Noah wrote this blog post last July 2019. And I just realized I never shared it. As I re-read it over again, I realized it’s too important not to share as time, and time again, I hear from readers about their family and friends who are addicts and/or selling and they think it’s only their life they are ruining. Although this might not resonate with them now, it’s still worth a share to them because, like Noah says, some of the things he’s been told he will never forget and those hurtful words are words that are now helping him stay committed to succeed and make the world a better place.
Hey all, Noah here.
Noah back again. Morgan tells me it’s fair week. I actually loved this week even until the day I left. Morgan asked me the other day if I was bummed about missing my 10-year class reunion (for all those that don’t live in Roseau, our small town fair week is when every class hosts reunions).
And yes, I was bummed. I had a good class. But, I look forward to seeing them at the next reunion. And I liked everyone in my class. I can’t think of a single person I didn’t like or get along with.
So, let’s chat about small-town living from a person going to prison and after release.
The biggest thing about Roseau is it taught me my most valuable life lessons that will be important in my recovery when I release from prison. That being the importance of work, hobbies, family time, and the support or different ways to utilize the community around you.
As I continued my time in Roseau and my sentencing date was drawing near the work stayed steady.
But I did have a couple of bad interactions where I got a taste of being an ex-con, although I wasn’t even convicted yet. It’s an interesting dynamic coming from a small town. Which is just fine.
This someone was obviously following my story and thought I shouldn’t have received a pre-trial release.
I was at the golf course drinking, another thing I did too much of during my release and shouldn’t have been doing, and someone approached me with a sigh comment.
He said, “It’s crazy that they even let you walk the streets, you should be locked up.”
I didn’t really have much to say and I was just kind of surprised by the comment so I just stayed silent. But my friend with me did not want to hear it and started to respond.
I decided it was best if we just left so I got between the two and pushed my friend back to the golf cart and left. My friend and I argued on the way back to my parents’ house about what we should have done and I was telling him, “I deserved that comment and it wasn’t that big of a deal.” But he didn’t agree.
Looking back at it now, I think it was a good thing…because it was just another life experience preparing me for the future.
Not everyone is going to be on my side and not everyone is going to like where I show up, the things I say, or how I look or act, and that is completely fine.
There might even be someone sitting here reading this blog today thinking I should have received more than ten years and that is fair. And you have that right to believe that.
Something that I have seen a few times in the comments and in a private message sent to my sister that she then sends to me from my posts is, “do I realize the extent of the damage I caused, or are some of these sentences just and deserving.”
Many times the families of or the individuals being sentenced feel the sentencing is too harsh, and then you have the other side, the people that feel the damage, the users, or the family left cleaning up the users’ mess.
I am going to be honest here. When I started selling drugs I didn’t know the damage. And the I little I did know, I didn’t care.
I could always find an excuse for why it’s okay for me to sell drugs. I’d think, they will just buy it somewhere else if not from me. Or, I’d say to myself…I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head here.
But I will always have one voicemail that has stuck with me to this day.
I didn’t sell a lot of heroin but I could get my hands on it. And when I was actually indicted there were less then 50 grams of sales on my case, but if someone really pressed me for it I would get it for them.
Well, this one individual used to always ask and eventually I found some and got it for him, and I am guessing his fiance found him in an involuntary state when she got home. And I am assuming he confessed and told her where he got it from, which was me because I received a Facebook message and voicemail from a lady I didn’t know and she was reaming my ass out and telling me how I am scum and I just ruined peoples’ lives and I deserved to be in prison.
She was right.
But at the time, I didn’t care. I thought, screw her, if he can’t hold his crap together, how is that my fault?
Now, when I look back on it, it just blows my mind that it wasn’t more of a RED flag to me?!
I guess my life was such a mess at the time as well that I didn’t have time to feel sorry for his life that was falling apart. I was too busy trying to keep mine together.
But, if I could talk to her today or ever do I will thank her. Because as I am thinking about it now, it’s leaving the impression it intended to, and forever will.
It’s behind the motivation for me to be honest about my past so I can do what I was meant to do in the first place, succeed.
So sentencing came and I got 10 years, it was supposed to be 20 so I thank God it wasn’t, but it just as easily could have been 12, which is what they wanted me to sign for, but I said I would rather go with an open plea and get 14 then sign for a day over 120 months.
My sister asked me the other day how much time do I think I needed in order to change, and of course what I think doesn’t make it a reality, because only time will tell that. But, looking back I for sure needed to sit 5 years minimum because my way of thinking didn’t start to fully shift until year 5.
I wasn’t thinking about the big picture, just my little pathetic world that I have managed to restrict myself to for three decades. I have always made excuses for my failures because I have always left room for those excuses. I have never committed to anything in my life, golf, work, relationships, or even fatherhood.
I didn’t think I even needed help until I started treatment; for God’s sake, I was sitting in federal prison serving 120 months, and I still didn’t think I needed help.
So, in the end, I can’t change the things I did, I can’t change the sentence I received, but I can change the choices I make starting now. And that’s what I intend to do. I promise all of you. Especially to all those families I ruined.
This time away will serve a greater purpose. It will not be wasted, I promise you that.
Thanks for listening,