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Topics - Jimmy Cusick

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The Seed Discussion Forum / Gratitude
« on: March 31, 2005, 06:48:00 PM »
Times have changed my friends but lets think back to 1974. The Seed saved my life and for that I'm eternally grateful.

The Seed Discussion Forum / The Seed-------Did Art Barker succeed?
« on: February 06, 2005, 03:00:00 PM »
Maybe im schizophrenic because I have mixed feelings about the seed and my experience there. For years I hated  Art and many of the staff members. None of that remains as I have somehow forgiven them and have come to look at my upside down experience as an adventure. A drug free adventure into the universe of Arty Barker attempting to be a successful recovering alcoholic. Did he indeed succeed at saving kids? Not according to some of the folks that write on these pages. It is my humble opinion that he saved my life when it needed saving. For that I'm grateful.
A man that walked in Art's path is likely to be controversial, people from all walks of life have both loved and admired him as well as hated and disdained him. Seeing Art chauffered into the Seed in the maroon limo caused some resentments but look at what the guy accomplished------I was a hopeless, helpless kid from a dysfunctional family (I'm writing a book about that) and he forced me to do a 180 and straighten out my life. As they say drugs were only a symptom of underlying problems and the answer to my emotional troubles were found at the seed.
Did Art Barker take from me? Yes. He took my loneliness, my parental hatred and my anger and replaced them with caring staff, real friends and a newly developed atittude towards life.
So my friends , there you have it, my adventure in a nutshell.

The Seed Discussion Forum / 1974 memories
« on: January 29, 2005, 04:05:00 PM »
I spent the first half of 1974 trying to escape from a very dysfunctional family. My father was a newly sober alcoholic, my mother was "emotionally troubled". I had 3 sisters and a brother, they all found God at a young age and missed the drug barrage that occured in the Cleveland suburbs in the early 70's. I was an "oddball" skinny kid that wasnt smart enough to be a nerd and was to little to be an athelete(jock). My parents fought like cats and dogs and I discovered that marijuana made me feel better and I could sore out into the cosmos, trees were greener, the sky was blue, jokes were funnier. Smoking pot allowed me to be emotionally "free", I didnt have to encounter the families mental illnesses and i experimented with L.S.D., speed and downers.  I didnt get along with any kids my age and found refuge in drugs and music and fantasyland. My parents found some of my weed and decided I had a drug problem, they acted as though I were the scapegoat. At age 15 I was severely depressed, I was scared to death to go to school because I was threatened or beat up everyday or my lunch money was taken by some "bullies". Life at home was beyond my comprehension, my father was a perfectionist who was generally quiet but radiated anger. My mother cried alot. They argued and screamed and threw plates at almost every dinner meal. I still shudder at those memories. My parents somehow focused on "ME" as the family problem and put me in a mental ward. I had long hair and my eyes were hidden as I silently watched life take place outside of myself. I was depressed, sullen and withdrawn. My parents went through catholic charities and discovered some other families who's kids had been sent to the seed in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The next thing you know Im on my way to Florida via American Airlines.

July 1st, 1974 my father and I are standing in the swealtering heat outside the Seeds admission office on Highway 84. I met Libby but remember little else about the assesment, I know my parents had spoken on the phone with them and I was as good as gone. Hello future seedling!

Welcome to the front row at the seed inc.. A drug rehabilitation center for children. Founded and run by Art Barker  who was a recovering alcoholic himself. I remember looking out at the vast empty collection of chairs that awaited a Friday night open meeting when families would come to visit their kids. Behind me sat dozens of seedlings with short hair and white t-shirts, they had done their time on the "death row" and had become old-comers. I was a front row newcomer and met my first staff member, Robert Chun, he was the barber that introduced me to shears that gave me a marine haircut in a heartbeat. I sat through daily rap sessions that went on from 10:00A.M. to 10:00P.M. then a guy put his arm around me and escorted me to his house. His mother made us a late dinner and we talked more about the days events, I was living with the *** family, they had 2 kids in the seed Eric and Chris C***

My story goes on and on and on but since im not writing a book I will cut it short and just focus in on how the seed helped me. I am very aware of some folks dislike of the seed and how it affected them. The seed saved my ass(so to speak).
I gotta go so I will say that the seed was there when I needed it. Some of you will understand why I found a sanctuary on Highway 84.

