View Full Version : What do you tell somebody going to prison?
01-03-2003, 12:36 AM
Tonight I went with a friend to a long term drug rehab for an H&I meeting. Basically, those of us in recovery from drug addiction go in and talk to those still in rehab, share our stories, and encourage them to go to 12 step meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps, and tell them what it took for us to stay off dope.
I talked about Wayne, him being in prison, as a direct result of his addiction and being there because of actions to further my addiction as well. I also shared that if I chose to use again, I will either die or go to prison myself. That is reality.
After the meeting, we were standing around talking to the clients and this young man, maybe 20, walks up to me and we started talking. He told me he's facing 10 to 40 years in prison when he gets out of treatment. He's scared to death. He was on probation when he caught 4 charges of burgulary and he was told by the DA he's had enough chances to change. He also told me that he checked himself into rehab and being clean now, he's scared to death to go to prison. He's young, small for his age, and very quiet. He said his courage was in the drugs. I understand that completely.
He asked me why should he stay clean if he's going to prison anyway. I rattled off a peppy speech about consequences and using dope never solves anything, but truthfully, if I was looking at that much time, I'd probably be hog wild, doing all the dope I could do before being sent off. That really sounds horrible, doesn't it? It's the truth, though. I have no positive expectations of the prison system - not a single one, so what difference would it make? Maybe I am talking crazy, but it's how I am feeling.
I've done H&I meetings in the past and usually left feeling as though some good came of it. Tonight I realized that I can't change the world - only myself. And a part of me changed tonight. I just needed to vent. I wanted to tell him it's all peachy, life is great, but you know what? Even clean, some days life still sucks.
I'm supposed to go back in two weeks and he'll most likely still be there - what do I tell him? How do I tell him to prepare to spend the best years of his life in the pen? It's so damn frustrating at times!
Well, how does a doctor tell a 20 year old man with terminal cancer that he's not even gonna have the best years of his life? You summed it up best yourself, life sucks sometimes. We all make mistakes, this guys made them...now he's paying for them--or soon will be. I've found that you can run from a mistake for a long time, a really long time...but it always catches up to you sometime. So this 'young, small for his age, and very quiet' man can quit re-hab now, dope up and hide for awhile...and when it does catch up with him? He'll still be welcomed into the can...'young, small for his age, and very quiet.'....and still strung out. Facing the music isn't fun.
all the best
01-03-2003, 12:51 AM
Man..Monica I feel your frustration! I don't know what to say though! This is my first experience with the system and Sonny was already there! I'm sorry I can't help but I can listen! (((hugs)))
01-03-2003, 01:12 AM
WELL SAID TOE!
01-03-2003, 01:14 AM
Monica, I'm sure you have read Ken's post and other's of what is done to survive. If you want to be upfront with this guy, then spin off what has been said here at PTO. I see where your coming from, (young/small/quiet), and that is a hard one to call!
maybe you could sit this guy down in front of pto while he still can...that might help him a lot...
01-03-2003, 01:27 AM
That's a hard thing to deal with.
01-03-2003, 02:56 AM
I thinks tht he needs to focus on after prison. Anyone who thinks that they can do drugs and it doesnt have a effect on there body isnt thinkin right. He needs to plan on survivin till he gets out, then thriving. Don't do no drugs, they wreck your body down the road. Even the drugs the doctors give you have serious side effects. I take 13 scrips a day, if I could live with out one of them, I would not take it.
Personally I would still talk to him about the virtues of being drug free. I know that dealing with things like this and the reality of going to prison is a scary thing but he will have to face the music some time. He may get to use while he is in but I would say that he is going to have to be clean for the first period anyway and he might as well go in clean so that he at least has a clear head. One of the problems with coming off drugs is that you have depended on them for so long to escape the reality of life that dealing with the reality sober is very frightening... Truely this is a difficult situation...
I do believe that this guy (and my heart goes out to him) still needs to make the decision to be clean and stay that way - prison or no prison?
