Recovery Capital Scale scores and apply them to the six Categories so we can see results.

The Scale: The Capital Recovery Scale and Plans

The 11 Action Items: 11 Action Items to create a Recovery Beach Head

NO MATTER WHAT, both concepts, must be followed up with an Action Plan/To Do List to improve your score and most importantly TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE. Based on the history of the people I have met in my discussion groups and individually, if the questions and categories are planned and executed to the positive, you will succeed. You will have HOPE!

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

 

Thank You- Say It – It is a Must if have you Been Touched by the Addiction-Reality-Education Blogs

The things I’m writing about in this post are simple things, so expected, so routine, and yet what so many think of as a “privilege!” Each one of us would cry out to the government(s), to the state, to our friends and neighbors if we were deprived just these simple “happenings” we do most everyday.

Now let’s get real–that is what this blog is all about. Should you read our website for the first time or if you have been following it from the start, I (Brian Masters) and my editor (Dr. Virginia Dwyer), have pointed out the reality of the Subculture. This blog has included real stories about the people, the hardships, education that can help, those that can help, and action items that can provide a step in the right direction. I thank everyday and the entity/energy with me and/or in me. So, I want to say thanks.

Thank you for:

  • being able to take a hot shower, in privacy, and relieving the pain. Not having, anymore, to be in a shelter/house where I had to straddle my legs so not to walk in the urine and feces of others before me.
  • having a place to dress by myself and not in a car where others can walk by, especially the police or an employer. Where dressing, two feet away is another man, watching me and others watching him.
  • having a meal of my choice, hot or cold, in front of me. Made or bought by me. A meal of my choice. Just a meal in front of me.
  • being able to get behind a wheel for an auto, so I can drive for food, drink, to help others, a job, and to see friends. That I am not walking on the streets of a town I had no idea existed 10 years before while carrying a backpack of 10 to 20 pounds while my legs and spine spike with pain at their whim.
  • having the ability to speak and laugh again without fear that another in the shelters, houses, or illegal campground will take illogical offense and challenge me to a fight I can not win. To not fake the short sentences or no speech at all, in order to fit in and not stand out.
  • the chance to breath fresh air and not that of a hospital or chorine used to clean the germs of 10 others.
  • a shot in my life of the 11 Action Items that are a must that I have seen. These action items literally save others and put me in a better place.

Note: These thank you’s are fact not fiction. They are from not only my experience but from others I see when I volunteer to provide food, shelter, and pay bills for a society created to help those in need, like me two years ago.

It only takes a second to say Thank You when I look at my plate, my ride, my privacy to dress alone with the clothes I bought. Every day I think of my long-time friend laughing at me at the table of his friend and family, saying, “Are you praying?” Or getting out of the car and standing for just a second, as the spine and leg pain subside, and I can breath the air, all the while the passenger or friend saying, “Come on, hurry up, get your nose out of the sky.” These moments reinforce me every day. Fortunately, these people who laugh or hurry me have no clue what it’s like to go without food for days or eating raisins that only cost a dollar at the CVS. They have no clue what standing and smelling air after a rain is like while you grab the backpack that you once carried for those miles of pain; we who have pray that you or they never do.

The simple things. These are the simple things that I will remember every day for the rest of my life, and my bond with those who either say it themselves and/or are acting on the 11 Action Items that change a life. We can’t care if a friend laughs at us or people single us out; it is a Stigma that will never go away.  We have to adapt or die.

Just smile and be happy that you can.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

See the Visual Effects on the Brain from Substance Use and Trama-Do you have the guts?

Do you have the guts to actually view the newest SPECT’s of the brain from:

  • Substance Use
  • Trama
  • BiPolar Disorder
  • PMS
  • PTSD
  • and more?

One of the partners of Addiction-Reality-Education (A-R-E) is the Amen Clinic. I was sent their latest views of a normal brain compared to a brain affected by different outside factors. The most common factors for the population would be Alcohol, Marijuana, PMS, PTSD, Meth, Trama, etc..

See Views of the Brain by Use and Events on the Amen Clinic website.

What brought me to create http://www.addictionrealityeducation.com, with the assistance of Dr. Virginia Dwyer, was to understand why I experienced two years of lack of cognitive reasoning and control. Was the catalyst for substance use the multiple hits in the head by a man wanting me dead during my divorce in 2007/08 (diagnosis – Situational Anxiety/form of PTSD) or in 2011, the 2 induced coma’s and 3 blood transfusions by the hospital, to keep my body alive, while they attempted to attack the infection they gave me. These actual events, the people, and information are written in the blog posts and a book to be published soon.

