Before coming to prison, all I wanted to make of life, was a party, and I succeeded at that. I didn’t have any real goals other than having a good time and making people laugh, and I did those things, but none of those experiences were worth coming to prison over. The problem with drugs is they work; they are effective, and as long as they are giving people what they want, the population will continue to be addicted.
I was looking for something when I used them, and I believed at the time that I found it; they made me feel like I was on top of the world and a better version of me. They gave me the energy to keep going and often took an uneventful night and transcended it into something magical. I always wanted to be the life of the party, and that is exactly who I became. I didn’t want to ever grow up, I am now 34 years old and realizing that is exactly what happened.
Then one day, you get sober and clean, whether it’s forced or voluntary, and you start to think clearer. It might not happen right away, but you get enough time between you and the drug, and you realize there is more to life.
I realize now it’s not just me anymore, I have a daughter, and she deserves more than being raised by grandma. My mom has done an amazing job, I am not afraid to admit a much better job than I would have done if I hadn’t gone to prison. Luckily Melrose is young, she has two parents who are both still alive, love her, and are working programs of recovery.
I believe life is what you make of it, and throughout my incarceration, I have made the best of my situation. I stayed positive and was a beacon of energy and hope for many around me. Prison sucks, but there is still life to be lived. There is still something I can do every day to better myself or improve the relationships that are present in my life. I have learned how to live healthy, something I knew nothing about prior to prison. Days aren’t slipping by where I forget to eat, bathe, or sleep. I am finding balance in my life.
Early on, I wasted a lot of time, I thought the whole point of being incarcerated is just getting to the end as sane as possible. I didn’t think there was that much I could do to better myself.
That changed when my sister gave me an opportunity to do something more, a way for me to prepare and create a better future, for not only me but anyone that relates to my writing. I am no longer just sitting in prison, waiting for something to come my way.
I am sharing my experiences, something I thought would initially be for others to learn from my bad choices but I quickly realized that reliving the experiences were just as beneficial for me, I learned I could grow as a person and gain confidence, something I have lacked my entire life. In such a hopeless place, I have found ways to make myself feel valuable, like I actually have a purpose in life.
I am starting to believe in fate, and in concepts like God does have a plan for me, that all this pain and suffering that I have endured could actually be turned into something powerful that can move people and have a positive impact.
I am not the only one who has made the most of my incarceration, so has my family. Between supporting me, picking up the slack in regards to raising my daughter, and making sure that she knows who her father is. I see so many inmates who haven’t seen their families in more years than anyone reading this could ever imagine going without seeing theirs.
Most inmates only get visits during the start of their incarceration, and then the visits become more sporadic, or they fall off altogether. Still, my family has never faltered for a minute, as goes for my friends as well.
They have also kept a positive attitude throughout my prison time, early on, it was emotional but in a healthy way. We worked through the emotions with strong communication, and once they knew I was safe and that I could do the time, it became less stressful. Attitude is everything when you are dealing with incarceration first hand or simply with a loved one who is incarcerated.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know I will start making the most of the opportunities as they come my way. I finally believe I am worthy of success, which has been a lifelong struggle for me. My natural instinct would be right about now to self-destruct, I would convince myself I am ending it for the right reasons, and I would get away as fast as possible.
I also know I am not far removed from this cognitive thinking because it just about happened a couple of days ago…
Thanks for listening,