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Monday, October 3, 2016

How Do I Give Up “All That Money”?

When I made a phone call to the people who mentored me into the sex industry, who I later learned had “tricked” me into making that phone call unknown to me however at the time of making that call, I had literally no food in the house left. I had maybe $0.03 in change in my purse I'd fished out of the couch. My rent was coming due in a few days. I think I had maybe 1/8 of a tank of gasoline in my little two door economy ca

I had been working as a waitress anywhere that would hire me while also going to college working on my psychology degree. I had just turned 18 years of age and moved out into my own apartment. I was absolutely determined not to go back to my mother's house either. After all the work I'd put into leaving my mother's house last thing I was going to do was admit defeat by returning home now with my tail between my legs broke and hungry.

I say this because I told myself I was “just going to work the phones” as a dispatcher at this escort service “until I'd paid my rent and got myself another job”. I had just been fired from just about every restaurant, bar and club in Los Angeles county and out of options. I had added up this magical dollar amount and posted it on my refrigerator telling myself I'd “quit once I hit my goal”.

Before I could hit this goal, I found myself working as more than a “dispatcher”. Tina, the girl who was assigned as my mentor, asked me to go into the man's house “just to keep an eye on her”. I would sit on the couch while she went into the bedroom in exchange for being paid extra as a driver. From the couch, I was then paid extra to take off my top and just be nude while she performed the sex. After she got me comfortable being in the house, then being nude, then it was more money to have sexual contact. A few months after going on calls with her, it wasn't a big deal to start going on my own and now here I was completely as an “escort”. I had gone from a “dispatcher” to a driver to now being a full fledged prostitute. Of course convincing myself I wasn't a common ordinary “prostitute” because I didn't ever stand on a street corner.

Once I hit my dollar amount I'd put on the fridge as my goal, I then thought “Well I really could use a better car before I give up this much money.”. Once I bought myself a beautiful new car, then I started thinking how nice a new wardrobe would be too. I mean a waitress couldn't possibly afford a new car or a new wardrobe so I'll just buy myself these things and “then I'll quit”. After the car and the clothing, I realized I had to have all new furniture too. Then of course I had to raise up the money to pay for the four year college I'd be going to once I finished up at the community college.

I added up how much money it would take me to finish paying for college, along with my living expenses once I got my degree, and then of course I reached that goal. Once hitting this amount, I started thinking “well after I get my degree then I'm going to need to set up my practice”. I had wanted to become a psychologist/author like Dr. Joyce Brothers. She worked out of her home so this of course meant I needed to buy a house nice enough for me to practice out of. Soon I had the money raised for my living expenses, tuition, even the house I wanted to live and practice out of once I got my degree.

I couldn't put the money into the bank because then the IRS would want to know where I was getting all this money from. I couldn't buy a house for cash because then I'd get the IRS wanting to know the source of all this money. I realized I would need to find a way to launder my cash or I'd never be able to spend it. This of course meant I needed to go rent myself an office, get a business license, and set up a phony business to launder the money through by paying myself a paycheck. So of course now I had to raise more money to pay for this office, furnishing it, paying for the business license, the accountant, and all that stuff.

I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets to prepare to move into the condo I'd just bought to live in while I “just finished school” and found the envelope I'd written my first “goal” of my rent on the apartment where I'd promised myself I'd “quit once I . . . “. In the drawer I found all the other envelopes and pieces of paper where I'd written one after the other of the “when I . . . “ then I would quit goals. I realized no matter how many goals I'd set as my “quit date” I was soon just finding another excuse and another excuse to keep changing my date where I told myself I “now had enough money I could quit”.

Many women in the industry have pimps. They give all their money to him and focus on paying him to shut him up. I didn't have a pimp. No, in my case it was always some imaginary goal or thing I “just had to have” before I'd quit. I would tell myself I'd quit “once I bought all new furniture for the apartment”. Then after I'd buy all that new furniture, I'd decide I hated the “color” or the “fabric” and I'd just give it all away. Then of course I had to buy something new again because I was now sitting on crates and an air mattress. The same with cars, furs, jewelry, etc. I would hear addicts talk about “chasing the high”. I realized I was like that addict chasing something I wasn't ever finding.

This is when it sunk in I wasn't in this “just until”. That was a hard day. It was a hard day to realize I was now in this business because I wanted to be in this business. No wolf was at the door. No pimp was threatening to kick my ass. No cop was chasing me. No monkey on my back telling me I had to go use drugs. No I was now a prostitute and I had absolutely no desire to stop any longer.

I mean why on earth was I thinking about quitting? Hell I could go on and do this until my legs fell off and then I could madam once I was 100 years old and in a wheel chair. When I got too old to do any of this any longer I could go get myself a job as a madam at a legal brothel. I mean why would I ever quit? To me sex work was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I joined a group which was forming back then called COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). This was a group based upon the idea if we had control over our bodies as women to get abortions, take birth control, etc., then why couldn't I also sell my sex if I wanted to also? I mean wasn't control over my body to do with as I wished include selling it? I could sell my hair to a wig maker, my blood to a blood bank and even my eggs to a fertility clinic so why couldn't I sell sexual intercourse then if this was my vagina to do with as I wished?

That's the way I felt back then and joined COYOTE so we could push towards decriminalization of sex work. I also wanted to improve the safety of sex workers because I thought it was absolutely insane how we couldn't call the police when we were being beaten and raped while a secretary or housewife could. I mean why was it “fair game” for us to be robbed, raped and and ransacked simply because of our profession being illegal?

I mean crack houses couldn't call the cops when they were robbed but why we were treated the same as crack dealers? This was what I told myself as I drove around in my Mercedes 450 SL convertible, wearing my fox fur coat, my fingers stacked with gold jewelry, cruising into up into my driveway of my condo south of Ventura Boulevard a few houses down from Hollywood movie stars. What was I thinking when thinking about ever quitting?

One night I had a horrifying dream of me sitting on the top bunk in a womens' jail. I was wearing this forest green dress which looked no different than if someone had put a hole in a hefty bag and told me it was a dress. I could feel the cold cement and hear the clanging noises of a jail cell doors slamming behind me. I've had dreams like this my whole life and I knew what it meant. When I have these prophetic dreams which come true – they are always like Polaroid snapshots in color I'm looking at. As I woke in a cold sweat from this dream I knew it was a warning of what was to come – I was about to be arrested.

That was my literal “wake-up call”. I phoned my mother and told her we needed to talk. We met in a Denny's because I knew she was going to freak out when I told her what I was about to tell her. I told her I'd had one of my prophetic dreams I was about to be arrested. This was why I believed I needed to just turn around now and walk away. I certainly had enough cash stashed away at this point to well afford finishing school and start a whole new life so why not. This was as good as any other day to quit – and quit while I was ahead. I had no criminal record of convictions, I had my health, I had plenty of money so now was the time to quit while I was in the best possible position to quit.

My mother of course started bringing up things like I had six months left on my lease at the warehouse and if I broke that then I'd owe them all that rent. I had her car payments still left to pay and other things I'd bought her on time which hadn't been paid off yet. There were ads I'd placed in magazines which weren't even due to come out yet for weeks that would be completely wasted if I walked away now. If I planned ahead I could probably even sell the business to someone. What about the lease on her office?

We'd also set up the first phone sex 900 line I was aware of anywhere in the country for that matter. This operation alone was bringing in $30,000 a week and mom loved running that business. The phone lines of course ran on 30 day cycles so even if we pulled the plug things would contine on for at least another month. The calls however were dependent upon the ads in the adult magazines (remember this was before the internet) and all my mom could do was talk about how much money I'd have to lose and shell out if I just walked away right then and there.

I didn't care. I told her the only way I knew not to get arrested like my dream had warned me was to stop and stop now. Then she started in with the lecture about how “impulsive I was” and I “wasn't thinking about anyone but myself” and I hadn't thought about what “she was going to do” if I pulled the plug on everything and how “selfish” I was being. She came after me like a dog wanting his bone. I said to her “What in the hell do you want out of me?” I mean here I am telling her I'm going to go to JAIL unless I walk away right now and all she's talking to me about is what is “she going to do?” and how “selfish I”m being?” So what did she propose exactly I do then?

My mom suggested since I had leases on everything, and car payments still coming due, that maybe I was just burned out. Maybe I just “needed a break”. Maybe instead of burning my bridges behind me “like I always did” as she reminded me, maybe I needed to just try and simply “take a vacation”. She suggested I just lock everything up and tell everyone I was “taking some time off” and to go and “try life without the sex industry” before I went and “just tore everything we'd built all to shreds”. I could cut off the phones, lock up everything, run ads to sell the cars, and just go rent a nice hotel room with room service for a few weeks, put my feet up and take a long well deserved break. That I could “try on” quitting the industry like a pair of shoes and see how everything fit.

