Blogging is such a great tool for rehabilitation. That is one reason why Suzie and I created Stone City Blog. We want all inmates to have access to this new and effective rehabilitative tool.
I’d like to encourage everyone who reads Stone City Blog, to reach out to the bloggers, and prompt them. Ask them critical questions that will inspire deeper thought and self reflection. By doing so, you could be that one thing that inspires great change within an inmate and his rehabilitative efforts. Stone City Blog gives you access to over 1,000 posts written by over 100 inmates. All of these inmates can be contacted via email (JPay).
In this post I will respond to THREE PROMPTS from Sandra Rogers.
PROMPT #1) How will you achieve a balance between redemption and rehabilitation?
This prompt is awesome. It brings a whole new dimension to my thought process. Until now, I’ve never ever even considered such a question. Redemption and rehabilitation go hand in hand. For me personally, I can’t achieve one without the other.
My rehabilitation efforts are a daily process. Everyday I’m focused on love, compassion, and understanding as I live in an environment full of hate, conflict, and turmoil. It’s my job to rehabilitate myself while in the belly of the beast surrounded by demons. I do not react to negativity with negativity. Instead, I remain focused on my goals and dreams as I use my energy in a positive productive manner.
On a scale of 1-10, if my Rehabilitation is at a 8, well then my Redemption has to be at least a 4. Because Rehabilitation is Redemption to some degree. 4 and 8 is not balanced. Therefore, I need to get my Redemption up by at least 4 points. I can do so by contributing to society in a positive way. Such as saving dogs and doing volunteer work. Hey, I do that.
PROMPT #2) How will you find a balance between Selflessness and Selfishness?
By keeping in close contact with mentors I trust and respect. Such as Suzie, Alana, Sandra, and maybe even professional counselors. They will help show me the way and keep me focused. They will prompt me to a deeper level of consciousness and self awareness.
If it is brought to my attention that a segment of my life is unbalanced, then I will do whatever it takes to balance it out. To simply answer this question: I will seek the advice of all those who are educated, and those who have great perspective and insight.
Meanwhile, in here I enjoy great balance between working out, eating healthy, watching football, and reading & writing. (Selfishness)
And then (Selflessness), helping others, sharing, and volunteering.
PROMPT #3) What are the markers of the above mentioned kind of balance?
Happiness. The ultimate marker is happiness. When my life is truly balanced, I’m at my happiest. Regardless of my environment. When aspects of my life fall out of balance, my happiness is the first to suffer.
Another great marker is the opinions and perspectives of my mentors and the people I love, and how THEY view me. If they are happy with me and proud of me, that is a great indication that I’m achieving a high degree of balance in my life.
Thank you Sandra for such thought provoking prompts. The insight and self analyzation that it takes in order to answer these questions are very valuable. Your on-going prompts have taught me more about life and myself. They invoke deep thinking and self reflection that is critical to any type of rehabilitation.
It is my prayer and hope that everyone can recognize the significant value that is hidden within inmate bloggers and critical thought-provoking prompts.
Just how bad is it?
It’s as bad or as good as I make it.
The lying… it’s super bad.
It’s almost an everyday thing.
I pretty much know when my celly is lying. And even when he’s not lying, I question him. I don’t question him out loud, I keep it to myself because I don’t want to cause tension between us.
When my “BS Meter” goes off, I investigate. He mainly lies about what other people say. So I’ll simply go to that person and ask, only to find out that my celly completely and grossly lied. I’ve called him on a few lies already. He gets defensive and hostile. He attempts to clean it up by telling more lies.
For example, he told me that an officer jammed him up because our dog, Yahoo, wasn’t wearing a colored bandana. (We had just given Yahoo a bath and his bandana was off until it dried. Bandanas represent the status of the dog.)
The lie was so elaborate and full of back and forth dialogue between he and the officer. I knew he was lying. So later on I talked to the officer, only to find out that no such conversation ever took place.
Later that day I tried to have a serious talk with my celly. (He didn’t know I knew.) I explained to him that we need to be honest with each other.
I asked if he has ever lied to me?
He said no.
I asked if he was sure?
He paused, then said that he has never lied to me.
During the course of our conversation he lied to me several more time. It was like a domino effect, one lie inspired the next lie. He lied to cover up lies. Finally I told him that I talked to the officer, and I already knew the truth behind that lengthy, lie infested conversation we just had.
I got the feeling that this man really believed his own lies, because he attempted to convince me that he DID talk to the officer, and the officer DID say that. He wouldn’t budge! There was NO WAY this man was going to admit he lied.
So I said, “Let’s go talk to the officer together.”
He said, “Let’s go!”
I opened the door and we both started to head out. For a split second I started to think, “Man! Did the officer lie to me?” I mean, THATS how convincing my celly was.
Then, all of a sudden, my celly said, “Wait! Stop! Come back in here.”