01-03-2003, 09:01 AM
Danielle, being clean myself and having done meetings like this you do get asked some tricky questions that you don't know quite how to answer and yet my program teaches me is when someone asked me something if I have been through what they have then I can share my experience strength and hope and if I haven't experienced what they have actually then i can share how I have seen how it affects others when I saw them do what they did. Even though you haven't been to prison per se Danielle why not share with the young person the affects of what the prison life has done in your life even though it might not be positive or enlightening be honest with
him and even though he is scared just remind him that he can face it and recover or he can face it and run which if he runs it will be much harder to get on the right path. Well enough of my ramble...I wish you the best in this!!!!
Love and Light in Recovery,
Cherrie from tx
01-03-2003, 10:50 AM
The drug situation is being handled it appears. The fear lay's in the unknown or what he think's he knows.
After reading what has been said here at PTO in what happens or could happen to a young/small/quiet guy might be something he has heard about? It doesn't matter if he is stright, gay or on the fence, the horror stories are out there.
Is that a subject that should be addressed? Or just let him take things as they come, when he goes inside?
01-03-2003, 11:25 AM
This is a difficult situation and yet one that so many in recovery face.... Taking the step to get clean doesn't make the consequences from your using days disappear instantly...
HOWEVER... Monica, I would point out to this kid that he hasn't gotten sentenced YET.... Is it guaranteed that if he sucessfully completes this program and walks into that courtroom clean and sober that he will face NO prison time, no... but where are his BEST chances at receiving the SHORTEST sentence?? I understand the temptation to say "f^&* it" and go on a final glory binge... but you and I both know that everyone IN that courtroom, including the judge is going to be able to tell the difference between someone who is still out there getting high and someone who is clean and sober and taking recovery seriously!!! When I used to run into former clients on the streets, I never had to ask them if they were still working their recovery program or not.... I knew from talking to them for a few minutes... because an addict in recovery LOOKS different and SOUNDS different than that same addict in (or for that matter on their way BACK to) addiction.... You feel me?!? So one good reason to stay clean is that he would have the best chance of paying the most minimal consequence for his former actions. 5 years is better than 15 is better than 40.....
Another thing for him to think about is the fact that all of the problems that go with the drug game are going to be inside the walls just as they are out on the streets... True enough, MAYBE he would be able to use inside.... but from what I have seen it is harder to get high inside than it is on the streets... it is more expensive and you have fewer options about how to hustle to get your money to use.... I guarantee an active addict's life is not a pleasant one on the inside... I heard this from A LOT of guys that were in the program I was a part of... that doing time clean and sober and with recovery was a lot easier than without recovery, whether they were able to be actively using or not.... so in a way, getting a grip on recovery and how to work it for himself will help WHATEVER he faces easier.... Whether it's life in prison or just plain ol' life... Recovery teaches you a way to COPE.... and through practice you get better at applying the principles..... Think of all the principles recovery teaches that you would NEED to be able to cope with prison life.... accepting the things you can not change.... holding principles above personalities.... living life one day at a time....
Just my thoughts...........
01-03-2003, 11:44 AM
Very well said JD wifey...that is so true!!! Onced again thank you for your words of wisdom. I love to read what you post about it really helps me and I know that you will make a wonderful counselor. Your wisdom is defintely I gift that I really appreciate. Thank you JD
cherrie from tx
01-03-2003, 11:47 AM
Richard has served 22 years and has 20 more to go. He tells me all the time it's his right to use whatever he can get his hands on in prison. He said if I was in there I would want to escape mentallly any way I could.
Maybe so..........and I have never done drugs of any kind and I almost agree with him on that point.
I guess I would answer the young man as I have talked to Richard about it. Drugs still causes bad consequences even in prison. If caught it is a class X write up. Class X is pretty serious. You lose alot.
2nd bad consequence which is about the same outside the prison walll or inside. You cant' afford it. The cycle of addiction which cost him his freedom to begin with will cause him great stress and pain when he can't afford another high.