It made sense to me. I understood how much sense Satan must have made to Eve and thus Eve made to Adam because that's how evil operates. It always sounds so “logical”. Sure it sounds crazy to have the whole world at your feet, name everything in existence, but don't touch that one tree. I mean what sense does that make right? Why put the tree there in the middle of everything right where I can touch it if you don't want me to take a look at it or even taste one? Certainly God wouldn't have put the tree right there unless he wanted us to eat from it right?

My mom didn't pitch the fit I expected at all. No she made perfect sense and I agreed to her proposal. I mean what would it hurt? I went and rented myself a beautiful room at a nice hotel which had Japanese food they'd bring for room service that would let me and my pit bull Corky go anywhere we wanted in the hotel together. It wasn't too far from my boyfriend of that time period to come and spend the night so I settled into my first “vacation” I'd had since I'd crossed the line into the sex industry.

I'm sitting there one night having just had some sushi sent to my room for dinner when the phone rings. It's the front desk telling me I need to “come and move my car because it's about to be towed”. Only I'd taken a cab there so I told them they were mistaken and hung up. The phone rings again there's a “problem with my bill and I need to come down to the desk to discuss the charges”. I reminded them I had a deposit and it was 9:00 at night and I'd come talk to them tomorrow during reasonable hours.

The clerk then insisted I had to come down immediately to sign something or they'd have to send out animal control in the morning because of a complaint had been signed about my dog running around unleashed and threatening people. As a pit bull this was a serious accusation. I reminded them my dog is never unleashed and argued but the clerk was insisting I needed to come down there immediately no matter what I said.

I opened my door to go to the front desk and I'm immediately pushed back into my room by a SWAT team. I look above me and actually see a helicopter shining a light upon me. I then see teams of armored agents coming after me like I'm Pablo Escobar or something. Talk about “shock and awe” because I'm completely in disbelief about why it appears half of the SWAT teams in the state are now all over me, invading my room, handcuffing me in my PJ's, and now stripping apart my room like they're looking for the Holy Grail or something. I mean what on earth did I do to warrant what appeared to literally be half of LAPD outside to arrest me.

I later learned to get me arrested the cop who was putting this whole thing together had literally formed a task force in order to go across all the different jurisdictions I had carefully set up so I couldn't be arrested. I had the warehouse in Van Nuys, while the phones were in an office in downtown Los Angeles, which rang through an apartment in Oxnard, and nothing was even in my name. Who would think yes someone would go to all of that trouble just to arrest one hooker right?

I was in so much denial about what was happening in my own life when the arrest warrant said I had 25 telephones operating I kept insisting there was a mistake. Then I started counting in my head and realized I actually had more than 25 phones and then realized I was in some serious trouble. My bail was $5,000 so I whipped it out at the station to bail myself out. The police officers' eyes literally rolled back in their heads when they saw this much cash on me. I guess they were used to junkie prostitutes who never had $5.00 on them at any given moment.

The cop then says to me “Well if you got $5,000 to throw around so easy how about if we make your bail $10,000?”. I said “Fine” and reached into my bra for more cash. This made him so angry he turned purple literally and started swearing at me like I'd killed his dog or something. He then throws me back into the cell and says “Let's see how fast you whip out $50,000 with no 10 % you little bitch”. As he goes storming off to get my bail raised I swear I can see steam coming out of ears.

I then went to post the $50,000 bail when my attorney shows up at the cell. He warns me if I post this much cash for myself then they'll claim the money is from “racketeering” and charge me with another felony. I then say I'll have my mother do it. He warns me it's a common practice to arrest whoever posts the bail for a prostitute as her pimp. Then if the pimp can't explain where the cash came from he's then charged with a felony and everyone's in jail.

It gets more complicated when I learn this cop has now told every bail bondsman he wants me kept locked up and no one had better post my bail or there's going to be hell to pay. Thankfully, I had a regular who offered up his house as collateral and my attorney had a personal friend who was a bondsman. I was able to get my bail posted this way. If not for that, I think the guy would have going like “Let's Make a Deal” because he didn't want me out of police custody.

I mean who knew posting bail could get me into more criminal charges when cops want you locked up as bad as these people wanted me locked up. My attorney later advised me he had felt they were trying so hard to keep me in jail because they had planned on having me murdered on the inside and blaming it on another inmate. He had told me his other clients had told him about being approached by people with a lot of money offering to do the job. Supposedly a fake “riot” was supposed to be created and I was supposed to then have an “accident”.

As I'm going through this posting of bail and hearing about all these people who are wanting me dead I am suddenly hit with the realization I was not living the “rosy carefree life” I had thought I was living before the arrest. Here I am fighting proudly for my sisters and brothers at COYOTE protests and outreach and insisting I have a “wonderful great life” whose “only problem is it's illegal”. I suddenly feel like I'm just lifted up some horrible rock where all the maggots and slime have been hiding underneath hidden from sight. This I later learned was called “denial”.

As more and more of the truth about my life comes out, I realized if I hadn't of been arrested I would have most certainly been murdered in some form or fashion before that year was over. I had no idea at all I was in the middle of multiple scandals then – one which was later named “Iran Contra”. When I was being paid to do things like drive a truck laden with crates of unprocessed cocaine leaves which had been loaded off a boat which had just come in the country, and then driven it to a processing warehouse in south central Los Angeles where it was then turned into grams and rocks, and from there I was giving it to my girlfriends who were then taking it in their purses into places such as the Beverly Hilton hotel to party it up with the Hollywood Elite – I mean how convenient for these guys there were killers like the “Grim Reaper” running around hacking up women like me for breakfast while the police weren't doing the slightest bit of investigation into their murders. It was being written up as “just another dead whore” as they saved their police resources for when a “real human being” was involved.

I remember while I was still in custody watching these mothers on TV. Their aughters' had been murdered and then left like trash in alleys protesting how the police weren't lifting so much as a finger to investigate who murdered their baby girls. The public attitude was like “well what did you expect?” like these mothers' desire to have their baby's treated with proper respect was completely out of line or something. Their protesting in the streets didn't even show so much as a sign of human emotion on the faces of the LAPD where if these bodies had been that of dogs I think they would have shown more concern. Seeing how little my life mattered to the world because of how I was classified as “just another whore” was yet another wake-up call to me that my life in the sex industry might have been paying me a lot of cash – but society sure didn't value me as a person for all that money.

This is when I had my first “epiphany” or “moment of clarity” or whatever you want to call it when I felt reality hitting me upside the head like I'd just been whacked by a 2x4 hard. Yes I might be making a lot of money in the sex industry but as far as society was concerned I had absolutely no value in it's eyes because of it no matter whether it was “legal” or “illegal”.

As someone in sex work, legal or not, I never saw whole communities organizing searches in the middle of the night and in freezing weather dragging out the blood hounds to go and find the bodies of women like us as they did for others who were called “housewives”, “mother's” or “secretaries”. That someone who I looked down upon like I had been looking down on maybe a convenience store clerk would have more “value” in society's eyes than someone like me. Sex worker was a job title but a statement of who I was as a person so who had I been kidding all this time?

This was the first time I stopped looking at cash and began looking at things like “value”. At one of my all night coffee outings with my first sponsor, Paul, he had me pull out a piece of paper and list how much money I made on a good month in the industry. I happily wrote down the $30,000 aweek from the phone sex operation, and $10,000 a night from when I went to a movie star's house in Bel Air and “entertained” him during a coke binge when he couldn't even get an erection, and proudly showed him how much money I could make on a good month during my prime.

Then he wrote a big slash down the page and titled one side “Income” with the other side titled “Expenses”. Here he told me to list the attorney's fees, fines, probation fees, surveillance equipment, my gun, self-defense training, car alarms, the cost of money laundering, my expenses, overhead, condoms, lubricants, laundry services, maids, ordering food out because I was too busy or exhausted to cook, moving in the middle of the night to avoid arrest or death threats from a pimp, what I paid doctor's to treat me without notating it on my account so I wouldn't have something incriminating me as an illegal prostitute, and basically write down every single thing the industry “cost” me including the money the police had confiscated from me, the jewerly they're stolen from me because they knew it would just be auctioned anyway since I couldn't prove I'd gotten it from a “legit” source, and right down to how much my pager cost me very month.

I was devastated when I realized not only was I operating at a loss most of the time, but further I hadn't paid a dime into my FICO so I also now had no social security to fall back onto. For all my bragging and self-flattery I'd been doing to myself about how much of the”high life” I was living as a sex worker that clerk at a convenience store was probably making more of a profit monthly than I was. Sure I looked more wealthy on the outside but here I was with it all taken from me by LAPD in two shakes because of how I'd obtained it all illegally. Sure I could claim some of the stuff back IF I could produce receipts or the testimony of people about who and why gave it to me. So I didn't even really own what I thought I'd owned after all even.