Note: I point these events out strictly to draw attention to the fact other readers can identify from their own circumstances. Example: concussions, PTSD, anxiety, coma, etc. Now, my motivation with http://www.addictionrealityeducation.com and The Book is to help people understand, modify, and abstain through reality and education.

Sample from the website:

A brain affected by marijuana use.  Image from Alcohol and Drug Abuse | Amen Clinics
There is quite a bit of scientific literature about the harmful physiological effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain. 

A HEALTHY BRAIN: On SPECT, the surface of a healthy brain looks smooth with full and symmetrical blood flow and activity. This tells us that the brain is working the way it is supposed to.  A brain like the one shown in the picture has lower blood flow in key areas. This tells us something is wrong.

Note: Dr. Amen’s site illustrates that abstinence from outside factors or therapy will reverse the damage. For more information, see my post, Abstinence after one year

This post allows me to take what I experienced on the street and education from others like Dr. Barbara Mason, and Dr. Amen Amen’s Brain SPECT to address what I pledged to do: “Someone needs to let people know what is going on out here, before it happens to them;” and “No one would believe what I have been through!”

Well, take a look! I grew up in the era of the counter-culture generation and free speech. Now technology allows us the luxury seeing a whole new world of the brain. Users, parents, teachers, friends, partners, and leaders take a look and share it. Then you can develop your own consensus about substance use, discuss this topic, debate, and argue.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

Stigma from the Dinner Table – Passing on Beliefs and Perceptions

Note: The definition of “Generation” – Dictionary.com:

1. The entire body of individuals born and living at about the same time: the postwar generation.

2. A group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc. Compare Beat Generation, Lost Generation.

3. A group of individuals belonging to a specific category at the same time: Chaplin belonged to the generation of silent-screen stars.

The titles of Generations have changed over the years. My generation was the “Nuclear Generation.” It was the generation that did not stay in one place and did not live in the town or city we grew up in. I have lost track of the newer names, but we have come to the point where they complete in game shows on the TV and Web.

Yet, there are family/friend/partner rituals that still exist. One ritual is eating and drinking around the living room, kitchen-island, or dinner table. That creates “The Dinner Table Conversations”. If we are fortunate, information and knowledge is exchanged and everyone goes away happy. One constant during those gathering is talking about other people–someone in the family, world events, neighborhood, partners, business, etc. Another constant is talking about someone’s activities and/or behaviors that affected that person’s fate or someone else’s life. As a result, a Stigma about that person is created. Good or bad, the Stigma’s attitude moves to people in the room, one person to another.

I now am able to move about freely with my legs, spine, and car. This new freedom allows me to see more family and old friends, volunteer in organizations that help those in need, and work at organizations assisting those suffering with Substance Disease.

I have been able to attend many gatherings over the last six months. From my own interaction and watching those of others, I have observed a very high correlation between the dinner table conversation; those who see the positive about Stigma and those who draw the negative or a feeling of superiority. My Stigma was created by loss of health, financial insecurity, and over use of a substance.

First Observation: The conclusions I have drawn come from comments made to me about my known circumstances and those who have confided in me about their experiences. These include comments such as,

  • “What are you doing here”
  • “You look great and I hear everything is good”
  • “I told you not to invite him”
  • “I and the whole family are proud of you”
  • and many more.

Many comments and behaviors (handshakes, slap on the back, smiles, hateful looks, no look at all) have been positive:

  1. either the offspring, neighbor, partner etc. sees the positive outcomes of improvements
  2. or they hope, pray, and come up with solutions and next steps.

The people at the dinner table can generate an environment of good things happening and have positive discussions. These include comments like, “you have come a long way in a short time” or “isn’t it wonderful about him or her”.

But rest assured, that dinner table discussion can do damage beyond mending; for example, the look of disgust or even hate is seen, especially from the young who listened to the adults. Worst of all is “no eye contact, no hand shake, and no speech at all”! These people have absorbed and integrated other’s perceptions and assigned Stigma!

Dinner Table Conclusion: Remember, what we say is always heard by those near by. It is not that those at the table are noisy, it is that they believe what you are saying by listening. Especially, if you are being uncaring about the people you talk about.