We came back in and shut the door.
He said in a low defeated tone, “He never said that.”
I was super cool about it. I told him it was no big deal and let’s move on. He apologized for lying and assured me that from now on he would be honest with me. I shook his hand, told him all is good, and let’s move on.
Since then, he has lied to me numerous times. And if I can’t prove it, he doesn’t budge. So for the most part I just let him lie without calling him on it. But I must be honest, its frustrating and extremely annoying.
Last night I came back from the shower. The second I walk in he says, “Rollo started to chew on your shoe. I took it away from him.”
I have OCD, I know EXACTLY how and where I set my shoes. I looked at my shoes and they were untouched. My celly is disabled. There’s NO WAY he’s going to line my shoes up the way I do.
I KNOW HE’S LYING…AGAIN!!!
I’ll spare you the big ol lie infested conversation that ensued. But I will say that I called him on his BS. Along with several other previous lies. The flood gates opened!
It didn’t go well and now I feel animosity towards him. And I’m sure he feels animosity towards me. In the past, I would’ve made his life hard with verbal abuse and constant disrespect.
I called my sweet wife and told her what was going on. She offered me advice and help on how to handle this. She then remembered reading what my celly had written in a post on Stone City Blog. He wrote that he used to be a pathological liar. It instantly made sense.
The next day I was extra nice to him. Then I asked if we could have another serious conversation. He said yes. I commended him on his Stone City Blog post, and how he admitted he once had a lying problem. I offered to further help him in overcoming this problem.
We talked for a long time. He told me about his childhood and abuse, and why he lies. As we concluded I told him that this is the perfect opportunity for us both to evolve and overcome. He agreed.
It’s been a couple weeks since that chat. He hasn’t lied since…at least not to me.
If I feel he’s lying, all I have to say is, “Are you being truthful?”
He and I both agreed that by saying that, it’ll take him to a place of truth within, and will allow him to recognize and focus on his desire to be a better man. This also benefits me as it allows me to deal with issues in an appropriate manner.
So just how bad is it, living with a compulsive liar?
It’s as bad or as good as I make it.
I choose to make it a good thing, and to turn it into something that will allow us to both learn and grow.
“We make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
(pg. 25-27 in the NA book, sixth edition)
Today we read about step three. This reading gave me valuable food for thought as I interpreted it in a way that works for me. If I am to grow spiritually, I must be honest about everything, including my concept of God.
A lot of people try to force their version of God on me. However, their version makes no sense to me. To simplify my point, I’ll just say this: I don’t believe mythology in a literal sense.
However, I do believe in the fundamental teachings of the Bible and Jesus. I believe in Cause and Effect. I believe in The Law of Attraction. I believe in the power of love. Therefore, Love is my God.
I don’t believe in heaven or hell, or an afterlife, or a divine force that answers prayers and ignores others. I believe that You Reap What You Sow. And if your prayers are aligned with your actions, thoughts, and lifestyle…and if you consistently commit to that Prayer…well then sooner or later it’ll come true.
I am my own God. My moral compass is set by the fundamental teachings of the Bible and Jesus. And that’s where it ends. It picks up again with my actions and commitment level to living a life in accordance to the practical teachings throughout the Bible.
I don’t look to an empty sky for guidance. I look within myself and tap into my spiritual foundation which gives me strength and guidance.
Many people say, “Yes! That is God!”
In which I respond, “Hallelujah!”
So many people turn their lives over to God, yet they continue to struggle and suffer. That’s because God won’t do anything for anyone who does not understand that God has to be created from within them. There is not an outside force that magically works for the good (or the bad) of people. This force comes from within! This is As I Understand It.
If you want it, you can have it. How you come to IT and how you get IT, is up to you. But it must come from within. Don’t expect some outside force to come in and magically change your life.
Create your own God within your soul with love, understanding, and compassion. Then serve that God with all your might and strength. If you do that, then your life will truly transform for the better.
So again, STEP THREE says: “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
How do you understand God? And how is THAT working for you?
The topic of this meeting was “Recovery & Relapse”.
My issue isn’t with drugs anymore. It’s with treating people with dignity and respect. It’s with keeping my words kind and uplifting. Therefore, when I succeed at this, I view it as a form of RECOVERY from an otherwise destructive and negative lifestyle.
NA has given me cause to stop, and really evaluate my life. Honestly.
In doing so, I see areas of relapse. I don’t always respond to people the way I should. If I don’t stay “razor sharp” focused, I suffer set backs in my recovery. NA is helping me realize this.
The book “Narcotic Anonymous” says in part:
“There is one thing more than anything that will defeat us in our recovery; this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance towards spiritual principals. Three of these that are indispensable are HONESTY, OPEN-MINDEDNESS, and WILLINGNESS.” (Ch:4, pg.18)
Those two sentences helped me realize the cause of my relapse. Indifference & Intolerance.