Then if I wasn't feeling stupid enough at this point yet he asked me to now write down all the things the industry had “cost” me other than money. He wanted me to look at the types of friends I had in the industry. How Alex Adams, who I thought was my “friend”, was really an FBI informant who had been part of putting me me behind bars. All the nights I thought I was confiding in her as a friend were being recorded and then used against me when I didn't do what these government men wanted me to do.

When I wouldn't sell them the women they wanted me to sell them then I had the same thing happening to me I've learned is the pattern – we're arrested, given the walk of shame, our faces and names plastered all over the press so we didn't stand a chance of being able to leave the sex industry for any other type of work. Then once we had no other options but to continue on as a madam or escort because of the press, the restrictions probation had put on us, losing everything during the arrest – then when they came back to us again THIS time asking us to do what they want us to do we're much more cooperative So for all the money I thought I was making I was now right in the gutter with the rest of the gutter trash. Because I'd now also lost control over my life and all dignity as a human being.

Those were the things no amount of money could buy me back if I allowed that to happen to me and if I didn't leave the sex industry behind right then and there. Now am I saying this about anyone else other than me? No. I was the one in that position and no one else. This list I was writing out about what the industry was costing me was my list and my list alone. Every person on this earth has to decide what they can live with and what they can't. We all have to decide for ourselves what we value and how much. So in some ways this inventory I was doing was part of my First Step as well as what became part of my Fourth Step.

I strongly recommend all new members who are coming in saying to themselves “How am I ever going to cope with not making this amount of money” to do such an inventory for themselves. I further want you to ask yourself who really has the wealth in this world? Those who are in sex work or? I mean seriously ask yourself how many billionaire strippers do you know? More important than how much money you are telling yourself you can make IN the industry I want you to think ask yourself how much you're LEAVING the industry with. For that matter, how much ANY of us leave the industry with. In the 30 years now I've answered this hotline I'd yet to see ONE of us, and I mean a ONE, who has left the industry with a $1.00 to their name.

I remember once a woman who had been working at the legal brothels of Nevada bragging to me about her million dollar retirement account she was going to leave with when she retired at 50 years of age. I kept hearing “I'm 48 now” and then I'm “49 years old now” as she was bragging to me she was going to retire at 50 years of age with her house paid and car paid for and her retirement account and nest egg of over a $1,000,000 she had squared away. I remember her insistence to me how she was “different” and therefore “not like the other girls” and how she was going to “show me” that you could leave this industry with money on you to show for it.

Now again I'm not saying there aren't men and women who don't leave the industry with money. I'm sure they're there. I just don't see them calling our hotline for help to leave the industry and doing so because they have a flushed our 401K retirement account. So far just about everyone who calls up our hotline tells me they can't even afford to buy a copy of our “Recovery Guide” when it was $4.99 to print.

It's also embedded in my brain how on the 50th year of this woman's life when she went to retire on that nest egg she'd been bragging to me about she had and why she was “different” and learned it had been raided by Bernie Madoff. All of it. Every penny gone. This woman now had to start over again from scratch at 50 years of age without enough money in the bank to play for some plastic surgery because she was now competing with 21 year old's who were now wondering “who the hell is this old broad?” coming out to stand in their line-up now. I tried to reach out to her when she went on her well deserved nervous breakdown after learning she'd been cleaned out. The brothel owners kept blocking me from reaching her. I learned she'd gone on a two year drug and alcohol binge before deciding she “didn't have a choice” but to go back to work at the ranch and “start over”. '

Of course we knew there were other options for her than to keep doing that line-up at 51 years old and up - but when she's only hearing the voices of the brothel owners telling her to “come back” as her source of making her income back then she's not going to probably think of those options. If she wanted to keep working at her age because she wanted to – I'd totally respect her decision. But when I see she's doing it because she's convinced there's “no other way” then I don't think that's the plan God has for us.

I remember seeing a documentary on how Colonel Sanders had hit a rock bottom at an advanced age. I think he was 50 years old when he created the method of making chicken he became known for. The film showed how he would pack up his equipment in the trunk of his car and drive from town to town introducing restaurant owners to his methods and recipes to franchise his idea. Mind you this was after he'd gone through a horrible business loss where he'd lost everything before starting over again essentially with just his chicken, a modified pressure cooker and a simple recipe.

There's stories of women like Grandma Moses who didn't start painting until she was 78 years of age, or of Jim Cramer who has the show “Mad Money”. He once lived in his car for a year while he was figuring out how to make a living off the stock market. The guy who made the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion empire once was mixing up his lotions in a trash can while sleeping in his car he was so broke.

So there are stories upon stories of people who have lost everything and built their way to wealth, along with those who were in advanced years and who achieved success from a point of zero in this world. But I have YET to hear a story of an older sex worker who has done the same within the sex industry – legal or not. Now trust me I scan the news and I answer our hotline and I assure you'd I'd love to hear the story of one of us who leaves this industry with a bank roll. Key words being “leave”. Because it really is like gambling – anyone can win $1,000,000 on that table but it's another ball game entirely to leave the casino with that money in hand.

Even if I'm wrong, that's not the point here of this chapter. You're coming to us saying you don't see how you're going to be able to make the kind of money you're using to making in sex work now if you quit. You want to know how you're going to pay next month's rent or that next car payment that's coming due soon if you just up and quit. Okay, let's ask you this – have you ever tried to quit before? Have you ever quit the industry, got a job and supported yourself for a time outside of the industry?

Meaning guess what? You've had a “job” outside of the sex industry before coming to our program and what happened? You went back to sex work because that's where you are now. So did having a job, the house, the car, and all your ducks in a row back then stop you from returning to sex work? Nope. In fact, you probably did what about 99 % of us do.

You got yourself some horrible low paying job with some awful boss that you absolutely hated that any idiot could do and then when it didn't work out because it couldn't – you then got to say “See? It didn't work and I had to go back to sex work.” No different than the addict who goes back into the old neighborhood to tell his new friends how great he's doing staying clean and winding up loaded by morning with his old buddies. Or the alcoholic who goes into the piano bar “just to listen to the music” who winds up drunk by morning. It's called the “set-up”. If you have any idea how many of us I see getting some job at a fast food joint or a convenience store that clearly no one is going to call a career move and then when it doesn't even pay the rent the first month they get to throw up their hands and say “I knew this wouldn't work”. I mean come on what a set-up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It didn't work because “just quitting” doesn't work. This isn't a disease like alcoholism where all you have to do is “not take that first drink” and you're stringing together days of sobriety. To them, the more days they're sober the better they're going to do in life. Not so with us. We can't just “stop” and then all of our problems stop. Nor is going out to get someone to stick us in some residential program like we're animals in a shelter who can't manage our lives an answer either. Sooner or later we have to face the fork in the road for us. That day when we have to decide what in the hell we're going to do with our lives. Everyone on this earth has to decide how they're going to eat and put a roof over their heads and we can't stay children forever. At some point we have to decide this also.

But I acknowledge my experience isn't the same as some others. We have members for example who were pimped and/or trafficked who were lucky to escape the situation with their lives. One of our early members, Vanessa, had been chained to a bed for over a year while bikers sold sex with her to men they'd bring up to her room in a hotel they owned for sex. She had food brought to her room and her chain extended to the bathroom and this was her world for a year. One day there was a fire and she was suddenly free. This was in 1970's San Francisco and no one was going to believe her story. Besides, they had been injecting her with drugs to keep her sedated so very shortly she knew she was going to have to find drugs or she was going to be very sick very soon. All she had was the clothes on her back, not even a pair of shoes to her name.

The only thing she could think of to do was she'd noticed a bar down the street. Maybe there she could find a trick who would be able to get her enough cash to get some food, some dope a room for the night. What else were her options really? The homeless shelter back then wouldn't take prostitutes which in her daisy dukes and no shoes that's just what she looked like at the moment. Especially being as she hadn't been outside of a hotel room for a year and strung out on drugs as she was.

What do you do when you're trying to leave the industry, but you also got to eat? I used to have a terrible time with a woman in Las Vegas who would go up and down Las Vegas strip telling prostitutes “Jesus loves you” and promising them if they quit “cold turkey” then she would show them how her church could help them get off the streets. She's convince these women to come to her church, parade them around asking for donations to build her a residential program, and then send these women home. Well soon the 1st of the month came around and so did the rent coming due. The prostitutes, or ex-prostitutes, would start calling her wanting to know about how their rent was going to get paid. She'd tell them “Jesus will provide” and “I'l pray for you” and then she'd cut off the call!

I found out about this because these women in a panic would go online looking for a solution and come across our hotline. So I'm now getting a couple of women every month calling me up in a panic as they've got kids and a 5 day eviction notice in their hands and they've already done things like thrown out their “Black Book” and cut off their cell phones. I'm now having to file a Stay of Eviction to buy them some time, and then I'm the one frantically running around either trying to find them work or some local church or program that will assist them with the rent, all while assuring them it's all going to be okay if they just hang on. Of course they're feeling really betrayed and exploited at this point by what this religious fund raiser did because she's now raised over $1,000,000 to build her program while they're now stuck with no money in the house for their trust. On top of it they're now feeling even more pimped than they did on the corner.

