< Chapter 5:1 Chapter 5:3 >
Who knew that my voice would open so many doorways for me. I actually “fell” into being DJing by accident. I say that with a smile because it is my belief that nothing happens by accident. When I had quit working for Steve, I needed to find a way to generate cash quickly. I still had my connections with the jewelry dealers in Philadelphia so I decided to go back to selling jewelry in the go-go bars to make a living. But times were not the same as when I used to do it in Baltimore. Girls weren’t making the same money and in turn, they were not as concerned about the little “extras” as they used to be. I was talking to one of the club owners about how slow business was one afternoon, when he offered me a job DJing at his club. He needed someone 2 nights a week and was paying $25 per shift, plus tips. Not a lot of money, but I was in over my head financially, so I figured any extra money would help. I began to work at his club, got a job doing telemarketing, and continued to sell jewelry on my days off just to make ends meet.
I found out quickly that I had a natural ability when it came to being a DJ. Based on my voice and knowledge of music it was only a couple of months until I had competing clubs offering me twice as much money, and twice as many shifts if I would come and work for them. In less than 6 months I went from making less than $100 a week working as a DJ to making over $600 a week just from working in the clubs.
It was during this time that I met Angie. Angie would become my friend, fiancé, and first true experience in learning to trust my inner voice.
Angie and I met on the Internet. I can’t remember how, or where. I only remember that her screen name dealt with serenity, and I was drawn to her. We spoke at length through emails and on the phone before we finally decided to meet. And when we did, I ended up being completely infatuated with her. She was intelligent, attractive and seemed to be well grounded in where she was, and what she wanted out of life. One of the challenges in starting the relationship was that I didn’t realize it, but I was repeating a pattern of using her to fill another void that was beginning to happen in my life.
Paul and I had just been involved in two failed ventures in our business that led us to decide to put our company on the back burner and focus on salvaging what we could in our personal lives. I had taken out $10,000 in personal loans to fund a seminar that we did in Washington DC which lost money, and then within a couple of months, we got involved in one of the Woodstock anniversaries. Not the one that was all over MTV, but the smaller event that was held at the original site outside of Bethel, NY.
At our seminar in Washington, one of our featured speakers was Sid Bernstein. One of Sid’s most famous accomplishments was bringing the Beatles to America. He promoted shows and was involved in promoting the historical show that the Beatles did at Shea Stadium. While Paul and I were working with Sid on our seminar, we found out that he was putting together a festival to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, which he was calling “Bethel ‘94”. At the same time, other promoters were also putting together a Woodstock Anniversary Festival. This is the festival that most people remember from having seen it on MTV.
Years before, Sid had gotten the rights from Max Yasgur, the owner of the farm where the original Woodstock took place, to be able to have the anniversary festival at the original site, Yasgur’s Farm. Sid wasn’t looking for the big corporate sponsorship, and the major bands that the other festival was going after. His idea was to bring back some of the original artists who had performed at the original Woodstock and just have it be a quiet gathering to remember the event. He expected somewhere around 20,000 people, where as the other festival was looking to bring in 500,000 people or more.
When Sid spoke at our event in June, we had offered to do whatever we could do to help. Sid thanked us and said that everything was taken care of. We didn’t expect to hear his son's voice on the phone the day before the event asking if we were still looking to help.
The phone rang around noon. The turnout for “Bethel ‘94” was bigger than they expected. It was still 24 hours until show time, and there were already 10,000 people camped out at the farm. They needed a sound system, but had already spent their whole budget and couldn’t afford to rent any more equipment. They wanted to know if we could get them enough sound equipment to accommodate doing a concert for 30,000-40,000 people. We told them we would do what we could.
We worked all through the night calling everyone we knew, and within 14 hours, we had gotten 5 trucks in three different states loaded with enough equipment to handle doing a concert in a professional baseball stadium. Everything was being donated other than the cost of renting the trucks and the transportation expenses to get it there. We sat and waited for the call and fax that would commit that those expenses would be covered before we would give the order for our trucks to roll. From our last conversation with the team in Bethel, we learned that the crowd had already grown to about 40,000 people and the police were getting uneasy.
The phone rang around 4:30PM, but it was not the call we were expecting. Paul's voice cracked as he told me that police had set up roadblocks and were not going to let our trucks through. They were determined to shut the show down. The crowd had grown so much that it exceeded all expectations and there were now troubles with health officials and because of the size, the original permits for the festival were no longer valid. Sid’s son told us that two roadies had just been arrested for refusing to stop working on the stage and that his father and the rest of the team were leaving before they arrested anyone else.