Peace and Love to all seedlings,

The Seed Discussion Forum / Did the seed introduce us to a higher power?
« on: January 20, 2005, 02:48:00 PM »
Ive been wondering what role the seed played in my present day spirituality. When we worked the 3rd step-Turned our life and will over to the care of a higher power- Did that mean to assume we had a god of our understanding or to invent one or to use the group as a higher power?
As I remember Jesus Christ was the God of my childhood but I dont remember using him much in my teenage seed years. I did use the mountains, the tree's, the universe as cosmic higher power but I think that was after the seed.

I dont think I learned much about spirituality in the seed as I was taught to rely on self for the power to accomplish whatever it was that I was attempting to do. Why cant I remember learning anything about God? Did any other seedlings have similiar experiences? Let me know.

The Seed Discussion Forum / Sorry Folks, the Seed helped me!!!
« on: January 04, 2005, 03:58:00 PM »
I must admit when I was sent to the Seed in Ft. Lauderdale on July 1st, 1974 I was a mess. The Seed helped me put the pieces of the puzzle back together again. So what if the Seed wasnt altruistic in their true purpose, that may or may not have been to empower and finance Art Barker. I can only consider my individual experience which may have been initially rather negative but they saved Humpty-Dumpty by providing a physical enviroment where drugs or alcohol were impossible to obtain. In that enviroment they convinced me that my attitude was backwards and upside down. That occured through lots of moral inventories and countless rap sessions where I was led to believe(rightly so) that drugs(the druggie lifestyle)were bad.

There were vast improvements in my attitude and outlook on life once I became a part of the seed as its wheels turned in my foggy brain. I am sorry that some of you seedlings had more negative experiences than I.  St.Pete may have been more military-like in its younger days, I simply dont know about that. Nor do I have any input concerning other kids rehabs ie. CEDU/ straight inc.

I can say with certainty that I have forgiven Art Barker and ALL the Staff members. I did well in High School and surpassed others in the Marine Corps. My decisions (post seed, 5 years) were healthy ones based on my seedling learning experiences,  to disagree with some I really did learn how to get along with other human beings in the "real world". Both business and pleasure, we learned how to be honest and straight forward which I have found to be a rare quality in todays world. So as I recover(again)from addiction I find myself referring to the ideal's that were GIVEN to me in the seed.

50 day's clean and sober,but who's counting?

The Seed Discussion Forum / Thank goodness Christmas is over
« on: December 26, 2004, 09:38:00 AM »
I'm glad its the day AFTER Christmas. Kids appear to like it because they get gifts and presents. My adult christmas is vacant since my Mom died, I miss her and the enthusiasm she brought into the holidays. Parties are filled with plastic smiles and gallons of alcohol--------- Just what I dont need to be around.

The seed Christmas of 74 was at Hanks house(he became a staff member) we decorated the tree and had an awesome shaving cream fight. My parents sent presents that were under the tree on Christmas morning.

The Seed Discussion Forum / Memories of being clean and sober
« on: December 24, 2004, 12:37:00 PM »
I have been "straight" for 38 days. That means without any alcohol and drugs. I remember back to my days in the seed and being straight meant something. We frequently held raps on staying off the "dope". Remember step 1? We admitted we were powerless over drugs. I never really grasped that as a seedling, I just made a decision that because I was a part of a group of people that were straight, I would be straight too. As an adult and an addict I know what powerless means. When I pick-up a drink or a drug the phenomonom of craving kicks in and I continue to drink or use until I'm face down, in jail, the nut ward or out of money.

 I was a proud(sometimes embarrased)seedling as I went off to South Plantation High School and I held my sobriety close to my belt. In other words I KNEW that there had been a major change in my life(no drinking or drugs)and I was able to do what was neccessary to retain it. As a seedling I learned how to have fun and a good time without the "dope". I think I smiled more in the 5 years that I was clean and sober from the seed than I have in the past 25 years.

 Its no wonder that I have forgiven the seed and have showed some appreciation for what they gave me. On the other hand  I accomplished alot by doing internal work to improve and change my atittude towards life.

30 years after a scrawny little, acne faced kid became straight in the seed, he seeks the same rewarded sobriety after finding nothing but trouble in the bottle.

The Seed Discussion Forum / Gratitude
« on: December 23, 2004, 08:57:00 AM »
I thought it would be a good idea to jot down a few things for which I am grateful. T'is quite a snow storm going on in Greater Cleveland 2 days before Christmas and I'm sitting in a nice warm and cozy house eating holiday cookies and drinking hazelnut coffee. I was graced with 2 beautiful children in good health. Ages 19 and 20 they are enjoying their journey on this planet and are drug free after experimenting in their teenage years. My wife has put up with me for over 21 years and somehow we still live together and appreciate each other.