With the women who contacted our hotline in this panic, we managed to get them all sorted out without them having to resort to going back to the sex industry. Like anyone who has a financial crisis in life due to death, divorce, disease or losing their job – we got them through it and they're doing fine now paying their bills other ways than through prostitution. They just had to “come to believe a power greater” could “restore some sanity” to their lives. The group working together was able to always figure out some solution for those calling us in a panic.

But what about Vanessa? Would it have been wrong for her to turn a trick to pay for her supper? I used to have a terrible fight with a methadone clinic we once had a meeting at. These women were only allowed to stay in the residential program for 30 days. Then they were booted out whether they had any new place to stay, a job, any money, etc. Meaning if they hadn't found a job or housing then that's where they were at 30 days – right back on the street corner. What would happen is they'd not come to a meeting until about the 27th day. Then they'd come in crying they “needed money and a place to stay” and all they were looking for out of us was cash - not a program.

It didn't matter if we gave it to them or they got it from a trick off the corner – these women didn't care where the money came from and to them we were just another “trick” if we handed over cash to them to help. We aren't a bank, a landlord nor an employer and as a “fully self-supporting” program it wasn't our place to pay their rent to keep them off the streets. That would make about as much sense as us telling an alcoholic in AA we'd pay their rent for them as long as they stayed sober. That's not working a program for anyone by anyone's standards.

What we did do was to tell the methadone program they clearly weren't being responsible to their clients to focus only on their methodone, doing nothing about their housing and employment situation for them, then boot them out after 30 days with sticking us in the middle to try and do what they aren't doing. They were the ones getting federal grant money to run their program, so it wasn't right to use us as free labor to not buckle down and hire someone to deal with this gap which was literally forcing these women in our opinion to not even see the point of bothering to get out of prostitution if they were just going to be homeless in 30 days.

So we advised the women they were legal residents of this program and were not required by law to leave the premises in 30 days if they didn't want to. As legal residents, they could insist on staying until properly legally evicted and thus getting out when they were good and financially ready to get out if they didn't want to go back to prostitution because of not having other options. We advised them if they wanted, they could exert their legal right to remain and stay until either legally evicted from the premises, or they found work and housing. But either way there was choices to simply having to say “oh I've got no choice” and going to stand on the corner. We were helping them to find a way to deal with “life on life's terms” without the use of drugs, alcohol, nor prostitution.

But this still leaves us with women in situations like Vanessa's. For cases like this, we refer to what an addict in Narcotics Anonymous would do when a doctor insists the taking of a drug is something that has to be done or the person could die. I remember during the delivery of my daughter my blood pressure soared so high they told me I had no choice – it was either take the pain medication or risk both of us dying right there in delivery. I let them give me the pain medication, but I didn't consider it a relapse. The doctors were telling me it was something I had to take to survive, and therefore not a “relapse” or me using the drug to “get high” or “avoid dealing with life”. I certainly didn't make myself pregnant with high blood pressure just to have an excuse to take a pain killer.

The Bible talks about how when in a situation where you are starving you can “legally” steal food. It takes about how when you're back on your feet however, you replace what was stolen “seven fold” along with making your “amends” to those you stole from. If prostitution, stripping, or porn performing is illegal where you're at, or something you would consider a “relapse” because you're working a program of abstinence from sex work, but it does get down to the point where it's starve or trick – then if the Bible allows for you to steal to survive hunger, and even Narcotics Anonymous has guidelines for how to use drugs in recovery without it being a relapse – then I would take this to be a guideline. If you literally can find no other options – then look to the story of Mary also in the Bible. When confronted, all Jesus told her was to “go and sin no more”. Do what you got to do, then the minute you don't got to – go and “sin no more”. Make whatever amends you need to “except when to do so would injure them or others” and move on. If even an addict finds themselves in situations like child birth where even they have to put a drug in their system to survive – the rule of thumb is whatever it takes to preserve life. You can worry about the “quality” of that life once you've taken another breath, or taken care of any child or animal depending upon you also. No one in this program is going to hold against you surviving.

Now this doesn't give you license to go out and spend your rent money on a dress and then turn around and say “oh I have no choice”. We're talking if you've truly exhausted all options, tried to work things out with our program to the best of your ability, and you truly have no other choice to survive but to cross that line to take that first “transaction”. Again, the minute it's possible to stop – stop. Make amends and then move on. If you're not in a situation where you can stop just yet, well then start working on your plans. No one loses 100 pounds in one day – sometimes things take time to go from point A to point B. As long as your “desire” is there and you're moving towards your goal of quitting – that's the main thing to focus on. If again you can't lose 100 pounds in one day we also understand sometimes things take time. Just stay focused on your exit plan then and keep moving forward.

Especially if you are in a situation where you are being forced or threatened in some fashion. The rule of thumb is to always make sure you are “not injuring” anyone, including yourself first. If your leaving the industry endangers your life or that of others, then you need to stop, back up, and get in touch with someone in our program immediately. Then start working on your exit plan. Exit plans are different in every situation. Sometimes you can just leave. Other times you need to diffuse your pimp or captor first before you can safely leave. In this situation, you have to go by what won't harm another person or yourself first when making your exit plan. Sometimes it's as simple as calling 911 while other times it might require a whole sting storage. Your situation might even call for something as drastic as running off to Canada where they don't extradite for child custody or even living “off the grid” for a while to further protect you and your family.

As long as you have an exit plan in place and you're moving towards your goal, then we understand these things take time. We don't care if you come to a meeting in full stripper regala for years – as long as your “desire” is there, combined with you having an exit plan put together with people who have effective experience in such things, and you moving forward with those plans step by step – then you're a welcome member of this program and we want to be there to help you through all of this. That's why we're here – to do together what we can't do by ourselves. To “keep what we have by giving it away”. Even God who led the slaves out of Egypt didn't see fit to bring his people to their new home for 40 years. That was 40 years of eating manna and walking the desert – but they did wind up free people, no longer slaves, and in their new homes.

But if you're still sitting there saying “I'd like to quit but I got a car payment in three days so I'm still not clear what to do here.” Welcome to life honey. Everyone in this world has some thing like a day when they get fired right before the car payment is due. Then do they go out and turn a trick or grab a gun and rob a bank?

No. They sit down and “figure out” what they're going to do about the car payment. They either turn the car back into the lot so their credit isn't harmed, they ask for an extension, they sell the car, they get a payday loan, or they find a way to make that payment. Other people figure out a solution other than picking up the phone and booking a date. Remember, there's a huge difference between a car payment and staring into the faces of six kids who need dinner in an hour and you don't have a slice of bread nor a penny in your pocket. When you're talking about sustaining life – this when you can start entertaining ideas about making an “exception” for yourself of the “no first transaction” rule.

That's what “other” people do who aren't us is figure these things outo some “other way” and this is your perfect chance to now live “life on life's terms” and join the human race who now have to figure ut like everyone else in the world who has to figure out how to make a car payment when they've lost a job. Think of it like robbing a bank. It's not something you consider doing lightly or often.

Still don't know what to do? Go ask someone who has been in that position what they did. If you can figure out how to get away from a manic coming after you high on drugs who hasn't slept in a week chasing you with a machete and calling you by the name of his ex-wife – then you can figure out how to deal with a little old thing like a car payment without “taking that first transaction”. There are people all over this world and throughout history who have gotten through hard financial adjustments without resorting to “turn a trick” or hopping on that stage or jumping in front of the camera to manage things.

Welcome to the real world. It's called “life”. Many people will tell you it revolves around a lot of other things besides money. In fact, there's some people out there who tell you they have things they wouldn't sell for any amount of money. Now's the time when you pull out your own “inventory” and figure out what those things are for you now in recovery. The answers are all provided to you to find solutions. You can “pray for knowledge of God's will for you and the power to carry that out” along with taking a “group conscience” where “God's will may express itself” through members of this program. This is where you sitting down with your sponsor and other members of this group becomes a valuable part of the recovery process for you.

Because instead of us answering this question for you about “How are you going to ever manage without making that kind of money?” as you did in sex work, we're going to instead ask you to define all those things “other” than money which are more important to you you need to be focusing on instead of that money. To us, it's like sitting around asking us to tell you when to hit that crap table to win the big prize. It just doesn't work that way and even if it did – again we haven't seen a lot of people leaving the casino with the money in hand.

Besides, we can assure you this one thing about recovery. If you are in line with what “God's will” is for you then we do know the “power to carry it out” will appear. The red sea will part when you're standing at the edge of it needing to move on. But if you want to go back to the land of Egypt – well then no the sea isn't going to part. So you need to tell us what you're moving towards and the rest will all start to move forward across that new wet path!



