Trauma, adversity, healing, and hope
Alfred White is the founder of The League of Extraordinary People, expert, thought-leader, and speaker. After nearly 40 years experiencing homelessness, Alfred swallowed a 1/4 ounce of crack cocaine in 2004 and nearly died. He awoke paralyzed and that is when he made the decision to seek help for his history of addiction. Alfred has since received his Master's degree in Christian Ministry with an emphasis in Christian Counseling and has dedicated his life to helping others heal. Alfred's past Adverse Childhood Experiences now manifest in his body as several chronic health conditions, including liver cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. He is a survivor of Developmental Trauma, Subject Matter Expert and a Licensed Mental Health Psychotherapist and Substance Use Disorder Professional.
Alfred recounts a number of experiences in his life that were traumatic, which he now understands have contributed to his present chronic illnesses. Alfred experienced frequent physical and emotional abuse. At 5, Alfred heard a loud noise and found his mom unconscious and bleeding on the floor with a busted Thunderbird bottle on the ground, then saw his soon-to-be stepfather leaving. As a young child, Alfred recalls being driven to church going 100 miles per hour, sliding into intersections and having alcohol bottles coming out from under the seat and hitting him on backs of his heels. Alfred remembers being woken up in the middle of the night because his stepfather, a Korean War Veteran and alcoholic, gambled away money and was taking out shotguns, ordering the family out of their rooms. At 13, Alfred ran away from home and experienced homelessness for nearly forty years.
Over the course of his young adulthood and later years, Alfred lived with dysregulation and Substance Use Disorder as a result of his Adverse Childhood Experiences. He remembers being pistol-whipped, hit in the head with hammers and two-by-four boards, and stabbed. He has two holes in his head and a Traumatic Brain Injury. Alfred went to prison for over 42 months for a $35 drug sale.
Alfred identifies a pivotal moment in his life being only nine days out of prison when he swallowed a ¼ ounce of crack cocaine, nearly died, and woke up paralyzed. It was at this time that he signed up to attend the faith-based behavioral modification program at Union Gospel Mission. Though the program was regularly nine months, Alfred remained for close to two years. After leaving the program, Alfred spent several years in a 12-step-program with a faith-based sponsor and earned his Substance Use Disorder Professional certificate.
Alfred went back to school and in 2013 received his Master’s degree and focused on maintaining his health and homeostasis despite the development of several chronic illness diagnoses. In 2017, Alfred began his study of neuroscience and neurobiology, including the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences. This included material from the Chronic Illness Trauma Studies from Veronique Mead. He also researched global healing practices including yoga, bodywork, and somatic experiencing. In August of 2018, Alfred had another life-changing experience with a diagnosis of liver cancer, which led to self-creating his own continuum of care for his health and wellness.
Alfred founded The League of Extraordinary People to help develop widespread awareness about Adverse Childhood Experience and support the healing of those who are impacted by toxic, chronic, developmental, and environmental stress. The vision is to create a residential healing center for historical and transgenerational trauma, as well as chronic stress for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. This center will build community and address the neurobiological impacts of past trauma, including that inflicted from slavery and genocide. It will also provide an opportunity for adults of all ages to experience a re-parenting for themselves and their families. Alfred hopes to bring hope to the hopeless and named the organization The League of Extraordinary People because trauma survivors are resilient, extraordinary people.