Stigma can go both ways. Lets make Stigma be positive. Someone’s life could depend on it.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

 

11 Action Plans for Recovery – A New Quality of Life

While still being homeless, I have been able to become sober, in control of my life, and off the street. This has provided me time to work with men and women at recovery centers and research the combinations of individual actions for success. By no means does this blog boast of solutions! It is meant for you to create “Action Plans,” which, in any combination, will establish a “Beach Head” so you can move into a new quality of life.

Note: I was at an  men’s AA meeting in October of 2016, which requires reading aloud part or all of a story from The Big Book. At the end of a story entitled, “Safe Haven”, the writer made a comment that struck me hard. I now quote it often and use it as a motto for moving forward. I have modified the comment so that AA is not the only solution for humans stricken with the disease of addiction. The comment can be found on page 457 of The Big Book.

“I’ve realized that I cannot go back and make a brand-new start. But I can start from now and make a brand-new end”.

To advise a path for that “brand-new end,” AA, SMART RECOVERY, Yale University Medical School Research, William White, and others have documented their suggestions. I have combined these ideas and my experiences into 11 Action Plans; These actions are to assist you to create a “foundation”, a “Beach Head” in which you can move forward an create a new quality of life. Each plan requires its own breakdown of “who, what, where, and when.” They are:

  1. 90 days of mandatory or self-committed institutionalization. This allows The brain to reset itself.
  2. 90 days of classes, meetings, and online recovery websites without any substance use other than doctor prescribed meds.
  3. Reliable and consistent transporation.
  4. Engage close friends and family for support. This is over and above a sponsor.
  5. Remove yourself from the town, city, state, friends, and family that trigger substance use.
  6. Separate yourself from all those who use inconsistent and/or unsupported path until you are self-assured that sobriety has returned.
  7. With the support of a physician, experiment with Gabapentin and other medications to block USE receptors.
  8. Create and implement a “Financial Support Plan”; a budget you can live on. It is best, that in the beginning, that you are not in control of the money until you are self-assured the money is not used for substance use.
  9. Find housing with substance free family, friends, or housing organizations.
  10. Work and/or volunteer in substance free organizations and/or turn to a Higher Power for understanding(s).
  11. Understand life’s “triggers” and learn “reverse trigger” therapy to neutralize the pain and memories that might keep you trapped in past behaviors.

If you combine any of the above actions that work for you, then you have a chance for a better quality of life in the future. When that happens, this blog, “Addiction-Reality-Education” has achieved its goal.

Even better, send in your comments about modifications and additions to these 11 Action Plans which will create thought and discussion.

Smile Every Day,

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

A Tribute to the Police from a Homeless Man – Rescued from Sub-Zero Wind Chill

Should you be on the street, in a shelter, or in a transitional house, you are, “technically”, Homeless. One well-known fact is that the law is part of your life. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. These 2 posts are dedicated to the police officers who have it in their hearts to understand The Homeless. The posts are in 2 parts; post 1 – The Rain Nor’ester and post 2 – Rescued from Sub-Zero Wind Chill. The officers listened and took action. Their decisions, maybe, saved a life and helped a homeless man who had been wronged by organizations funded to help!

An Objective Question: Brian, you were white, had all your teeth, and you spoke good English. Where you treated differently by the police because of this?

The answer: As in any area you have to consider the demographics. Within the 128 belt of Massachusetts, there are a great majority of mixed races and cultures. When I was within the 128 belt, the cops did not care but race could have been a factor. Quincy is mostly white and tough, so race meant nothing; in my opinion. Outside the 128 belt, objectivity is town by town. Either way, the police saw a wrong and made it right. All the others in the 2 shelters of Blog 1 and 2, would have been treated the same. Now the store owners in the area hated us. Justifiably, because some street people smelled, swore in front of kids, were rude, and pushed customers away. The background check they ran on me (no problems) and the suit case was a factor. 

Note: The reality of being on the street is that the daily objective is staying alive. I had not been using alcohol or drugs and in my mind, I was in control. I was just trying to get through the night without getting sick, beat up, robbed, or arrested. The events are true and comments are taken directly from the police reports.

In this post, the Police officer’s options were:

  1. Send me to the hospital to have my head stitched and arrest me for homelessness.
  2. Send me to the hospital to have my head stitched and then “do what they did, which would make anyone cheer”.