The seed saved my life and helped me to survive into adulthood. I can only imagine what would have happened had I not been sent to the Florida Seed to discover a new outlook on life.

Peace and Love to all seedlings,

The Seed Discussion Forum / Mikey slashing his wrists
« on: December 17, 2004, 01:33:00 PM »
I read the post on the guy that killed himself and I found that very "heavy". I really feel sorry for the guy and his family. Years have gone by but that doesnt make it any less than a disaster.

This post is about my WORST seed memory. I've successfully hidden it amongst the cobwebs in my cerebral graymatter. It appeared today, kinda like the tasmanian devil as I read about the suicide of a seedling.

In the winter of 74-75 I was living with the O'Neil's, they were a family from Cleveland Heights and Had 2 kids in the seed in Florida (Chris and John). We lived in an apartment in Plantation. For reasons I dont remember Mrs. O'Neil, a newcomer named Mike and I were alone in the apartment getting prepared to go into the seed. I was in the bedroom while Mike was in the bathroom and I must have been psychic because I remember seeing in my mind a wrist slashed and a razor blade cutting arteries. A moment later I heard Mike scream and I went into the bathroom to see that He had slit both of his wrists and the bright red blood was pumping out all over the place. I called Mrs. O'Neil and we both stood there and freaked for a moment. Then we got handtowels and wrapped his wrists and put belts on to make turnaquets? I had blood all over me but time had slowed down and at age 16 I was in control of the situation telling Mrs. O'Neil to get her car so we could take him to the hospital

My next memory is several days later he came into the group at the seed, he had surgery on both wrists and had thick bandages on his arms. I also remember Libby talking to me, she told me to try not to get to upset that it wasnt my fault and she patted me on the back for helping to save the kids life.

I just cant remember what prompted the kid to do that , obviously he didnt like himself very much but I dont recall if he was in any trouble at home or in the seed to propel him into a suicide attempt. :smokin:  :smokin:  :wave:

The Seed Discussion Forum / Finding Forgiveness
« on: December 15, 2004, 08:00:00 AM »
When I discovered this Forum 6 months ago my anger and hatred towards the seed expanded into rage. I wished Art Barker were dead, I thought most of the staff should be castrated or vivisectioned and the rich little spoiled kids that recieved special treatment should become heroin addicts living on the streets.

I was angry that I had been sent to the seed in Southern Florida for 12 hours a day, we ate peanut butter and jelly and bologna sandwiches, we sat in hard chairs in swealtering heat and had security at all the doors. We were constantly yelled at when we were newcomers, I had to start over as a newcomer and sit in the front row again for having a "bad attitude" towards my mother. Art Barker would come downstairs and talk to us, he would smile with his little cigarette holder and do the soft shoe shuffle dance, he was constantly surrounded by a "harem" of good looking well built girls. Robert Chun (black) drove Art around in a maroon limo. The list of incidents that angered me goes on and on but thats not what this post is about.

This post is about FORGIVENESS. Initially I grieved my teenage years much like a death in the family, I had lost something that I could never regain. Secondly I ACCEPTED Art and the staff for what and who they were. They did the very best that they could with what resources they had at the time, that suggests that I had unrealistic expectations for many years. Finally I FORGAVE. I was able to see that my parents sent me to the seed because they thought I had a serious drug problem. The seed actually really helped me change my attitude and develop a much brighter outlook on life. My heart softened and I embraced the countless good memories that I have of the seed. I am choosing to look on the positive side of my seedling experience and I suspect the seed was right all along when they talked about LOVE

Hi fellow seedlings,
     Remember that song. Wow , what memories. We sang about Love and Peace and Jingle bell's until our throats were sore. I am writing to convey my transformation to any seedling that cares to know. I've been reading this forum for about 6 months when I came on board I wrote from anger and rage towards the seed and the staff and Art Barker. I put down particular staff members and blamed the seed for my downfall in life. I considered the brainwashing that we all experienced extremely negative with long lasting affects. I blamed my parents for sending me to the Florida seed in the first place.

     After 6 months of thinking and feeling about the seed and my experience there I have a warm heart when I consider what realistically took place 30 years ago. I remember sitting on the front row hating everything and everybody for no particular reason but I must have been comical until Robert Chun(black staff member) cut my hair off.

