My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland 1

When I get out of here, I fear…

I will disappoint everyone who has had my back. Sometimes I feel like my life has been one big disappointment after another.

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland

This post was written while I was in prison, before COVID, which led to my early release. It also led to me writing, “It Never Goes as Planned,” which was published on resilience2reform.

First, it was the grades and then the ACT score {17). Then I start to get into trouble between the numerous underage drinking violations (5 or 6, stopped counting at 3) and the shoplifting my senior year of high school.

After college graduation, I wasn’t ready for the real world, I only lasted a few months at Automatic Data Processing and then a couple of years later, I had a short stint at Northwestern Mutual. Even though they are both challenging career paths, I failed none the less.

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland

As I grew up, I refused to mature, even at 26 I was still fighting and was charged with disorderly conduct and assault. Once the drugs had a hold of me, I began to build the reputation of a liar to the ones that trusted me the most.

Then there’s the big one, “Operation Noah’s Ark,” ya I know, cheesy name, but the sentencing guidelines that came with it was no laughing matter.

So here I am about to get out and now people are supposed to believe me that I am reformed, I paid my time for the crime and now I am ready for my second chance. What if it turns out everything I have been writing about over the last year has been a lie; I am actually a phony, ready to start his next cycle?

So, my fear is that everything I have worked for is all for nothing. I am not trying to put doubt in anyone’s mind, especially all those that believe in me and realize how far I have come, but keep in mind that nothing in life is
guaranteed.

The date is September 10th, 2020 and I just got out of prison. To me it feels a lot like getting out of college, I have my whole life ahead of me.

This is not what I thought seven years ago when I was going in, I thought my life was over. My 27-year-old self thought 34 seemed so old but now that I’m here I realize it’s not the case and I am ready to make up for lost time.

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland

I am healthier than I have ever been and optimistic about working with Morgan and Jamie and living with Mom and Melrose.

When I first get to the halfway house I realize it’s nothing like I expected, they have just as many rules, if not more than the place I just came from. I thought I would be able to work as much as I want, spend time with my family whenever I want, and run to the gym whenever I felt like it.

That is not the case, they are all over my ass, and they even wrote me a shot the other day. A shot is what we call an incident report in prison and they handle disciplinary issues the same way here at the halfway house.

It’s like these people are looking for any way to send me back to prison. I finally figure their system and how to work around it, I’m slick and I use my charisma to convince the staff that I am on the right path.

They release me after a few months and I am able to go to house confinement, it’s not much better but at least I’m home. After six months I finally get to take off that pesky ankle monitor and it is the first time I truly feel like a free man.

I have built a good relationship with my PO (probation officer) by just passing piss tests and having good communication. He starts to ease up the reigns on me, other people tell me he is just giving me enough rope to hang myself.

I tell them, my PO is cool, he doesn’t really care what I do, he even said he doesn’t mind if I drink as long as I don’t get in any other trouble as a result of my alcohol use. “What’s a drink every now and then going to hurt,” is what I tell myself.

After a year I start going out regularly with friends; everything is going good at work with my sister, my daughter and my relationship has never been stronger, and I have fully earned my mom’s trust back.

That’s how it always starts; thinking I am on the right track, the blinders come up and I focus on the good in my life and ignore the little signs as they come by. It’s because I am usually intoxicated when they start to appear.

Two months ago I started to hang out with an old friend. He’s successful so I figured the fact that he does a little cocaine here and there can be overlooked. I’ll be fine and who am I to tell another man how to live his life. Then one drunk night, I decide what the hell, I partake in the fun.

Then one of those weekends we go out, it’s right around the 18-month mark after my release, certainly a cause for celebration. Then we get pulled over.

I realize I have only had a few beers and I should be alright. The cop approaches the driver’s side window and taps on the glass, he asks for the regular credentials and goes back to his car.

He comes back and asks if I am on some sort of probation, I tell him I am and I explain that I was released a year and a half ago. Well, he asks, “Do you have any cocaine in the vehicle?” My heart starts to beat out of my chest as I realize the true answer to that question might actually be yes.

I don’t actually know, so I feel like I am telling the truth when I tell him no. You know the drill, please step out of the car and then he politely asks for my friend and me to sit in the back of the cop car (this description only pertains to you if you are white, if you are a person of color, much more aggression would be applied).

Once we are alone in the back seat I ask my friend if he has cocaine on him and he says no. The cop gets out of the back of my car after fetching something from under the passenger seat and he comes back towards his cruiser, I look over at my friend but he won’t make eye contact with me.

Right then I knew I am screwed. I waited until we got to the station and then tried to plead my innocence. They said to save it for the marshals.

My buddy has a clean record, I do not and my piss has just come back as a positive for test for cocaine, and on top of that, I am on federal probation for the same drug that miraculously shown up in my vehicle.

It doesn’t matter what I say to him or the judge, “Guilty until proven innocent,” that is the world we now live in.

The time I’m about to get is the least of my worries right now, I’m thinking about everything else I’m about to lose, relationship with my brother, writing for the blog, one step closer to losing my mom.

Suddenly I wake up and for once I thank God that I’m still in prison.

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland

My Greatest Fear | Noah Bergland 2

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