Exhausted, Paul and I stood on the balcony looking out at the ocean. We looked at each other and all we could do was laugh. We had done it! We had pulled together what no one else was able to do. We had the trucks loaded and ready to roll, everything they needed, free of charge. And now we had to call all these great people and tell them to unload. Have you ever been so devastated that all you could do was laugh? That’s what it felt like. We had pulled off a miracle in 14 hours, and now, due to circumstances beyond our control, all that work was for nothing. Or was it? Since that day, whenever I come up against a tough situation, what an amazing reference I now have for my own abilities to work under pressure. I was starting to plant the seeds of understanding just how much potential I truly possessed.
As the business Paul and I had created was drawing to a close, I found myself reliving a pattern that wasn’t so healthy. I now was shifting focus to a new relationship. This time, it was my relationship with Angie. We had progressed quickly. Our first date was in mid-August, and by Thanksgiving we had moved in together. I was still battling my demons in regards to interacting with people in relationships. I had decided that I was going to truly commit to making this relationship work. Whenever I felt any doubts about what I was doing, I wrote it off to a fear of the unknown and pushed forward. Over the next 12 months, I would learn how truly important that “little inner voice” was. We started by living together in early November and by the end of December, we were engaged.
Angie was a single mother of two. She was attractive, intelligent and responsible. In all fairness to her, I have to say that I wasn’t ready for the kind of relationship we had. At least I wasn’t ready for it at the pace we were going. But rather than being true to my feelings, I ignored my own inner voice, and forged ahead.
I believe that in all of us, there is a voice. The one that some of us call our conscience, some call our guide. I like to call it my true self. And I have learned over the years that every time I got into trouble, I had ignored that voice within and did what I wanted to do anyways. This was the situation with Angie. I knew inside that we were moving too fast, but each time that little voice said to slow down, or that I wasn’t truly feeling the things I thought I was feeling, I would ignore it. I would write it off to being afraid of making a commitment and move forward anyway. What I ultimately learned, is that if you don’t examine what that voice is telling you, if you are not fully honest with yourself, you can never be honest with the other person.
The next 12 months were filled with highs and lows. As in any relationship, we had our differences. We had differences in regards to my daughter, my mother, my sobriety, her sons, her family, my working in the clubs; pretty much everything that was going on in our lives. Now I know that many people have problems, but at this point, even though I had been sober for 5 years I still hadn’t gotten into some of the deeper understandings of the communication skills that I have today. Being able to settle these kinds of differences was still something that I had not mastered. We also had two very different ways of looking at life and dealing with trouble when it arose.
Since getting sober, I had adopted a belief that if I found myself getting angry, when I would begin to hear myself raising my voice in anger, the best thing to do was to walk away. I was not walking away to avoid the situation that was making me angry, but to get a clear perspective. It is still my belief that when you feel yourself coming to that edge, the edge where you want to just “lash out”, that it is much better to stop, and say to the person you are with. “You know what, I can really appreciate that we have a difference here. And I do want to resolve it. And at this very moment, I am not in the best frame of mind to deal with this. So rather than saying things that we may both regret later, I’m going to go out for an hour and just calm down. Then when we are both in a better place we can discuss it.” And then you leave to calm down.
The problem was that Angie dealt with anger much differently. She needed a reaction to know that you cared and that it was important. She was the type of person who only felt that you had accomplished something if it all exploded. She believed that people needed a heated confrontation to get everything out. And her pattern was to continue to push you until she got a response. More specifically, if you were not going to raise your voice or scream at her, she would go after any weakness you had, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually to get you to react in an aggressive way.
For the first 10 months or so that we were together, I had been doing well at just walking away. Doing this worked for my peace of mind, but it made her even angrier. So in an effort to get me to cross my own personal lines of restraint, she had been getting more abusive and more personal in her attacks. Have you ever been with someone who takes the most private secrets that you share with them, and at a volatile moment, uses them as a weapon? Well this is where Angie and I had gotten to, she wanted a reaction, and she was willing to do whatever she needed to get it. She got what she wanted and I started feeding into her dramas by responding to her attacks by raising my voice and screaming back at her and slamming doors. It wasn’t long before I began to notice that I didn’t like the person I had become.
It all came to an end one August evening when we had a major argument. I don’t even remember what it was about. But she was determined that I was going to fight her. She was standing on the bed kicking me in the privates and the stomach. I caught her leg as she kicked at me again and used it to knock her onto the bed. As she hit the bed, I climbed on top of her and put one hand on her throat. As I pulled back my other hand preparing to hit her, time seemed to stop. I looked into her eyes. She was screaming “Go ahead, hit me!!!” At that moment I realized that I had turned into something I was not willing to be. I pushed her away, packed what I could, and left. We had been together just under a year when I walked out of house, and out of her life.
The Warrior Sage Chapter/Section
Who Is Willard Barth?
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober, Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances And Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up
Jump HOME from Recognizing The Voice Inside