Burks states, “At the root of any addiction is pain (ADDICTION = PAIN) whether it is an addiction to anger, sex, work, gambling or other issues. The root of the pain may be unresolved childhood trauma or internalized standards from society that cause a negative sense of self-worth. Societal standards can be religious upbringing, a pressure to attain a certain level of financial success, or needing to be physically attractive. When people spend countless hours aspiring to these standards the result is unbearable pain. How then do individuals deal with the pain? They turn to the addiction of their choice or the addiction of their upbringing.”
In The 4 STEPS: A Practical Guide to Breaking the Addictive Cycle
, A.D. Burks shares how he worked each step and provides a working format through questions to help readers utilize The 4 STEPS for themselves. Burks feels that STEP 1: Re/Establish Your Relationship with God is the most crucial of all the STEPS. Without a relationship to a God of our own understanding, no recovery is possible.
Charles W. Harvey is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Houston. He has studied fiction under the guidance of Rosellen Brown and Chitra Divakaruni at U of H. He has studied poetry under Joyce James and Cynthia MacDonald. In 1987, Charles was a 1st place prize recipient of PEN/Discovery for Cheeseburger, which went on to be published in the Ontario Review. In 1089 Charles was awarded the Cultural Arts Council of Houston Grant for Writers and Artists. Also in 1989, he was a finalist in the McDonald's Literary Achievement Awards. Charles has been published in Soulfires, Story magazine SHADE, High Infidelity, The James Write Review, and others. He is the author of the novels The Butterfly Killer, Promise Goodday, and Boy 4 Higher. He is also the author of several story and poetry collections.
After having written 2 books, Words Never Spoken and One Thing for Certain, Two Things for Sure, Stewart hosts a weekly podcast called SO MUCH TO SAY.
The first in his immediate family to graduate from college, Stewart attended Hampton University, where he received a degree in liberal arts. Originally a native of Baltimore, Stewart moved to Atlanta over a decade ago with dreams of making it in the music industry. Despite his passion and several opportunities to work with established artists and producers, Stewart eventually realized that his future was not just in music. He turned his attention to writing, and in 2002, his first play, A Day in the Life, opened at Atlanta’s 14th Street Playhouse.
In 2004, Stewart founded his own greeting card company, Say It in a Card, LLC. Stewart has written for the Atlanta-based theater company, Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA)—an organization supported and funded at one point by actress & philanthropist Jane Fonda. His greeting card business (Say It in a Card) has been very successful and his talents have won him the prestigious honor of writing personalized cards for such high-profile clients as Darius Miles of the Portland Trailblazers and award- winning recording artist Brandy. Stewart has also co-produced a number of reality show projects in partnership with Kenny Leon Productions and with noted television personality and world-renowned fashion expert Dwight Eubanks of the Atlanta Housewives. But, Stewart’s passion and efforts reach beyond his artistic career. Stewart has facilitated workshops designed to educate African American homosexual men regarding sex and the facts about HIV.
Ian Haddock - www.normalanomaly.com
Ian L. Haddock is the author of the short-story fiction book, Practice Boy
and upcoming follow-up, Dope Boy
. He is also an esteemed curator of www.normalanomaly.com specializing in articulating stories and think pieces for Black LGBT people. He has had the honor of writing for publications such as Huffington Post, Outsmart Magazine, EFNIKS Magazine, Urban Socialites and is a Brand Ambassador for TUV Magazine. Along with his published work, he is a social engagement expert specializing in coordinating events and speaking at venues to entice the communities he intersects to think, laugh, be empowered and take action. With his vast knowledge in social media engagement, public health practices and policies, consistent personal brand of being an overcomer along with his eye for design and practicality, he is creating a narrative for himself that inspires people to follow their dreams and create their visions. Further, he sits on the board of the Insight Brotherhood: a new gay men’s resource for culture, politics and health information and is also the Co-Founder of the newly created “So Black, So Gay” Team.
