I still kept my old friends but started making new friends in AA and in business. I also started giving back with volunteering, youth camps, scholarships, even mentoring. When I would get some extra money, I would go to seminars in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and even Florida. I had changed the way I thought. I had a different attitude. I believed I could achieve whatever I set my mind to.
Here is a list of my most influential books; Think and Grow Rich, Psycho-cybernetics, The Success Principles, A New Pair of Glasses, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. Today, I have at least three books going all the time. Those books are only biographies or motivational. Remember, I don't want to grow weeds.
By going back to my only real skill, architecture, I started making money. I used that money for only one thing, buying cheap rental houses. Eventually I acquired enough houses in Portland and sold them on contract, giving myself a nice passive income. When Portland became too hot of a real estate market, I moved my sights to my hometown of Astoria 100 miles away. After some sobriety and some success I now had childhood buddies that wanted to be business partners. I asked them where were you when I needed you, I don't need you now. They said they weren't interested in going broke with a drunken partner back then. With the four new separate partnerships I had acquired a lot more real estate than on my own. In a few years we had acquired rental houses, an apartment, commercial buildings (they all leaked), a B&B, a mini-storage, an RV Park, and a mom & pop small motel.
During this time I had dreamed of building my own hotel along the waterfront in my hometown. It didn't occur to me that I had no money, not enough credit, and no hotel experience. I guess I was just too dumb. After many false starts and disappointments, I acquired a little bit of land on the river and a big broken-down dock. There was only a couple of guys that believed in my hotel idea, but only one that ponied up a lot of cold hard cash. That was Terry Rosenau. I had met Terry in college and had remained friends since. I found out that he liked to golf, windsurf, and buy rental houses. What a coincidence. Away we started hanging out together . . . now for the good stuff