How Do I Give Up “All That Money”?

When I made a phone call to the people who mentored me into the sex industry, who I later learned had “tricked” me into making that phone call unknown to me however at the time of making that call, I had literally no food in the house left. I had maybe $0.03 in change in my purse I'd fished out of the couch. My rent was coming due in a few days. I think I had maybe 1/8 of a tank of gasoline in my little two door economy car.

I had been working as a waitress anywhere that would hire me while also going to college working on my psychology degree. I had just turned 18 years of age and moved out into my own apartment. I was absolutely determined not to go back to my mother's house either. After all the work I'd put into leaving my mother's house last thing I was going to do was admit defeat by returning home now with my tail between my legs broke and hungry.

I say this because I told myself I was “just going to work the phones” as a dispatcher at this escort service “until I'd paid my rent and got myself another job”. I had just been fired from just about every restaurant, bar and club in Los Angeles county and out of options. I had added up this magical dollar amount and posted it on my refrigerator telling myself I'd “quit once I hit my goal”.

Before I could hit this goal, I found myself working as more than a “dispatcher”. Tina, the girl who was assigned as my mentor, asked me to go into the man's house “just to keep an eye on her”. I would sit on the couch while she went into the bedroom in exchange for being paid extra as a driver. From the couch, I was then paid extra to take off my top and just be nude while she performed the sex. After she got me comfortable being in the house, then being nude, then it was more money to have sexual contact. A few months after going on calls with her, it wasn't a big deal to start going on my own and now here I was completely as an “escort”. I had gone from a “dispatcher” to a driver to now being a full fledged prostitute. Of course convincing myself I wasn't a common ordinary “prostitute” because I didn't ever stand on a street corner.

Once I hit my dollar amount I'd put on the fridge as my goal, I then thought “Well I really could use a better car before I give up this much money.”. Once I bought myself a beautiful new car, then I started thinking how nice a new wardrobe would be too. I mean a waitress couldn't possibly afford a new car or a new wardrobe so I'll just buy myself these things and “then I'll quit”. After the car and the clothing, I realized I had to have all new furniture too. Then of course I had to raise up the money to pay for the four year college I'd be going to once I finished up at the community college.

I added up how much money it would take me to finish paying for college, along with my living expenses once I got my degree, and then of course I reached that goal. Once hitting this amount, I started thinking “well after I get my degree then I'm going to need to set up my practice”. I had wanted to become a psychologist/author like Dr. Joyce Brothers. She worked out of her home so this of course meant I needed to buy a house nice enough for me to practice out of. Soon I had the money raised for my living expenses, tuition, even the house I wanted to live and practice out of once I got my degree.

I couldn't put the money into the bank because then the IRS would want to know where I was getting all this money from. I couldn't buy a house for cash because then I'd get the IRS wanting to know the source of all this money. I realized I would need to find a way to launder my cash or I'd never be able to spend it. This of course meant I needed to go rent myself an office, get a business license, and set up a phony business to launder the money through by paying myself a paycheck. So of course now I had to raise more money to pay for this office, furnishing it, paying for the business license, the accountant, and all that stuff.

I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets to prepare to move into the condo I'd just bought to live in while I “just finished school” and found the envelope I'd written my first “goal” of my rent on the apartment where I'd promised myself I'd “quit once I . . . “. In the drawer I found all the other envelopes and pieces of paper where I'd written one after the other of the “when I . . . “ then I would quit goals. I realized no matter how many goals I'd set as my “quit date” I was soon just finding another excuse and another excuse to keep changing my date where I told myself I “now had enough money I could quit”.

Many women in the industry have pimps. They give all their money to him and focus on paying him to shut him up. I didn't have a pimp. No, in my case it was always some imaginary goal or thing I “just had to have” before I'd quit. I would tell myself I'd quit “once I bought all new furniture for the apartment”. Then after I'd buy all that new furniture, I'd decide I hated the “color” or the “fabric” and I'd just give it all away. Then of course I had to buy something new again because I was now sitting on crates and an air mattress. The same with cars, furs, jewelry, etc. I would hear addicts talk about “chasing the high”. I realized I was like that addict chasing something I wasn't ever finding.

This is when it sunk in I wasn't in this “just until”. That was a hard day. It was a hard day to realize I was now in this business because I wanted to be in this business. No wolf was at the door. No pimp was threatening to kick my ass. No cop was chasing me. No monkey on my back telling me I had to go use drugs. No I was now a prostitute and I had absolutely no desire to stop any longer.

I mean why on earth was I thinking about quitting? Hell I could go on and do this until my legs fell off and then I could madam once I was 100 years old and in a wheel chair. When I got too old to do any of this any longer I could go get myself a job as a madam at a legal brothel. I mean why would I ever quit? To me sex work was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I joined a group which was forming back then called COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). This was a group based upon the idea if we had control over our bodies as women to get abortions, take birth control, etc., then why couldn't I also sell my sex if I wanted to also? I mean wasn't control over my body to do with as I wished include selling it? I could sell my hair to a wig maker, my blood to a blood bank and even my eggs to a fertility clinic so why couldn't I sell sexual intercourse then if this was my vagina to do with as I wished?

That's the way I felt back then and joined COYOTE so we could push towards decriminalization of sex work. I also wanted to improve the safety of sex workers because I thought it was absolutely insane how we couldn't call the police when we were being beaten and raped while a secretary or housewife could. I mean why was it “fair game” for us to be robbed, raped and and ransacked simply because of our profession being illegal?

I mean crack houses couldn't call the cops when they were robbed but why we were treated the same as crack dealers? This was what I told myself as I drove around in my Mercedes 450 SL convertible, wearing my fox fur coat, my fingers stacked with gold jewelry, cruising into up into my driveway of my condo south of Ventura Boulevard a few houses down from Hollywood movie stars. What was I thinking when thinking about ever quitting?

One night I had a horrifying dream of me sitting on the top bunk in a womens' jail. I was wearing this forest green dress which looked no different than if someone had put a hole in a hefty bag and told me it was a dress. I could feel the cold cement and hear the clanging noises of a jail cell doors slamming behind me. I've had dreams like this my whole life and I knew what it meant. When I have these prophetic dreams which come true – they are always like Polaroid snapshots in color I'm looking at. As I woke in a cold sweat from this dream I knew it was a warning of what was to come – I was about to be arrested.

That was my literal “wake-up call”. I phoned my mother and told her we needed to talk. We met in a Denny's because I knew she was going to freak out when I told her what I was about to tell her. I told her I'd had one of my prophetic dreams I was about to be arrested. This was why I believed I needed to just turn around now and walk away. I certainly had enough cash stashed away at this point to well afford finishing school and start a whole new life so why not. This was as good as any other day to quit – and quit while I was ahead. I had no criminal record of convictions, I had my health, I had plenty of money so now was the time to quit while I was in the best possible position to quit.

My mother of course started bringing up things like I had six months left on my lease at the warehouse and if I broke that then I'd owe them all that rent. I had her car payments still left to pay and other things I'd bought her on time which hadn't been paid off yet. There were ads I'd placed in magazines which weren't even due to come out yet for weeks that would be completely wasted if I walked away now. If I planned ahead I could probably even sell the business to someone. What about the lease on her office?

We'd also set up the first phone sex 900 line I was aware of anywhere in the country for that matter. This operation alone was bringing in $30,000 a week and mom loved running that business. The phone lines of course ran on 30 day cycles so even if we pulled the plug things would contine on for at least another month. The calls however were dependent upon the ads in the adult magazines (remember this was before the internet) and all my mom could do was talk about how much money I'd have to lose and shell out if I just walked away right then and there.

I didn't care. I told her the only way I knew not to get arrested like my dream had warned me was to stop and stop now. Then she started in with the lecture about how “impulsive I was” and I “wasn't thinking about anyone but myself” and I hadn't thought about what “she was going to do” if I pulled the plug on everything and how “selfish” I was being. She came after me like a dog wanting his bone. I said to her “What in the hell do you want out of me?” I mean here I am telling her I'm going to go to JAIL unless I walk away right now and all she's talking to me about is what is “she going to do?” and how “selfish I”m being?” So what did she propose exactly I do then?

My mom suggested since I had leases on everything, and car payments still coming due, that maybe I was just burned out. Maybe I just “needed a break”. Maybe instead of burning my bridges behind me “like I always did” as she reminded me, maybe I needed to just try and simply “take a vacation”. She suggested I just lock everything up and tell everyone I was “taking some time off” and to go and “try life without the sex industry” before I went and “just tore everything we'd built all to shreds”. I could cut off the phones, lock up everything, run ads to sell the cars, and just go rent a nice hotel room with room service for a few weeks, put my feet up and take a long well deserved break. That I could “try on” quitting the industry like a pair of shoes and see how everything fit.