If he is on the road of recovery tell him life in prison will be much much better as a prisoner of recovery. Survival of his mind and soul will stay maintained.
this is a young kid that has alot of anger. HE has to WANT to stay clean. If he does not, no matter where this young fellow ends up, he will find a way to use. I know how hard it is, very fustrating.
when he gets to prison, he can either make his time easier, or harder. he will soon learn that. that is if his anger does not get the best of him.
best wishes to you
01-03-2003, 07:55 PM
My husband was found gulity of a crime that he did not committ. He was betrayed by his court appointed attorney, his fiance AND his own brother.
SO, naturally, he went to prisona very angry man. The first ten years he was in prison he did nothing to help himself and his future. He was bitter, angry and became a very hard man....even losing his visits!!! He was such a hard case...they gave him a TEN YEAR flop in 1990!!! The parole board didn't even want to see him...THAT's how bad he was.
THen I came along and we fell in love. NOW he has something to look forward to.
He would be eligible for parole NOW rather than 2005 if he hadn't become such a hard case. Idon't hold that against him because he made changes when we met plus anything that happened before we met doesn't matter to me.
SO tell this young man that his near future may not look so bright, but making MORE mistakes may hurt him in the long run..
01-03-2003, 08:13 PM
May you have the wisdom to give this young man the right answers when the time comes. I'm sure you'll do just fine in saying the right thing and what he needs to hear.
01-03-2003, 10:45 PM
I HAVE NEVER USED DRUGS OR EVER WANTED TO, WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I NEVER KNEW DRUGS WERE OUT THERE UNLESS YOU WENT TO THE DOCTOR AND HE GAVE YOU SOME BECAUSE YOU WERE SICK. SOUNDS DUMB I GUESS, BUT TRUE, I LEARNED ABOUT DRUGS WHEN MY TWO SONS BECAME TEENAGERS, I WAS STILL DUMB AND DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON, BUT MY OLDEST DAUGHTER, SHE WAS MARRIED, SAID MOTHER YOU DONT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT, I SAID NO, BUT SHE TOLD ME A FEW THINGS, AFTER THAT I BEGAN A FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS THAT I AM STILL FIGHTING WITH MY SONS, THEY WERE BAD WHERE WE USED TO LIVE, BUT THEY ARE EVER PLACE NOW. I FEEL REAL SORRY FOR THIS YOUNG MAN THAT IS ABOUT TO LOSE HIS BEST PART OF HIS LIFE, I THINK HE SHOULD TRY AND STAY CLEAN NOW AND WHEN HE GOES TO PRISON. YES TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN TO YOUNG INNOCENT KIDS, I CALL THEM, THAT GO INTO PRISON, EVEN COUNTY JAILS, BUT WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT? HE NEEDS TO BE TOLD HE NEEDS TO KEEP CLEAN AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE AND YES HE NEEDS TO BE TOLD WHAT TO EXPECT IN PRISON, IF THAT IS POSSIBLE, IT SOUNDS LIKE HE IS NOT STREET WISE AND MAYBE HAS NO ONE TO LOVE HIM AND GUIDE HIM, I KNOW MY FIRST SON THAT WENT TO PRISON ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO, HE STAYED IN 4 YEARS, HE WAS STREET WISE AND WAS SMALL BUT WOULD STAND HIS GROUND WITH THE BEST, AND THAT IS THE FIRST THING HE HAD TO DO AS SOON AS HE ENTERED TDC, THE BIG GUY OVER THE DORM HE WENT TO, TOLD HIM TO STEP UP TO THE CIRCLE OR BEND OVER, MY SON SAID SHOW ME WHERE THAT CIRCLE IS, THE BIG GUY SHOWED HIM, MY SON STEPPED UP AND TOLD HIM, HERE I AM AND I WILL NOT BEND OVER FOR NO ONE, YOU WILL HAVE TO BEAT ME DOWN FIRST AND I KNOW YOU CAN. SO DO WHAT EVER YOU HAVE TO DO. THE BIG GUY LOOKED AT MY SON AND STUCK OUT HIS HAND AND TOLD MY SON YOU ARE OK AND SHOOK MY SONS HAND. THEY WERE FRIENDS FROM THEN ON AND NO ONE ELSE BOTHERED MY SON. IT WAS BECAUSE HE HAD A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT YOU HAD TO DO WHEN SOMEONE PUSHED YOU INTO A CORNER, BY THE WAY YOU TALK THIS YOUNG MAN WILL NOT LAST LONG IN PRISON, THAT IS SO SAD, A YOUNG LIFE WASTED. BUT WE ASK WHY ALL THIS HAPPENS, WILL WE EVER KNOW OR FIND A WAY TO STOP THIS? I PRAY TO GOD WE WILL ONE DAY FIND A BETTER WAY TO MAKE PEOPLE PAY THEIR DUES FOR CRIMES THEY HAVE COMMITTED. WELL I HAVE TALKED TO LONG SO BEST OF LUCK TO THIS YOUNG MAN AND I HOPE HE DOES NOT GET MANY YEARS. MAY GOD PUT HIS ARMS AROUND THIS YOUNG MAN AND PROTECT HIM ALL THE WAY THRU THE BAD TIMES AHEAD FOR HIM, I KNOW GOD WILL.