Episode Two: In January of 2015, I had no housing alternatives available to me, so I turned to shelters south of the City of Boston. I called Tom’s, located in a city south of Boston Ma and they had space available. Mike Garrison drove me to Tom’s for the Shelter Intake and Acceptance. Once I was given a thumbs up, Mike left for home.

Note: When you are accepted into a shelter in Massachusetts, each individual has to go by the rules. One standard rule is that the homeless must leave the shelter by 8 am and must return at 7 pm. If you are late, you lose the bed or mat. This varies from shelter to shelter.

Mike Garrison, my friend, had given me some pocket money for food, so I went to McDonald’s 2 blocks from the shelter. When I returned to the shelter the entrance was locked. I knocked on the front door and a staff member came and yelled through the glass that it was after curfew. By the time I yelled back that I had no where to stay, he was walking away.

What to do? With nowhere to go, I wandered the area for bushes or trees to sleep behind. The ocean winds were coming west and the force of the wind sent the temperature below zero. On top of that, I was dressed for warmer weather.

I wandered into an area that had a pickup truck. Since the back was empty, I thought it might cut the wind down enough to sleep. At that point, a few men approached with only one intent, my suitcase and money. After throwing the bag in the truck and a short fight, I was down but they were gone. I retrieved the suitcase, and while leaving the truck, three patrol cars pulled around the truck, my bag, my broken glasses, the gash on my forehead, and me.

While I searched for the lens from my glasses, blood fell on my hands, frames, sneakers, and jeans. The officer’s report states, “Fallon Notified, By the Pumps, Transport to QH. Person(s), Brian Masters, Homeless.

The Hospital: While having my head stitched, the officers asked why I was wandering around, at night, in the dark, in the cold, and with a suitcase? I told the officers of being accepted and then locked out of the shelter. The officer went away for a short while and came back after the ER physician finished stitching me up.

Action taken: The officer informed me that I would be transported to the shelter and not to be concerned. When I arrived at the shelter door, a staff member signed a document and escorted me to the cafeteria where a mat and blanket were waiting among scores of others homeless individuals.

Epilogue: I can only guess what was said by the policeman to the shelter personnel. I do know that the police made sure a homeless man, who could have had far worse consequences, was taken care of. Compassion, duty, experience, training, or all of the above? It did not matter; it was done.

Hats off to those men and women, January, 13th and 14th, 2015.

Oh, I have nicknamed the scar on my forehead, Captain Hook, since it is in the shape of a hook. What better when awarded in a ship city-Arrr.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

 

 

 

A Tribute to the Police from a Homeless Man – The Rain Nor’ester October, 2014

Should you be on the street, in a shelter, in a transitional house, you are, “technically”, Homeless. One well-known fact is that the law is part of your life. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. These 2 blogs are dedicated to the police officers who have it in their hearts to understand. The blogs are in 2 parts; blog 1 – The Rain Nor’ester and blog 2 – Sent Away in Sub-Zero Wind Chill. The officers listened, did not prejudge and took action which, maybe, saved a life and helped a homeless man who was wronged by organizations funded to help!

Note: The reality of being on the street is that the daily objective is staying alive. This post will focus on a homeless man who had no intention to use the system. I had not been using alcohol or drugs and my mind was in control. I was just trying to get through the night without getting sick, beat up, robbed, or arrested. The events are true and comments are taken directly from the police reports. The Police officer’s options were:

  1. Arrest me and put me in jail!
  2. Send me on my way and let me get sick in the rain, freeze to death, or wander as you see many people do!
  3. Do what they did!

Episode One: I had spent 7 weeks in a shelter for men in Marlborough, MA. The atmosphere was a good one and the men worked together the best they could. I was holding down 2 to 3 jobs in order to make my goal of $3,000 and move to an apartment. Unfortunately, there are people within the Subculture Subculture defined of the street who would rather see others fail and not succeed. Two young men entered the shelter and proceeded to make that happen by redirecting blame and breaking the rule – fights and trouble making.

To my bad luck, the shelter management believed their stories. That night, October 20th, 2014, between 10 pm and midnight, after doing a 6-hour shift, I was asked to leave the shelter with the clothes on my back, no meds and no transportation.

What to do? This was the night a Nor’ester rain storm was forecast. I walked to a hotel and asked for a room.

Police Report: On 10/20/14, I was called to the Embassy Suites for a male refusing to leave the property. He stated that he was homeless and looking for a free room. He made a statement that he wanted me to shoot him. He was placed under S12 and taken to Marlborough Hospital.