     It is important that I have remembered my mental state of mind prior to coming to the seed. I was a sophmore in High School, I wasnt a jock, I wasnt a nurd, I tried to be a freak but I wasnt popular and didnt really fit in with them either. I was a loner. My father was an alcoholic and the family lived in perpetual chaos. I became extremely depressed and ran away from home during which time I was molested by an adult. Upon returning home my parents put me in a psychiatric ward suspecting a drug problem. They contacted a catholic charities in Cleveland and discovered other parents whose kids were sent to the Seed and off I went. In truth I had only experimented with drugs because I felt so unwanted and unlikeable I enjoyed killing the emotional pain.

     Back at the Florida Seed in the summer of 1974 I was taught about Love and Honesty. The sign on the wall that said "Your not alone anymore" meant alot to me. I was now a small part of a large group that was pretty cool. I remember thinking that Libby was just about the coolest person that ever lived. I followed directions and pursued some rather lofty ideals, some of the standards we discussed bordered on perfectionism. Over a period of months my attitude did a 180 and suddenly I was getting A's and B's in school where I had been getting D's and F's.   The seed rap leaders called our parents assholes but I learned to treat my parents with respect. I sought honesty both internal and external as we discussed that topic soooooooo many times in rap sessions. I started to like myself because I looked inside and discovered God's creation on the verge of blossoming. In the summer of 75 I lived with the Lee family, Jim and Bert and Walter, we spent countless hours on the ocean or innercoastal fishing and snorkeling and water skiing. Those were the best days of my life.

     I forgive the seed for what it did or might have unknowingly did to me. The "mind control" the "brainwashing", the hard chairs for hours and hours, the peanut butter and jelly and bologna sandwiches, the watered down kool-aid, and the fact that I never became part of the "inner circle". These were all components of a bigger picture that were neccessary and in fact required to change the "attitude" of a 16 year old lost kid in 1974

     The seed succeeded in pulling me "out of my head" as we all used to say. A spiritual transformation took place, a metamorphosis if you will. I changed internally as my behavior expanded my outlook on the purpose of life. I lived a very positive, Upbeat, honest life for almost 5 years and then I gave into the alcohol and drugs and have stayed there for 25 years. I very recently went through a rehabilitation center and I am going back in time to remember how I was able to make that incredible "change" that occured at the seed. Time will tell.

     The whole point of my blabbering is to let everyone know that the seed has a very special place in my heart. If those reading this are still full of anger from their experiences, please remember that we live in an unperfect world and the seed did the best they could with what they had.

                           Peace and Love

The Seed Discussion Forum / Love and Acceptance in the Seed
« on: December 05, 2004, 12:40:00 PM »
Hi fellow seedlings,

     I have been looking at the bright side of my seed experience and am attempting to "fast forward" the 14 months and 17 days during which my attitude changed tremendously (for the better). I felt as though I were a part of an incredible creation called The Seed that was going to change the world. Our job was to "carry the load " and set an example for other druggies. Although we didnt talk to them they were welcome to be a part of "US".

      I have become very familiar with Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and Half-way houses.(been there, done that) At no time in the experiences that Ive had since I went through the seed in 74, 75 have I felt the love and acceptance that I felt deeply and repeatedly from staff and countless seedlings. Obviously It was neccessary to behave the right way and say the right words when in groups but the purpose of our "brainwashing" was to support our changing our attitudes which by the way werent acceptable ( mine wasn't)

     I truly wish I were in a place similiar to the seed where I could share my "feelings" and talk about how I really feel in my heart and soul. The life I presently live which now includes A. A. is very superficial when compared to my days in Broward County. My acquaintances appear shallow in comparison.

     Does anyone else have similiar memories from our days gone by in the seed? Let me know.

[email protected]

The Seed Discussion Forum / Home from rehab 30 years after the seed
« on: December 04, 2004, 06:44:00 PM »
Hi Friends,

     I just arrived home from 19 days in  Glenbeigh Rehabilitation Center, outside Cleveland.  My drinking and cocaine use got out of control and I am newly clean and sober and plan to stay that way for at least the rest of the day. I thought alot about the seed. I miss the seed experience with all my heart and soul as I relive the summer of 1974 sitting on those hard chairs in the first few rows of the rap sessions. Present day rehab centers are pathetic and pitifully vacant when it comes to feeling like a part of them. They remain "for profit" corporations, so was Art Barker. The professional councellors are egotistical so were the seed staff members. The classes are very similiar to the seeds rap sessions and I fell aseep several times while trying to pay attention (same deal at the seed, they expected us to stay awake from 10:00a.m. to 10:00p.m.