It made sense to me. I understood how much sense Satan must have made to Eve and thus Eve made to Adam because that's how evil operates. It always sounds so “logical”. Sure it sounds crazy to have the whole world at your feet, name everything in existence, but don't touch that one tree. I mean what sense does that make right? Why put the tree there in the middle of everything right where I can touch it if you don't want me to take a look at it or even taste one? Certainly God wouldn't have put the tree right there unless he wanted us to eat from it right?

My mom didn't pitch the fit I expected at all. No she made perfect sense and I agreed to her proposal. I mean what would it hurt? I went and rented myself a beautiful room at a nice hotel which had Japanese food they'd bring for room service that would let me and my pit bull Corky go anywhere we wanted in the hotel together. It wasn't too far from my boyfriend of that time period to come and spend the night so I settled into my first “vacation” I'd had since I'd crossed the line into the sex industry.

I'm sitting there one night having just had some sushi sent to my room for dinner when the phone rings. It's the front desk telling me I need to “come and move my car because it's about to be towed”. Only I'd taken a cab there so I told them they were mistaken and hung up. The phone rings again there's a “problem with my bill and I need to come down to the desk to discuss the charges”. I reminded them I had a deposit and it was 9:00 at night and I'd come talk to them tomorrow during reasonable hours.

The clerk then insisted I had to come down immediately to sign something or they'd have to send out animal control in the morning because of a complaint had been signed about my dog running around unleashed and threatening people. As a pit bull this was a serious accusation. I reminded them my dog is never unleashed and argued but the clerk was insisting I needed to come down there immediately no matter what I said.

I opened my door to go to the front desk and I'm immediately pushed back into my room by a SWAT team. I look above me and actually see a helicopter shining a light upon me. I then see teams of armored agents coming after me like I'm Pablo Escobar or something. Talk about “shock and awe” because I'm completely in disbelief about why it appears half of the SWAT teams in the state are now all over me, invading my room, handcuffing me in my PJ's, and now stripping apart my room like they're looking for the Holy Grail or something. I mean what on earth did I do to warrant what appeared to literally be half of LAPD outside to arrest me.

I later learned to get me arrested the cop who was putting this whole thing together had literally formed a task force in order to go across all the different jurisdictions I had carefully set up so I couldn't be arrested. I had the warehouse in Van Nuys, while the phones were in an office in downtown Los Angeles, which rang through an apartment in Oxnard, and nothing was even in my name. Who would think yes someone would go to all of that trouble just to arrest one hooker right?

I was in so much denial about what was happening in my own life when the arrest warrant said I had 25 telephones operating I kept insisting there was a mistake. Then I started counting in my head and realized I actually had more than 25 phones and then realized I was in some serious trouble. My bail was $5,000 so I whipped it out at the station to bail myself out. The police officers' eyes literally rolled back in their heads when they saw this much cash on me. I guess they were used to junkie prostitutes who never had $5.00 on them at any given moment.

The cop then says to me “Well if you got $5,000 to throw around so easy how about if we make your bail $10,000?”. I said “Fine” and reached into my bra for more cash. This made him so angry he turned purple literally and started swearing at me like I'd killed his dog or something. He then throws me back into the cell and says “Let's see how fast you whip out $50,000 with no 10 % you little bitch”. As he goes storming off to get my bail raised I swear I can see steam coming out of ears.

I then went to post the $50,000 bail when my attorney shows up at the cell. He warns me if I post this much cash for myself then they'll claim the money is from “racketeering” and charge me with another felony. I then say I'll have my mother do it. He warns me it's a common practice to arrest whoever posts the bail for a prostitute as her pimp. Then if the pimp can't explain where the cash came from he's then charged with a felony and everyone's in jail.

It gets more complicated when I learn this cop has now told every bail bondsman he wants me kept locked up and no one had better post my bail or there's going to be hell to pay. Thankfully, I had a regular who offered up his house as collateral and my attorney had a personal friend who was a bondsman. I was able to get my bail posted this way. If not for that, I think the guy would have going like “Let's Make a Deal” because he didn't want me out of police custody.

I mean who knew posting bail could get me into more criminal charges when cops want you locked up as bad as these people wanted me locked up. My attorney later advised me he had felt they were trying so hard to keep me in jail because they had planned on having me murdered on the inside and blaming it on another inmate. He had told me his other clients had told him about being approached by people with a lot of money offering to do the job. Supposedly a fake “riot” was supposed to be created and I was supposed to then have an “accident”.

As I'm going through this posting of bail and hearing about all these people who are wanting me dead I am suddenly hit with the realization I was not living the “rosy carefree life” I had thought I was living before the arrest. Here I am fighting proudly for my sisters and brothers at COYOTE protests and outreach and insisting I have a “wonderful great life” whose “only problem is it's illegal”. I suddenly feel like I'm just lifted up some horrible rock where all the maggots and slime have been hiding underneath hidden from sight. This I later learned was called “denial”.

As more and more of the truth about my life comes out, I realized if I hadn't of been arrested I would have most certainly been murdered in some form or fashion before that year was over. I had no idea at all I was in the middle of multiple scandals then – one which was later named “Iran Contra”. When I was being paid to do things like drive a truck laden with crates of unprocessed cocaine leaves which had been loaded off a boat which had just come in the country, and then driven it to a processing warehouse in south central Los Angeles where it was then turned into grams and rocks, and from there I was giving it to my girlfriends who were then taking it in their purses into places such as the Beverly Hilton hotel to party it up with the Hollywood Elite – I mean how convenient for these guys there were killers like the “Grim Reaper” running around hacking up women like me for breakfast while the police weren't doing the slightest bit of investigation into their murders. It was being written up as “just another dead whore” as they saved their police resources for when a “real human being” was involved.

I remember while I was still in custody watching these mothers on TV. Their aughters' had been murdered and then left like trash in alleys protesting how the police weren't lifting so much as a finger to investigate who murdered their baby girls. The public attitude was like “well what did you expect?” like these mothers' desire to have their baby's treated with proper respect was completely out of line or something. Their protesting in the streets didn't even show so much as a sign of human emotion on the faces of the LAPD where if these bodies had been that of dogs I think they would have shown more concern. Seeing how little my life mattered to the world because of how I was classified as “just another whore” was yet another wake-up call to me that my life in the sex industry might have been paying me a lot of cash – but society sure didn't value me as a person for all that money.

This is when I had my first “epiphany” or “moment of clarity” or whatever you want to call it when I felt reality hitting me upside the head like I'd just been whacked by a 2x4 hard. Yes I might be making a lot of money in the sex industry but as far as society was concerned I had absolutely no value in it's eyes because of it no matter whether it was “legal” or “illegal”.

As someone in sex work, legal or not, I never saw whole communities organizing searches in the middle of the night and in freezing weather dragging out the blood hounds to go and find the bodies of women like us as they did for others who were called “housewives”, “mother's” or “secretaries”. That someone who I looked down upon like I had been looking down on maybe a convenience store clerk would have more “value” in society's eyes than someone like me. Sex worker was a job title but a statement of who I was as a person so who had I been kidding all this time?

This was the first time I stopped looking at cash and began looking at things like “value”. At one of my all night coffee outings with my first sponsor, Paul, he had me pull out a piece of paper and list how much money I made on a good month in the industry. I happily wrote down the $30,000 aweek from the phone sex operation, and $10,000 a night from when I went to a movie star's house in Bel Air and “entertained” him during a coke binge when he couldn't even get an erection, and proudly showed him how much money I could make on a good month during my prime.

Then he wrote a big slash down the page and titled one side “Income” with the other side titled “Expenses”. Here he told me to list the attorney's fees, fines, probation fees, surveillance equipment, my gun, self-defense training, car alarms, the cost of money laundering, my expenses, overhead, condoms, lubricants, laundry services, maids, ordering food out because I was too busy or exhausted to cook, moving in the middle of the night to avoid arrest or death threats from a pimp, what I paid doctor's to treat me without notating it on my account so I wouldn't have something incriminating me as an illegal prostitute, and basically write down every single thing the industry “cost” me including the money the police had confiscated from me, the jewerly they're stolen from me because they knew it would just be auctioned anyway since I couldn't prove I'd gotten it from a “legit” source, and right down to how much my pager cost me very month.

I was devastated when I realized not only was I operating at a loss most of the time, but further I hadn't paid a dime into my FICO so I also now had no social security to fall back onto. For all my bragging and self-flattery I'd been doing to myself about how much of the”high life” I was living as a sex worker that clerk at a convenience store was probably making more of a profit monthly than I was. Sure I looked more wealthy on the outside but here I was with it all taken from me by LAPD in two shakes because of how I'd obtained it all illegally. Sure I could claim some of the stuff back IF I could produce receipts or the testimony of people about who and why gave it to me. So I didn't even really own what I thought I'd owned after all even.