Note: The common questions asked by the police are, “Are you going to hurt yourself”, Ans. “No.” “Are you going to harm someone else.” Ans. “No. “Nothing we can do”. My comment, “Then shoot me.” “That was the answer”. I also told them where I came from and the jobs I held.

Result: I was placed in the safe environment for four days until the rain pasted. The doctors certified I was of sound mind. I was able to retrieve my car but lost my job by missing a shift. Four months later, the talk on the street was that the young men who caused me to have to leave the shelter were hiding. One was rearrested after leaving the shelter. I kept moving forward.

My opinion: The officers had choices. They could have arrested me or sent me on my way.  Instead, they helped me. These officers saved me from a lot of shame and suffering. Police can be Savoirs

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com

Once You Experienced It, in any way, Then you have an Understanding/Chance to Help

Note: I have not posted in over a month and I apologize. In the first few posts of 2015, I mentioned I would be writing a book. I said the book would contain my experiences (see About the Author and His Intent), the contents of my journals, descriptions of others’ experiences, and discussion about the Subculture, the Health System, and much more. Recently, I also have been working with a charitable society, helping people get back on their feet; this is the same charitable society that helped me, and now I am giving back. Time flew by, as they say. When I think about my work in the street, still being on the street, the political ads to save addicts, and my actual, introduction to the system as described in my journals, a common denominator came to light. This common denominator must be sent to the Political Engines and Money Organizations. I thought I would share it with you. 

The people that I have met in the last 4 months want to help people in need, and they will overextend themselves to do it. They are giving back! The phrase, “giving back” has infinite meanings but the simple explanation is “helping people.” These volunteers want  to change someone’s life for the better. A majority of the volunteers I have spoken with lost their money in the 2000’s, have had depression, have had a family member die from homelessness or drugs,…the descriptions drag on.

Note: “The past is real, the future is real but what is not real is what we are going to do about it!”

When I opened my journals to start the second section of the book, I was stunned at what I had written and experienced in June and July of 2014. I was a man, who had very specific needs that were explained in detail to the doctors and nurses before self-commitment; I was then locked in a ward of 14 people. Some were banging their heads against a wall, another was threatening to kill, two were individuals who had attempted suicide by jumping from a bridge and another by slicing his wrist, and others had other diverse problems. My need was detox and understanding depression in order to stop uncontrolled drinking.

Since we started the website, Addiction-Reality-Education, we have shared real medical solutions from people who have touched the symptoms and disease of substance abuse. Although their names have been changed, they still risk exposing their past and experiences in order to help. It is their experiences and contributions from the sciences that people will read or use. See The Real Purpose of A-R-E

Example: As the Yale Medical 90 Results show, 90 day mandatory or voluntary medical institutionalization for specific drug abuse problems, does work. But the horrendous inclusion of illnesses which can never be controlled, diagnosed, treated, and released within 15 to 30 days is a SICK health system and will not work.

What does this mean? There is no answer, but there is a fact.  Positive results for addiction treatment have come from those who have seen or touched the disease. Whether it has been from family, friends, their own illness that they recognize, or just unfortunate events in life, there are people who understand. These are the people who must advise the political and money organizations. These are the people who must be one level from the top and one level over the implementation of the solutions.

Mike Garrison and I were at Father Bill’s shelter in Quincy, Massachusetts the month Governor-elect Baker, visited. I slept on a mat in the dinning room, on a cold floor; I was lucky enough to be granted a bed among men who stole my shirt; I was lucky enough to walk into the shower with shit on the floor; I was lucky enough to catch Pneumonia and beg to be taken to Quincy Hospital; and I was lucky enough to watch a friend, Paul, sent out into one of the 2015 Nor’esters, with Spring clothes on, because he did not check his cell phone at the desk. I never saw Paul again. Gov.-elect Baker visits shelter

Organization heads who set directions and have the money, including the politicians who visit shelters (such as Governor Baker from Massachusetts and Governor Hassan of New Hampshire), do nothing unless they engage the people who have touched the reality of the street and the wards; not just talk and have pictures taken of beds with sheets and people who smell good. Only then will positive results from the millions of dollars spent be seen in this decade.

Massachusetts and New Hampshire are just two states in the United States; I’m sure you can easily see the same in you own states.

By publicizing the work of knowledgeable people through social media, these effective ideas may take root and show merit. Please help A-R-E do just that.

Brian Masters

brianmasters919@gmail.com