I’ve shared this photo of me hugging a little girl a few times on
Allow me to share with you the significance of that photo, and
how a tiny child undoubtedly changed my world dramatically.
On my most recent trip to the Philippines, I had allowed an old
problem that I’ve written about before to creep back into my
In my autobiography, I shared my struggles with alcohol
addiction, feelings of inferiority, and lots of other “very
That’s what Dr. Joe Vitale was referring to when in his blurb for
my bio he wrote:
“Talk about an inspiration! I personally know Willie but I never
knew his life story. This poor black youth overcomes welfare,
mental limitations from within and cultural limitations from
around him, only to become one of the Internet good-guys and
heroes. A rare story from a rare man. I love this book!”
As I sat in a dream setting, on a really, really beautiful
Philippine beach overlooking the South China Sea, I gave myself
permission to have a few of the bottles of gin readily available
at the little sari-sari stores on practically every street
A pint of gin only costed 50 cents… so it was practically a
no-brainer if I were going to get drunk. It fit conveniently in
my pocket, and I thought… relatively unnoticeable.
Relatives noticed my drinking and grew concerned, and they
encouraged me to drink like the rest of my drinking in-laws and
They would mix just a little whiskey with a LOT of water, or have
about a 1-ounce shot, followed by a full glass of water.
Most of them also only seem to drink beer…
That crap was for wimps. I drank my gin straight, often just
filling a 12 oz or so glass… and certainly not spoiling it with
After being pleaded with enough about my drinking, I started
going to my favorite corner store and ordering a 16 oz bottle of
water and a pint of gin. I’d either drink the bottle of water
(staying hydrated as I should), or I’d simply pour out the
water… and fill the water bottle with gin.
The store owner, and many of the people hanging around that
corner where tricycles (taxis) often stopped, knew my routine and
were amazed at how I could drink that crap straight.
So, I often walked around various neighborhoods, just exploring,
usually on my own, sipping from my “water” bottle.
Of course, my in-laws were on to me, and often admonished me to
at least eat something first. One of my nephews even said, “We
love you very much and don’t want to watch you die!”
I often heard them speak of people that they knew who had died
from alcohol-related throat and stomach problems… and I could
certainly “feel the burn” as I guzzled the stuff.
Although I loved the food, and relatives often fixed dishes
specifically for me, I often didn’t want to fill up my stomach
with food! That meant that I couldn’t fit in more alcohol.
OH… the little girl…
She’s my nephew’s daughter, and whenever they came over to visit
the “compound” where I was staying… my mother-in-law’s beach
resort, she would seek me out and hang around me… practicing
her English 🙂
She grew very attached to me, and I loved her.
Here little sister was at first a little leery of this big,
graying, half-drunk Black guy 🙂
I was one of only two Blacks in the immediate area… that I knew
of, and I never met the other guy.
At times, I’d sit at a nearby beach-side cantina, and someone
there would strike up a conversation, and casually say, “There’s
another guy like you living over there.”
They would point to a nearby, large house, surrounded by a high
fence… as many neighborhood houses were.
As my vacation progressed, we traveled to a few tourist traps and
usually the little girl sat next to me in the van, or held my
hand as we walked around sight-seeing.
She noticed that I was shaking a lot (as I was detoxing) on more
than one occasion, and asked me “Are you cold?”
I smile and assured her that I wasn’t but that brought into focus
just how much the alcohol was affecting me physically.
She also looked into my eyes one day and asked, “Are you sad?”
I assured her that I wasn’t and she told me that sometime she
Fast-forward to today, and I don’t drink AT ALL… and have no
Whenever I see my little angel’s photos, which her mom frequently
shares on social media, it just reminds me of how sometimes “God”
speaks to you through just the right person.
For those of you afraid of that word… “God”… don’t worry.
I can completely accept YOUR conception of God, or even your
belief that perhaps there is no God.
I just feel that my spirit is connected to that little girl’s…
and appreciate that she, in her innocence, could communicate with
me so clearly.
My feel-good story for today 🙂