Bill Duke On The Day He Stopped Taking Drugs

Bill Duke, Actor/Filmmaker/Author: True story
and very few people knew this ever happened. I’m sitting at my monitor one day and the
assistant says “Do you know who is standing behind you?” I said “What are you talking about?” “Gordon Parks.” I said “Get out of here, I’m working. Stop playing.” He said “No, Gordon Parks is standing right
behind you.” He’s one of my heroes. So I turn around and he says “Don’t get
up, don’t get up.” And he walks to me and he puts his hand on
my shoulder and he says “Never stop.” I just looked at him and…[is speechless]. He walked away and I was like…you’re given
signs from the Universe you know and he was one of the things that propelled me into continuing
because whenever you get depressed or something and you want to stop and you don’t stop
because of those people who came along and said “Don’t you ever think of stopping.” Because I’m not going to lie to you there
are times I wanted to give up because it’s like hard. But then you think of the people who loved
you enough to encourage you, you don’t stop. And it’s also your family’s legacy. Could you justify stopping? Hell yeah! Is it unfair? Yes. If you don’t fit into certain boxes is it
prejudice? Yes. Are there people who don’t like you because
of the color of your skin? Yes. Are there people who don’t like you because
you are as smart as them? Yes. I mean if the boogeyman has got his foot on
your neck, you have one of two choices. He’s ten times bigger than you, he’s 15
foot tall and my neck is cracking, I might as well surrender. That’s one choice. Or…if his foot is in your mouth you can
bite his toe. I choose toe biting because you know what? The bogeyman’s toe taste good. It really does. It has those little…it’s meaty and chunky…[imitates
eating] it’s good. Film Courage: It’s a light snack. Has meditation helped you notice gratitude? Because I think some people see signs that
do tell them to keep going and it sounds like you’ve taken certain things to heart and
know that this wasn’t just a coincidence or I was meant to hear this. I was meant to have this hand on my shoulder. I was meant to have someone take away my journal
in what seems like a bad thing and she reads it but then something great comes of it. Bill: Meditation saved my life. I was taught meditation (Transcendental Meditation
– TM) by a good friend of mine when I was in a Broadway play and doing very well but
I had gotten into substances because there are times in which the struggle is so difficult,
I was working and challenges and I just overloaded. And I ended up at a point where in a Broadway
play I’d be late to work and they told me “Don’t be late anymore.” And I came late again and they said your understudy
is going in and I got pissed off and my friend who saw this said “Bill, you’re sinking
fast. You have to do something.” I said “Like what?” See says “I know you like the drugs and
alcohol but try meditation.” I said “Those whoo-whoo people. Get out of here.” So it got worse and then she said “Try it.” Okay, I’ll try it. So I tried it a couple of times, it was interesting
but I was still taking substances. And then after awhile she said “I’ll tell
you what, I’ll make you a deal.” She said “If you meditate for six weeks
without taking any substances of any kind and if you still want substances after six
weeks, I’ll buy you an ounce of anything you want.” And I’m thinking “Boy! An ounce of anything I want? Are you kidding me? I’ll take this bet with you.” I just knew it wasn’t going to work. The first two weeks I felt something like…more
ease, less stress. Second and third week, more focus. Fourth and fifth week, the peace that I was
getting out of the substances, I was getting through meditation and more. I was getting a deeper sense of something
I can’t even explain. I haven’t touched substances since that
day and that was in 1974. I became a TM teacher. It’s changed my life too. I can’t even tell you, it’s hard to explain. I could tell you more stories about what I’ve
been through but that was God working again showing me Transcendental Meditation. It changed my life for my own salvation. The lady who asked me to turn around and Miss
Walker and Dr. Hall, its…I recognize these things and people are going to think I’m
crazy because “God is doing this.” “What does your God look like?” “I don’t know? I know he is there. I trust because there are things that have
happened that I know.” I’ll give you another example, it’s in
my book.


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