Then if I wasn't feeling stupid enough at this point yet he asked me to now write down all the things the industry had “cost” me other than money. He wanted me to look at the types of friends I had in the industry. How Alex Adams, who I thought was my “friend”, was really an FBI informant who had been part of putting me me behind bars. All the nights I thought I was confiding in her as a friend were being recorded and then used against me when I didn't do what these government men wanted me to do.

When I wouldn't sell them the women they wanted me to sell them then I had the same thing happening to me I've learned is the pattern – we're arrested, given the walk of shame, our faces and names plastered all over the press so we didn't stand a chance of being able to leave the sex industry for any other type of work. Then once we had no other options but to continue on as a madam or escort because of the press, the restrictions probation had put on us, losing everything during the arrest – then when they came back to us again THIS time asking us to do what they want us to do we're much more cooperative So for all the money I thought I was making I was now right in the gutter with the rest of the gutter trash. Because I'd now also lost control over my life and all dignity as a human being.

Those were the things no amount of money could buy me back if I allowed that to happen to me and if I didn't leave the sex industry behind right then and there. Now am I saying this about anyone else other than me? No. I was the one in that position and no one else. This list I was writing out about what the industry was costing me was my list and my list alone. Every person on this earth has to decide what they can live with and what they can't. We all have to decide for ourselves what we value and how much. So in some ways this inventory I was doing was part of my First Step as well as what became part of my Fourth Step.

I strongly recommend all new members who are coming in saying to themselves “How am I ever going to cope with not making this amount of money” to do such an inventory for themselves. I further want you to ask yourself who really has the wealth in this world? Those who are in sex work or? I mean seriously ask yourself how many billionaire strippers do you know? More important than how much money you are telling yourself you can make IN the industry I want you to think ask yourself how much you're LEAVING the industry with. For that matter, how much ANY of us leave the industry with. In the 30 years now I've answered this hotline I'd yet to see ONE of us, and I mean a ONE, who has left the industry with a $1.00 to their name.

I remember once a woman who had been working at the legal brothels of Nevada bragging to me about her million dollar retirement account she was going to leave with when she retired at 50 years of age. I kept hearing “I'm 48 now” and then I'm “49 years old now” as she was bragging to me she was going to retire at 50 years of age with her house paid and car paid for and her retirement account and nest egg of over a $1,000,000 she had squared away. I remember her insistence to me how she was “different” and therefore “not like the other girls” and how she was going to “show me” that you could leave this industry with money on you to show for it.

Now again I'm not saying there aren't men and women who don't leave the industry with money. I'm sure they're there. I just don't see them calling our hotline for help to leave the industry and doing so because they have a flushed our 401K retirement account. So far just about everyone who calls up our hotline tells me they can't even afford to buy a copy of our “Recovery Guide” when it was $4.99 to print.

It's also embedded in my brain how on the 50th year of this woman's life when she went to retire on that nest egg she'd been bragging to me about she had and why she was “different” and learned it had been raided by Bernie Madoff. All of it. Every penny gone. This woman now had to start over again from scratch at 50 years of age without enough money in the bank to play for some plastic surgery because she was now competing with 21 year old's who were now wondering “who the hell is this old broad?” coming out to stand in their line-up now. I tried to reach out to her when she went on her well deserved nervous breakdown after learning she'd been cleaned out. The brothel owners kept blocking me from reaching her. I learned she'd gone on a two year drug and alcohol binge before deciding she “didn't have a choice” but to go back to work at the ranch and “start over”. '

Of course we knew there were other options for her than to keep doing that line-up at 51 years old and up - but when she's only hearing the voices of the brothel owners telling her to “come back” as her source of making her income back then she's not going to probably think of those options. If she wanted to keep working at her age because she wanted to – I'd totally respect her decision. But when I see she's doing it because she's convinced there's “no other way” then I don't think that's the plan God has for us.

I remember seeing a documentary on how Colonel Sanders had hit a rock bottom at an advanced age. I think he was 50 years old when he created the method of making chicken he became known for. The film showed how he would pack up his equipment in the trunk of his car and drive from town to town introducing restaurant owners to his methods and recipes to franchise his idea. Mind you this was after he'd gone through a horrible business loss where he'd lost everything before starting over again essentially with just his chicken, a modified pressure cooker and a simple recipe.

There's stories of women like Grandma Moses who didn't start painting until she was 78 years of age, or of Jim Cramer who has the show “Mad Money”. He once lived in his car for a year while he was figuring out how to make a living off the stock market. The guy who made the Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion empire once was mixing up his lotions in a trash can while sleeping in his car he was so broke.

So there are stories upon stories of people who have lost everything and built their way to wealth, along with those who were in advanced years and who achieved success from a point of zero in this world. But I have YET to hear a story of an older sex worker who has done the same within the sex industry – legal or not. Now trust me I scan the news and I answer our hotline and I assure you'd I'd love to hear the story of one of us who leaves this industry with a bank roll. Key words being “leave”. Because it really is like gambling – anyone can win $1,000,000 on that table but it's another ball game entirely to leave the casino with that money in hand.

Even if I'm wrong, that's not the point here of this chapter. You're coming to us saying you don't see how you're going to be able to make the kind of money you're using to making in sex work now if you quit. You want to know how you're going to pay next month's rent or that next car payment that's coming due soon if you just up and quit. Okay, let's ask you this – have you ever tried to quit before? Have you ever quit the industry, got a job and supported yourself for a time outside of the industry?

Meaning guess what? You've had a “job” outside of the sex industry before coming to our program and what happened? You went back to sex work because that's where you are now. So did having a job, the house, the car, and all your ducks in a row back then stop you from returning to sex work? Nope. In fact, you probably did what about 99 % of us do.

You got yourself some horrible low paying job with some awful boss that you absolutely hated that any idiot could do and then when it didn't work out because it couldn't – you then got to say “See? It didn't work and I had to go back to sex work.” No different than the addict who goes back into the old neighborhood to tell his new friends how great he's doing staying clean and winding up loaded by morning with his old buddies. Or the alcoholic who goes into the piano bar “just to listen to the music” who winds up drunk by morning. It's called the “set-up”. If you have any idea how many of us I see getting some job at a fast food joint or a convenience store that clearly no one is going to call a career move and then when it doesn't even pay the rent the first month they get to throw up their hands and say “I knew this wouldn't work”. I mean come on what a set-up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It didn't work because “just quitting” doesn't work. This isn't a disease like alcoholism where all you have to do is “not take that first drink” and you're stringing together days of sobriety. To them, the more days they're sober the better they're going to do in life. Not so with us. We can't just “stop” and then all of our problems stop. Nor is going out to get someone to stick us in some residential program like we're animals in a shelter who can't manage our lives an answer either. Sooner or later we have to face the fork in the road for us. That day when we have to decide what in the hell we're going to do with our lives. Everyone on this earth has to decide how they're going to eat and put a roof over their heads and we can't stay children forever. At some point we have to decide this also.

But I acknowledge my experience isn't the same as some others. We have members for example who were pimped and/or trafficked who were lucky to escape the situation with their lives. One of our early members, Vanessa, had been chained to a bed for over a year while bikers sold sex with her to men they'd bring up to her room in a hotel they owned for sex. She had food brought to her room and her chain extended to the bathroom and this was her world for a year. One day there was a fire and she was suddenly free. This was in 1970's San Francisco and no one was going to believe her story. Besides, they had been injecting her with drugs to keep her sedated so very shortly she knew she was going to have to find drugs or she was going to be very sick very soon. All she had was the clothes on her back, not even a pair of shoes to her name.

The only thing she could think of to do was she'd noticed a bar down the street. Maybe there she could find a trick who would be able to get her enough cash to get some food, some dope a room for the night. What else were her options really? The homeless shelter back then wouldn't take prostitutes which in her daisy dukes and no shoes that's just what she looked like at the moment. Especially being as she hadn't been outside of a hotel room for a year and strung out on drugs as she was.

What do you do when you're trying to leave the industry, but you also got to eat? I used to have a terrible time with a woman in Las Vegas who would go up and down Las Vegas strip telling prostitutes “Jesus loves you” and promising them if they quit “cold turkey” then she would show them how her church could help them get off the streets. She's convince these women to come to her church, parade them around asking for donations to build her a residential program, and then send these women home. Well soon the 1st of the month came around and so did the rent coming due. The prostitutes, or ex-prostitutes, would start calling her wanting to know about how their rent was going to get paid. She'd tell them “Jesus will provide” and “I'l pray for you” and then she'd cut off the call!

I found out about this because these women in a panic would go online looking for a solution and come across our hotline. So I'm now getting a couple of women every month calling me up in a panic as they've got kids and a 5 day eviction notice in their hands and they've already done things like thrown out their “Black Book” and cut off their cell phones. I'm now having to file a Stay of Eviction to buy them some time, and then I'm the one frantically running around either trying to find them work or some local church or program that will assist them with the rent, all while assuring them it's all going to be okay if they just hang on. Of course they're feeling really betrayed and exploited at this point by what this religious fund raiser did because she's now raised over $1,000,000 to build her program while they're now stuck with no money in the house for their trust. On top of it they're now feeling even more pimped than they did on the corner.

