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February 03, 1984 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-03
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students was that they have the deter- presentation at a Catholic school, one because I get tired and anxious every
mination and will to get an education." woman approached Fields and told of day." Meditating has no connection
"The staff provided the support you how her son had been drinking. She had with religion in any form, another
need - like a family," said Fields. The acknowledged it, but not as a problem. popular misconception.
outstanding faculty at Miles, a great The boy graduated from alcohol to In his present position, Fields super-
percentage of whom were white, were drugs and eventually killed himself. vises people who have been in trouble
willing to take a drastic cut in pay and According to Fields, this graduation and tries to help them straighten them-
teach at this small Christian college is a common experience, and drinking selves out. "You have to deal with your
because they were concerned 'and is a BIG problem, particularly among problems internally first, though."
willing to make a commitment to help, college students, and he has seen it on A great majority of the people Fields
despite prestigious educational campuses all over the nation, no mat- comes in contact with are substance
Growing Up in a Rural Area backgrounds and unlimited job oppor- ter the size or academic atmosphere. abusers.
By David Fields tunities. However, this fact is never "You just don't hear about it as much "Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, pills - if
Vesta Publications publicized much. because it's kept in the family, and a lot you would remove and restrict such
"The media greatly underplays of kids are employed so they have substances completely, then you would
$6.50 whites' involvement in the black money for booze. More kids I've treated see a drastic decline in crime, marital
By Antoinette Fleis movement," Fields said. This is very have said "please, don't tell my mom!" problems, and an incline in general
important because, "for a people to ad- Fields does not view drinking itself as societal improvement.
vance they must be educated." the problem, but the abuse. His self-imposed mission is to spread
D RINKING PROBLEMS, racism, Fields received his masters in "If you're using it as a crutch, to this message through educational radio
meditation, and the transition Sociological Foundations from Eastern escape, then that's bad, he continued., and TV, among other methods. He now
from rural life to suburbia are several Michigan University and returned Fields feels that once in a while to 'have a does workshops for high schools and
of the intriguing topics discussed in home to Alabama, but "If you weren't a ball' isn't so bad if it's in control and not other groups, and is scheduled to make
David Fields' book, Growing-Up in a preacher or a teacher there were no just to get high. Alcohol abuse often a presentation to the Educational
Rural-Area. By touchig on a variety of jobs." leads to drug use and abuse. Broadcasting Program to be aired this
topics, Fields uses the book to make a Having friends and family in Detroit, While doing doctorate studies at the month. His presentations center around
statement with tremendous social im- Fields migrated there in 1972; and University of Michigan and Notre his experiences - the transition from
pact. Fields, who is now the manager of a worked extensively with drug addicts. Dame, Fields was still drinking rural lifestyle to city living, race
halfway house in downtown Detroit, "That was a profound experience. I heavily. Survival through this period is relations, alcoholism - all struggles
centered the book around his per- really got .an education - on drugs. attributed to his wife as "she was that affect all of us regardless of our in-
sonal experiences leading up to his Drugs are bigger than any person and always 100 percent in my corner." dividual backgrounds.
present position. they will win -- that's very apparent to "People must learn they have to
The book was intended for-adolescen- me. ' t v Nevertheless, his drinking problem i'ealize the consequences of their ac-
ts and college students. By sharing This is a topic Fields has ease remained until he began meditating, af- tions. You may not pay now, but you
something that involved himself, Fields relating to. At the start of his college ter researching the process and will pay later."
hoped this would enable them to relate career Fields began drinking becoming impressed with the results. Fields hopes to return to Alabama
more easily to his thoughts. He sums up primarily due to the constant pressures' As with alcoholism, he avoids use of one day, possibly to become involved in
his book's overall message as "Don't to which he was subjected. His alcohol the phrase transcendental the restaurant business and teach com-
give up - you have to keep trying to consumption continued to escalate meditation as people have a negative munity college courses. He would also
overcome obstacles and never lose during the rest of his college life, connotation of the term without under- like to finish his doctorate studies.
sight of your goals." This is a motto he Fields had a reputation as a drinker, standing the actual process. For now, he is planning to publish a
has evidently practiced himself. but not a 'partier,' because he was Fields describes transcendental new book about community-based
Born and raised in a rural community meditation as a relaxation technique. corrections centers. His first book was
in southern Alabama, he was deter- tolerance level and was able to easily It's necessary for us to take our bodies "a learning experience. Reading it
mined to better himself, and felt one conceal his drunkenness. He does not out of motion and relax, and we haven't now, there are a lot of things I would
way to advance was by attending a use the word "alcoholism" to describe been trained to do that."'Meditating have done differently and so many
prestigious university, in this case the his condition, but rather the phrase enabled him to eliminate anxieties he things I left out."
University of North Alabama, where he oexcessive drinking problem." had picked up over the years. Because His second book will be more
was one of a handful of blacks. this is a primary -cause of problem academic, delving into the philosophy
In a recent interview, Fields spoke of "We all need an outlet, you just need drinking, once the tension was elimian- behind correction centers, their pros
the subconscious racial discrimination to know yourself and your limits." He ted the problem disappeared. and cons, and will attempt to show the
which, combined with the race friction stated most people are unaware of When asked if he continues to advantages of having correction cen-
and turmoil so characteristic of the problem drinking. After a workshop meditate every day, he replied, "Yes, ters in the community.

1960s, contributed to an "extremely
traumatic experience" 'for him. He
quietly related the story of receiving an
assignment to write a paper about one's
hero. Fields' subject was the enter-
tainer who embodied Fields' ideals by
developing his talent and escaping the
adverse conditions he had been raised
in. A close white friend of his had writ-
ten his paper on John Wayne. Even
though of comparable quality, Fields
received a 'D' while his friend received
an 'A' simply because the teacher could
not relate to Fields' choice of a hero.
"I had basically different values
from the white city kids I was going to
school with," he said. Now he feels this
type of situation would not happen so
readily, as everyone receives "more
exposure; not just one segment but
broader thinking."
Despite improvements and more
awareness regarding race relations,
according to Fields, "We now evidence
a different type of racism. Certain
areas are still limited.
"I can remember when the signs said
'colored' and 'white.' I hope by the
time my kids grow up we'll be a 'color-
blind' nation," he continued.
Fields' experience at an all-white
university w'as one determining factor
in his transfer to Miles College in Bir-
mingham, Alabama, where he received
his B.A. in sociology.
At Miles, all that was required of the

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16 Weekend/February 3, 1984

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