01-04-2003, 10:35 PM
Thanks everybody for your replys. I am praying for the right words when the time comes.
I have the faith in you that you WILL have the right words. It is so good to know you and the caring person that you are. This guy is lucky to have you looking out for him - he does not know how lucky he is!
Keep the faith and keep strong!
01-05-2003, 08:16 AM
I have to agree, I don't think this guy is going to do well. Unless he changes his demeanor. As for using, hell yes. If I was going back to prison for any amount of time, I'm getting loaded. Pure & simple. I'll have plenty of time to clean up inside. --------Ken
02-02-2003, 07:48 AM
..at one point in the program, I was drafted with a handful of Lifers to be trained to give the AIDS Awareness portion of the AC/IO--(fishtank/blues) institutional indoctrination. They figured if they trained us once, they could work us forever.--
Anyway... My lecture usually began,.."There are 4 ways you can spend your time here.
It takes a bit of good luck to do the any of the first 3 successfully.--How's YOUR luck been running lately?"
There is plenty of bad luck that comes with doing them wrong.
When it comes to getting high--
Besides making your neighbors happy with a dormwide 'drop',
getting your own write up, seg time, loss of goodtime or visits, or anything that policy here will allow to REALLY take the edge off your buzz..... there is big, bad, doorprize."
Point of the lecture went on to discuss the transmission of aids/Hep C by unprotected sex and shared works. We were allowed to give enough practical information on how the risks can be minimized even in prison. (Makeshift cleaners, condoms, dentaldam). The lecture was given for anyone in blues at that time, some might be up for 10 or more, Life, or would be headed to a 1/2 way house in a hot minute. It was information for all.
The 4 ways to spend your time in prison are always options. Every day, everyone inside makes that choice. Doing time is hard enough when your just out to Get BY. If you manage to spend your time just getting by, no one can make you do a minute longer or a day harder. If you spend your time pressing your luck with the first 3, it will play out and you will only have yourself to thank for doing the harder/longer time.
02-02-2003, 11:50 AM
Life, I agree with most of what you have to say. How, when, & what shape a person gets out of prison depends completely on how they go in to the system. Some don't know or understand this till it's too late. Some see the light, & change while they are in, some don't, & some don't want to. In the old days, guys did time in the county jail before ever being sent to prison, & alot of schooling happened here, so that by the time you picked up a number, & went to the joint, you had a good idea of what you were looking at, & how you were going to do your time, but nowadays, guys are being sent to the joint earlier, & are coming in less prepared, & are being litterally fed to the sharks. Some of us old cons tried to get to some but we could only get to a few of the thousands being dumped into the system. I've seen many lives ruined, because of this, & each one has a family & loved ones who go down with them. It's sad so very sad.--------Ken