With the women who contacted our hotline in this panic, we managed to get them all sorted out without them having to resort to going back to the sex industry. Like anyone who has a financial crisis in life due to death, divorce, disease or losing their job – we got them through it and they're doing fine now paying their bills other ways than through prostitution. They just had to “come to believe a power greater” could “restore some sanity” to their lives. The group working together was able to always figure out some solution for those calling us in a panic.

But what about Vanessa? Would it have been wrong for her to turn a trick to pay for her supper? I used to have a terrible fight with a methadone clinic we once had a meeting at. These women were only allowed to stay in the residential program for 30 days. Then they were booted out whether they had any new place to stay, a job, any money, etc. Meaning if they hadn't found a job or housing then that's where they were at 30 days – right back on the street corner. What would happen is they'd not come to a meeting until about the 27th day. Then they'd come in crying they “needed money and a place to stay” and all they were looking for out of us was cash - not a program.

It didn't matter if we gave it to them or they got it from a trick off the corner – these women didn't care where the money came from and to them we were just another “trick” if we handed over cash to them to help. We aren't a bank, a landlord nor an employer and as a “fully self-supporting” program it wasn't our place to pay their rent to keep them off the streets. That would make about as much sense as us telling an alcoholic in AA we'd pay their rent for them as long as they stayed sober. That's not working a program for anyone by anyone's standards.

What we did do was to tell the methadone program they clearly weren't being responsible to their clients to focus only on their methodone, doing nothing about their housing and employment situation for them, then boot them out after 30 days with sticking us in the middle to try and do what they aren't doing. They were the ones getting federal grant money to run their program, so it wasn't right to use us as free labor to not buckle down and hire someone to deal with this gap which was literally forcing these women in our opinion to not even see the point of bothering to get out of prostitution if they were just going to be homeless in 30 days.

So we advised the women they were legal residents of this program and were not required by law to leave the premises in 30 days if they didn't want to. As legal residents, they could insist on staying until properly legally evicted and thus getting out when they were good and financially ready to get out if they didn't want to go back to prostitution because of not having other options. We advised them if they wanted, they could exert their legal right to remain and stay until either legally evicted from the premises, or they found work and housing. But either way there was choices to simply having to say “oh I've got no choice” and going to stand on the corner. We were helping them to find a way to deal with “life on life's terms” without the use of drugs, alcohol, nor prostitution.

But this still leaves us with women in situations like Vanessa's. For cases like this, we refer to what an addict in Narcotics Anonymous would do when a doctor insists the taking of a drug is something that has to be done or the person could die. I remember during the delivery of my daughter my blood pressure soared so high they told me I had no choice – it was either take the pain medication or risk both of us dying right there in delivery. I let them give me the pain medication, but I didn't consider it a relapse. The doctors were telling me it was something I had to take to survive, and therefore not a “relapse” or me using the drug to “get high” or “avoid dealing with life”. I certainly didn't make myself pregnant with high blood pressure just to have an excuse to take a pain killer.

The Bible talks about how when in a situation where you are starving you can “legally” steal food. It takes about how when you're back on your feet however, you replace what was stolen “seven fold” along with making your “amends” to those you stole from. If prostitution, stripping, or porn performing is illegal where you're at, or something you would consider a “relapse” because you're working a program of abstinence from sex work, but it does get down to the point where it's starve or trick – then if the Bible allows for you to steal to survive hunger, and even Narcotics Anonymous has guidelines for how to use drugs in recovery without it being a relapse – then I would take this to be a guideline. If you literally can find no other options – then look to the story of Mary also in the Bible. When confronted, all Jesus told her was to “go and sin no more”. Do what you got to do, then the minute you don't got to – go and “sin no more”. Make whatever amends you need to “except when to do so would injure them or others” and move on. If even an addict finds themselves in situations like child birth where even they have to put a drug in their system to survive – the rule of thumb is whatever it takes to preserve life. You can worry about the “quality” of that life once you've taken another breath, or taken care of any child or animal depending upon you also. No one in this program is going to hold against you surviving.

Now this doesn't give you license to go out and spend your rent money on a dress and then turn around and say “oh I have no choice”. We're talking if you've truly exhausted all options, tried to work things out with our program to the best of your ability, and you truly have no other choice to survive but to cross that line to take that first “transaction”. Again, the minute it's possible to stop – stop. Make amends and then move on. If you're not in a situation where you can stop just yet, well then start working on your plans. No one loses 100 pounds in one day – sometimes things take time to go from point A to point B. As long as your “desire” is there and you're moving towards your goal of quitting – that's the main thing to focus on. If again you can't lose 100 pounds in one day we also understand sometimes things take time. Just stay focused on your exit plan then and keep moving forward.

Especially if you are in a situation where you are being forced or threatened in some fashion. The rule of thumb is to always make sure you are “not injuring” anyone, including yourself first. If your leaving the industry endangers your life or that of others, then you need to stop, back up, and get in touch with someone in our program immediately. Then start working on your exit plan. Exit plans are different in every situation. Sometimes you can just leave. Other times you need to diffuse your pimp or captor first before you can safely leave. In this situation, you have to go by what won't harm another person or yourself first when making your exit plan. Sometimes it's as simple as calling 911 while other times it might require a whole sting storage. Your situation might even call for something as drastic as running off to Canada where they don't extradite for child custody or even living “off the grid” for a while to further protect you and your family.

As long as you have an exit plan in place and you're moving towards your goal, then we understand these things take time. We don't care if you come to a meeting in full stripper regala for years – as long as your “desire” is there, combined with you having an exit plan put together with people who have effective experience in such things, and you moving forward with those plans step by step – then you're a welcome member of this program and we want to be there to help you through all of this. That's why we're here – to do together what we can't do by ourselves. To “keep what we have by giving it away”. Even God who led the slaves out of Egypt didn't see fit to bring his people to their new home for 40 years. That was 40 years of eating manna and walking the desert – but they did wind up free people, no longer slaves, and in their new homes.

But if you're still sitting there saying “I'd like to quit but I got a car payment in three days so I'm still not clear what to do here.” Welcome to life honey. Everyone in this world has some thing like a day when they get fired right before the car payment is due. Then do they go out and turn a trick or grab a gun and rob a bank?

No. They sit down and “figure out” what they're going to do about the car payment. They either turn the car back into the lot so their credit isn't harmed, they ask for an extension, they sell the car, they get a payday loan, or they find a way to make that payment. Other people figure out a solution other than picking up the phone and booking a date. Remember, there's a huge difference between a car payment and staring into the faces of six kids who need dinner in an hour and you don't have a slice of bread nor a penny in your pocket. When you're talking about sustaining life – this when you can start entertaining ideas about making an “exception” for yourself of the “no first transaction” rule.

That's what “other” people do who aren't us is figure these things outo some “other way” and this is your perfect chance to now live “life on life's terms” and join the human race who now have to figure ut like everyone else in the world who has to figure out how to make a car payment when they've lost a job. Think of it like robbing a bank. It's not something you consider doing lightly or often.

Still don't know what to do? Go ask someone who has been in that position what they did. If you can figure out how to get away from a manic coming after you high on drugs who hasn't slept in a week chasing you with a machete and calling you by the name of his ex-wife – then you can figure out how to deal with a little old thing like a car payment without “taking that first transaction”. There are people all over this world and throughout history who have gotten through hard financial adjustments without resorting to “turn a trick” or hopping on that stage or jumping in front of the camera to manage things.

Welcome to the real world. It's called “life”. Many people will tell you it revolves around a lot of other things besides money. In fact, there's some people out there who tell you they have things they wouldn't sell for any amount of money. Now's the time when you pull out your own “inventory” and figure out what those things are for you now in recovery. The answers are all provided to you to find solutions. You can “pray for knowledge of God's will for you and the power to carry that out” along with taking a “group conscience” where “God's will may express itself” through members of this program. This is where you sitting down with your sponsor and other members of this group becomes a valuable part of the recovery process for you.

Because instead of us answering this question for you about “How are you going to ever manage without making that kind of money?” as you did in sex work, we're going to instead ask you to define all those things “other” than money which are more important to you you need to be focusing on instead of that money. To us, it's like sitting around asking us to tell you when to hit that crap table to win the big prize. It just doesn't work that way and even if it did – again we haven't seen a lot of people leaving the casino with the money in hand.

Besides, we can assure you this one thing about recovery. If you are in line with what “God's will” is for you then we do know the “power to carry it out” will appear. The red sea will part when you're standing at the edge of it needing to move on. But if you want to go back to the land of Egypt – well then no the sea isn't going to part. So you need to tell us what you're moving towards and the rest will all start to move forward across that new wet path!

(copyright 2016 J. Williams all rights reserved)







































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