Prison isn’t a place 75% of inmates “deserve” to be in by my moral laws. Unfortunately, my moral laws (though sound and on the same plane as many “normal” people) don’t exactly coincide with the laws upheld by a nation less than a decade into the true understanding of the disease of addiction. Putting that fact aside, I broke the law consistently and am approaching 2 years of incarceration spread through several arrests. Most of these were detrimental to my physical and mental health, but my family sticking by my side has weighed heavily in my favor.
Surrounding me are individuals who have been forgotten…left to carry out sentences with the vacancy of love and only resentful thoughts to carry them forward. Imagine for a second that, through events in which you had little control [remember that addiction impacts your ability to control behaviors], you were stuck on an island without the love and support of your spouse, siblings, or children and were slowly starving both physically and mentally of the necessary emotions to keep one’s mental health. That is the feeling a drug addict who, incarcerated without love, lives daily. It is true, 3 meals (suspect in content) are provided, services for basic health and a bed sufficient for a dog is underneath us, and these are basic necessities to keep one’s organs living. But living organs are not enough to sustain recovery.
I was given the past year to be completely self-absorbed in my self-development. I’ve been able to focus on ME because, in reality, nothing inside this barbed wire fence is under my control. I saw this as an opportunity to change my life. The true beauty of it is, this chance was invisible until people who cared enough to remind me monthly, weekly, and daily that I had this chance did just that. See most drug addicts, especially those who are incarcerated are emotionally starving. It’s nearly impossible to work beyond that void towards self-development without first filling that emotional vacancy. Mine was filled by family and friends who reassure me that I am loved and worth a better life. Many people around me aren’t given that support and for many, this isn’t their first time here….and it won’t be their last. See, without HOPE, change is IMPOSSIBLE and without something to CHANGE FOR, hope is impossible.
Without the constant support of the people who love me, I would have given up on hope and learned how to best enter and exit the revolving door of prison. But, here I am in the best physical and mental shape of my life, applied to college, have job prospects, and am awaiting my release with more confidence in myself than I’ve had for the last decade…all due to the emotional vacancy filled with a healthy dose of support at a time I felt unworthy of it. Neither you or I will never know when that switch will flip, when the engine will finally turn over and begin moving forward, but as with any machinery, all the parts need to be repaired in order to start. I can’t stress enough the necessity and value of support during a time in which contemplation of life is at its harshest.