I thought Indifference meant “not seeing eye to eye with someone.”
And I thought Intolerance meant “not having any tolerance towards things/people that annoy me.”
So my vocabularly was a little off. But still, the message hit home.
I realized I’ve been relapsing because I don’t see eye to eye with certain men in here, and I have very little tolerance for their ignorant, stupid ways. And instead of me just walking away, I say something that violates my “Keep Your Speech Impeccable” rule.
I can’t be violating my own rules like that!
I can’t be having these minor relapses.
NA is helping me realize that an accumilation of minor relapses might just be the jarring experience that brings about a more rigorous relapse. Such as me slapping the sh*t outta one of these punks.
Please excuse the language, but that is the truth of the matter.
Just because I have gone long periods of abstinence from violence, doesn’t mean my success is complete.
Everyday presents new challenges. And I am learning that if I have an attitude of indifference towards my spiritual principals, well then that alone puts my recovery in jeopardy.
I am learning to love NA. It is giving me more tools. It is broading my perspective and understanding. It provides fertile ground that promotes growth and recovery…regardless of the addiction/issues.
Just take NA’s guiding principals & philosophies, and apply them to your struggle. Do it with HONESTY, OPEN-MINDEDNESS, and WILLINGNESS. Then sit back and watch the Universe respond. Favorably.
I keep saying how much I love this blog and how it is the best rehabilitative tool I’ve come across. Heres why: Fellowship. Feedback. Accountability.
The more I share, the more my fears slip away. I am learning to be open and honest about everything.
This blog has helped me grow. Growth means change.
It helps with my spiritual maintenance, which is essential to ongoing recovery. It helps me from feeling isolated and alone with the issues I once kept to myself.
The fellowship this blog provides has enabled me to overcome the tendency to run & hide from myself, my feelings, and my dark issues. Such as my past drug use.
So far, through only 3 NA meetings I have realized that when I communicate honestly, I can truly heal. And possibly help others heal as well. That makes me feel good and gives me a strong sense of purpose.
This blog has given me such a wonderful gift. It is a gift that I would like to pay forward to other inmates. If you have a loved one who is locked up, perhaps you can give them the gift of blogging, too.
For more details, please visit Stone City Blog.
To My Beautiful Wife:
I promise to give you my very best. I promise to be the man you need me to be. I promise to learn your ways and to be understanding towards you at all times. I promise to love you with all my heart. I will forever stand by these promises.
I LOVE YOU
There have been times when I didn’t understand. But I understood enough to realize you were hurting. As your husband, the man you chose outta everyone else, it’s my job to soothe your pain and to put joy back in your heart. Whether I agree or disagree, what matters is that I realize how you’re feeling and that I respond with love and understanding.
I LOVE YOU
You have given me your heart. I promise you that I will fiercely protect it. Fiercely protect it from me. For who could hurt a wife more than their husband? NOBODY!!! Just ask the millions of wounded ex-wives.
I LOVE YOU
Your heart is my most sacred treasure. Your happiness is my top priority. I will forever cherish you.
I LOVE YOU
As I will protect your heart, I will also protect my own. For this heart belongs to you. I have invited you in. There is a special place just for you. A place where no one else will ever enter.
I LOVE YOU
Anything less than a heart of love would be unfitting for your precious spirit. You’ve inspired me to love in a way I’ve never known. You bring out the best in me. The bi-product of your powerful love has spilled over into other areas of my life.
I LOVE YOU
The place in my heart that you occupy is so big and warm, that it’s starting to heat up other areas that have been dark and cold. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I LOVE YOU
It is my desire to fill your soul with love every day. As I learn your language of love, I will learn to articulate the love in my heart into speech and actions. I will always do my best to make you feel loved and cherished.
I LOVE YOU
I promise I will always be open and honest with you. You can trust me with all your heart. You can communicate openly and freely without the fear of ridicule or judgment. I love you just the way you are.
I LOVE YOU
In April 2017, I will carry you away to a place you’ve never known. I will consume and devour you with my masculine presence. With all my strength and passion I will penetrate to the deepest levels of your soul as I melt into your feminine softness. And only then will you realize the true passion of our love.
I LOVE YOU
To be fully transparent is to be fully in love. Together we’ll share our dreams, desires, and fears. We’ll be vulnerable to one another as we expose weakness and acknowledge mistakes. Arm in arm, body to body, we’ll cry knowing…it’s okay.
I LOVE YOU
We’ll never stop growing together as we find common goals, dreams, and visions to work on. We’ll leverage both our strengths together as we take on this world and figure out ways to win. Mwah….
I LOVE YOU
We’ll focus on THE POWER OF NOW as we forgive immediately. Never will we let the past hold us hostage. We will always choose love. In doing so, nothing will ever threaten the happiness of our marriage. Love will always endure. Love Conquers All.
I love you Suzie Baby. I am forever yours.