     My problem is that I am "FILLED" with feelings and issues and the rehab center treated me like a moron talking about A.A.'s powerlessness and unmanageable and telling me to just put the plug in the jug and turn my life over to a higher power and go to meetings and everything will be "Hunky Dory",,,,,,,,,,,I never told anyone there about the seed because they would never believe me.

     I have so many issues and I hold them inside and carry them around. When I was at the seed, I talked about almost everything that bothered me and vented to other friends. Now I remain very alone. I dont have any friends and I dont trust people,,,,,,,,,,,,kinda sad ya ?

     I plan to stay sober (a day at a time) for the moment. My brain cannot handle alcohol or drugs and that is a shame because I appreciated there emotional pain killing ability. Its time to reach up into the clouds and creat a "GOD" that I find loving and helpful.

     P.S.  ( I secretly wish I were a seedling again)

          Keep the faith

The Seed Discussion Forum / Vodka thoughts
« on: November 12, 2004, 07:08:00 PM »
I can hardly imagine how Libby would respond to my drinking a tall glass of Vodka and writing a pretentious letter to Art Barker. Imagine that. Once again, The seed saved my bacon. The sign on the wall next to the big fan said "Your not alone anymore". I found that to be very true. I was surrounded by teenagers that had experimented with pot, maybe L.S.D, speed and downs, very few had used harder drugs. We all had the same short haircuts , we were all hungry for acceptance by both the group and especially the staff memebers. We all felt those hormones overwhelming our sexuality. We were also very much alike in that we didnt like our parents and family. The Seed was a utopia in a sea of fire. All I had to do was stand up and repeat what I had heard from well liked, well accepted kids that were oohhed and aahhed by staff memebers. Home free.
The rap groups were about The 7 steps, honesty, drug use, principals, values, freedom, peace, seperating ourselves from other drug users, loving others and creating a world where we expanded our love and acceptance to embrace all of society. uuuummm, do you believe this. Yea, right
 anyway that is what I loved about the seed, we kick ass and take names. In 1974 we went to the orange bowl in our blue jeans and t-shirtsand sang "America" in the stadium. Th at was a wild ride. As we walked off field we were boooooooed and put down by everyone in the seats.
Keep in mind that we stood in the seed surrrounded by fifty or one hundred others so you can be sure we said all the right stuff
 I did pot, hash, THC, ups downs speed acid , mescaline, codiene, cocaine, morphine, demerol. Yea  right, I never did most of those but I wanted to be liked and accepted so I would speak it out like nothing.
 Okay folks, someone else tell me about yourself, when the seed took control of your heart and made you feel like a part.
 If I could find a place now-a-days where I could feel like a part of , that was decent, I would join them . So the vodka glass is getting empty and I have talked about my appreciation of the seed. Peace and Love to all of you.


Ah yes, those were the days. July1st 1974 and my life was about to change. I didnt fit into my world and the seed took me under there arms and loved me. I was such an oddball that I was completly alone, I had grown up in an alcoholic family and at age 15 I was taking any drugs I could get my hands on to kill the emotional pain. In the high school that I was going to there were 3 groups, the jocks, the nurds and the freaks. Im sorry to say that I was such an outcast I wasnt even accepted into the "freaks" (druggies). I was overwhelmed with fears and extremely low self-esteem and my parents were incapable of being present(emotionally) to help me. I was suicidal and my parents put me in a mental hospital and then  brought me to the seed in Ft. Lauderdale. The truth is the seed saved my life and I thank them for that. Its true that the seed was a "cult", Art Barker was a strange charachter and the seed had its problems. In retrospect we were brainwashed but maybe I needed it at the time. In my prior writings I put down the seed and in a few short months I have forgiven art and all the staff. My resentments have transformed into appreciation for the acceptance that I experienced for !4 months and 17 days in the big white seed on Highway 84. Its true that you went with the program or you got reamed but I had no values or principles and I sat in rap session after rap session after rap session talking about the same things over and over until it sank in. I really did feel like I wasnt alone anymore and felt like a part of a large group of special people that were going to change the world for the better. I rebounded and did well in school and stayed clean and sober for 5 years. Those were the best days of my life. As of now I have been unable to experience the spirituality that I discovered in my teenage years in the seed, thats because I am alone in a violent world where people dont care about each other. The seed was cool. The seed ruled my life and I am alive today  as a result

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