John Collins is an Army brat originally from Detroit, Michigan. He is the eldest of two children. He joined the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school, serving 14 years before accepting an honorable discharge in September 2012. He started writing at the age of 16, by keeping a journal depicting thoughts and feelings he was told by society, church, and family were shameful. The idea of writing a book came about after he sat down to compose a three-page essay illustrating the experience he had after his parents discovered he was same gender loving. He began the manuscript to ‘Virgin to the Life
’ in early 2007, self-publishing his work in March of 2013. His follow-up novel, ‘Sounds of Burned Silence
’, was released February of 2014, followed by his current work, ‘Poetic Violence
’, released August 2015. All titles can be purchased in paperback and e-book format through Amazon.com, as well as iTunes. John currently works full time for the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively pursuing a degree in English Literature. He continues to write more material for his ongoing series, performs Spoken Word, winning the Atlanta Slam title for 2015’s AHF SpeakOut.org, volunteers in the community when time and opportunities present themselves, and host’s a monthly invigorating forum entitled, The Virgin Book Club. This platform is a solution-driven dialogue, which offers empowerment, and builds a network to address and combat a myriad of issues that affect Same Gender Loving men of color. John is a dedicated force within the community answering a call he knows was purposed by God.
Monika M. Pickett is a former advertising sales executive with the Washington Times and the National Society of Black Engineers. She is a veteran of the United States Army. She served as a medic in Operation Desert Storm and received an honorable discharge in 1991. She earned a Masters of Human Services degree from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 2001 and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland in 2005. She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Novelist M.W. Moore, the NCAA track-and-field champion who captured the conscience of readers with his extraordinary fact-based autobiography about a falling star, shines again with the upcoming release of his next novel that shows him making the transition to prison after robbing six banks in the Houston area.
The former crack-cocaine and sexual-addict, tells how his middle-class Baptist upbringing is challenged behind bars and how his college education seemed inconsequential when you’re a felon alongside criminals of various backgrounds.
While his first book, “For What I Hate I Do,” explored the conflict in Moore’s life, the soon-to-be released sequel, “Internal Chaos,” starts the harsh journey toward conquest. But he discovered that prison itself is an adventure that can be life-threatening as he sought his identity, confronted temptations and witnessed mayhem.
Moore, who once competed against or shared the spotlight with legendary Olympians Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, and Florence Griffith-Joyner, is a sought-after speaker who eloquently and courageously tells about the dark side of addictions and its consequences, including HIV.
Despite the risk of being ridiculed, rejected and vilified, Moore stands firm to his purpose: Tell all to help all. And he does so by removing the veil that often hides our deep secrets. For him, honest exposure is the best testimony one can offer.
Moore, who attended Mississippi State University and West Texas State University, is the third of five children. He is a native of Houston, Texas, where he still resides.
Toni Newman - www.tonidnewman.com
Toni Newman is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BA degree and studying now to obtain her juris of Doctorate degree (JD). She is the Chief Development Officer for Maitri Compassionate Care in San Francisco. Her Story is about being your authentic self and never give up on your dreams.
In 2011, Toni wrote her memoir I Rise-The Transformation of Toni Newman discussing her 25 year difficult transition. The memoir I Rise was nominated in 2012 in 2 categories for the Lambda Literary Awards, honored in 2012 by Wake Forest University for Faces of Courage, and has been featured in the Advocate, Huffington Post and Ebony magazine. Toni is the Community Editor for Proud to Be Out-The Digital Magazine and a blogger for Huffington Post’s Gay Voices.
Toni is very passionate about service and helping the underprivileged. She and her partner of 13 years volunteers to several homeless groups and believes giving back is the key to success.
Victor L. Carrington
Victor L. Carrington born in Nuremberg Germany but raised in the United States. He enjoys spending time with his friends, including his best friend Carolyn Stephens. He likes to travel, read, and shop. Victor also loves to laugh. With all he has endured, laughter keeps him going. He currently works in Corporate America and volunteers at food banks and shelters. Victor received his B.S. from Shaw University and currently resides in Dallas TX.
By the Grace of God, Victor was able to turn tragedy into triumph through hard work and dedication. He hopes his writing will help encourage young men and women not to give up even when the deck seems stacked against them, but to continue fighting. Persistence and diligence can bring their own reward. With constant barriers to break, he hopes to change the mindset of society by living an example: released inmates can lead productive, honest, and legal lives if given the opportunity. Victor hopes by sharing his journey, he helps others live in the truth of being who they are without fear of being judged and criticized because they’re different.