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Straight Talk The general Ex-Offender discussion forum. If you have done time, this forum is for you.

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Old 01-19-2011, 03:48 PM
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Default The Way The World Looks After15 Months Of Freedom

If this were the first time Iíd ever been to prison and had gotten out, Iíd say that things have been scary and exciting all at the same time. Freedom would more than likely be an experience in which music is playing & angels are singing but,Ö this isnít the 1st time and it isnít the 2nd time Iíve been through all this. Itís the 3rd time and I can honestly say that life today for me in many ways is like having lived in a world of color all my life where suddenly everything is dull grey or black & white at best. For the most part, the last 15 months has been a struggle where accepting the past for what it is, accepting the here and now for what it is and accepting the fact that the future has no guarantees except that if I go back to the olds ways very long then Iíll surely go back to prison or die.

One of the things a person notices when theyíre released is the fact that much changes out here in the free world during the months or the years that weíre gone, but if you keep on going back to prison there is another reality that awaits you and separates you from other men & women who have gotten out of prison. One day youíll look up and it wonít be just a matter things being changed, youíll look up and things will be gone; gone forever.

If we all live long enough weíre destined to outlive our parents. We all lose our folks as time marches on. Thatís the way itís meant to be, but itís damn sure not meant for us to lose the 2 people who gave us life while we carry the ball & chain or rot away inside of a prison cell. I lost both of parents while doing time here in the Texas prison system and there are times when I wonder how much longer I am going to have to say ďIím sorry for what happened before I actually start believing it.Ē Itís as though everyone else in my family has gotten over it except me. No one is at odds with me over my not being there when they died, but I am at odds with myself. I realize now 15 months later that this is not just regret or a thorn in my side that is bothersome at times; it is a burden and an obsession that has caused me to stumble. Stumble to the point that my freedom could have been jeopardized due to making decisions that were based on emotion or the desire to shut out the pain.

Many of us have a pattern that we go through when it comes to being a part of the recidivism rate and returning to prison. There is any number of reasons or explanations as to why it happens, but when it all comes down to it, I think itís simply a matter of doing the right thing each day because itís the right thing to do or itís something else that eventually leads to trouble. Maybe itís the loss of a parent like what Iíve been faced with the last several years and the problems Iíve faced where sobriety is concerned. Maybe itís neglect or abuse early on in life and the inability to keep it together very long before chemicals, cutting corners, selfishness, or allowing ones emotions to rule oneís life & oneís decisions that shuts the door on freedom. Maybe itís hanging with the wrong folks and spending your time simply doing the wrong thing. In the end, I either make decisions based on principles & morals or I make decisions based on my feelings & emotions. It seems like in most cases where my feelings play the greater part in the action I take, chances are itís because I want to change the way I feel more than I want anything else. On that level, there is no amount of wisdom or counsel from friends, or enough prayer or Godís intervention that can make a difference. If I act on my emotions then itís very rare that things work out over the long run.

In most cases, itís no oneís fault that any of us return to prison or when we become a part of the recidivism rate. We know not to drink or use, we know not to steal or rob, we know what it is that is expected of us when we return to the free world. Itís most often not a matter of ignorance or being a victim of the system. Itís more a matter of whether we make decisions based on principle or make decisions based on emotion. If Iím more concerned about the way the world affects me than doing what is right in the world then itís just a matter of time before I start making bad choices and it catches up with me somehow a long the way.

The last 15 months here in the Free World is no doubt better than the last 15 months I spent in prison, but it comes with a cost that at times is easy to forget about and forgetting is something I have made a bad habit of over the years. The cost of freedom involves the understanding that itís just as important to fight the good fight when no one is looking as it is when the whole world is watching. Doing right by others will always be rewarded and more rewarding rather than always seeing to it that my needs are met first. Prison can make us become selfish and out of touch with our emotions to the point that theyíre all we think about when weíre released and have some choices to make. If we stay too wrapped in ourselves itís inevitable that we go back to that place one way or another. That may be too simply put, but it always seems to come down to that. When I think of me all the time, I have problems. When I think of helping you, I have solutions.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:50 PM
CrazyMailMan CrazyMailMan is offline
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Thank you, FireBrand. That was very nice. I, also, have been out 14 months. I was released Nov 6th, 2009. It has been a struggle, to be sure. What I like most about what you shared is about selfishness leading to problems. To me, it is a matter of perspective and also how I define spirituality. Getting outside of myself and my warped thinking. Thinking of others before myself. Not always easy to do, and I fall short more often than not. However, when I make a conscious effort to help others and place my desires to the side, I find I have far fewer problems and much greater joy.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyMailMan View Post
Thank you, FireBrand. That was very nice. I, also, have been out 14 months. I was released Nov 6th, 2009. It has been a struggle, to be sure. What I like most about what you shared is about selfishness leading to problems. To me, it is a matter of perspective and also how I define spirituality. Getting outside of myself and my warped thinking. Thinking of others before myself. Not always easy to do, and I fall short more often than not. However, when I make a conscious effort to help others and place my desires to the side, I find I have far fewer problems and much greater joy.
Just a interesting coincidence, I was released October 29th, 2009, and it's been an AWSOME 15 months. I am so grateful and appreciative of my present life.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:39 AM
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Thank you for being so open and honest in this post. I've been out of prison for almost 11 years but I remember having to find those same realizations!
Very well written and hit home... thank you again.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:52 AM
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This totally awesome how far you have come!

We all make mistakes and NO BODY and I mean NO BODY can ever predict if they will ever go to prison....Life has it's ups and downs. I know when I went to prison I was totally screwed up - but I got my head on straight and vowed to get out and stay out! It's been 11 months for me and I am doing great - everyone stumbles - some go back for a second, third, fourth bid...It is what it is...we control our destiny and with addictions it is hard some times to kick them - but with support, control and will power we all will over come addictions!!!

My addiction took my entire life over until 2006 - I refuse to allow it to control me anymore!

Please follow my blog if you get the chance - I would love to have people follow - I am udating daily to include so much needed information for prisoner's, ex'con's, families, etc....

http://whitecollarcrimegal.blogspot.com/

take care
Steph
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