Category: About me & my journey

How I ended up in prison, my experience there, and how I am doing these days.

When a Recovering Addict and Ex-Con Needs Medical Help

I have been sick lately. It turns out I have Chronic Neurological Lyme disease that is raising all kinds of hell with me. I have been really pretty damn sick with this, and I have been in pain and stressed out. I have made the rounds to quite a few doctors and I have made a grim discovery. When you are a person that looks a certain way, when you are a person who has a certain history, when you are a person who is open and forthright with doctors about things you have experienced in life – you are pretty much screwed when it comes to compassionate health care.

In the past two months or so I have been turned away from numerous doctors because of prior drug issues I had. I feel I cannot get a doctor to look past my tattoos and see me as a person. I am actually pretty fortunate that I got myself signed up for some health insurance this year, so at least I have been able to get in to see doctors in the first place. I am angry though that they think any mention of pain or anxiety is me “drug-seeking”… it’s not. It’s me having pain or anxiety. Where does the line get drawn between them being cautious and them being cruel and uncaring?

This really makes me think about the folks who have even less of a support system than I do. The mentally ill and addicted who have become homeless. How in the HELL do they get any level of health care if they encounter illness or injury? How about those that are still actively living addicted lifestyles, but somehow they just get sick. Like an illness that is unrelated to their addiction issues. Are they actually considered unworthy of care and compassion because they are addicted, or mentally ill, or both? I already knew the homeless had it rough. But my experience over the past couple months with doctors has really been eye opening for me. If an addict has gotten clean and then gets sick and needs help, and can’t get it anywhere, doesn’t it seem pretty likely they could relapse simply out of lack of options? Hell yah, it does. And it sucks.

I will personally be OK one way or the other. Because I need to be there for my family, and because I won’t let this shit get me down. But it has been very discouraging to see how I’ve been treated, and to realize I am pigeonholed into this role due to mistakes I made going on ten years ago. I thought one of the rules of doctoring was “do no harm”?

It’s been awhile – Now I am married and a father!

Hello all, I have been very lax in keeping up with the blog. A whole lot of real life got in the way. Just let me take a minute to brag. I am married to the most awesome woman in the world. We got married on 9/11. A funny date for a marriage but that was the same day I had parole, and I had to consolidate everything so I didn’t miss much work, lol. The way I look at it, that is a good and happy thing that occurred on a day remembered for something unhappy and bad. Maybe over time, when enough babies are born on that day, and people get married on that day, and other happy events, we won’t only remember it as bad. So I did my part.

And, guess what — we just had a baby! Yep, I am a father to a big healthy son. He is so cool. Lays there and sleeps a lot now, but he’s GOING to do great things in this world. And if I have anything to do with it, going to TDC won’t be on his list. Nope, none of that for my son. I hope I can be a good father and good husband. I am trying my best. I will admit, it’s harder some days than others. And having a family changes everything. Before if I screwed up I was screwing up myself. Now a lot of other people are going to get affected by it. I got to keep it together.
I am working hard pretty much every day. Construction so bad weather means no work. And I am broke most of the time, lol. But hey, I have a little place of our own, and we get by.

Hope you all are hanging in there. If you are reading this because you have a loved on incarcerated somewhere, don’t ever give up on them. Everybody deserves hope. Some of us have pushed things too far over and over and maybe you feel things will never change. I am proof that things do change. I am not saying I have it all figured out, I don’t for sure. And believe me, I know I got a ways to go. But look how far I have come. Less than two years ago I was locked up for the 4th year in a row during the holidays, between rehabs and prison. Now I am a married man and a father, holding a full time job, and stressing about paying the light bill rather than stressing about where my next high was coming from.

Oh and by the way, for anyone looking for some kinship and advise regarding the incarcerated, I strongly suggest www.prisontalk.com. It’s a very strong forum with lots of good information. For anyone wanting to help or learn more about helping the incarcerated, a great organization is The Human Kindness Foundation. It was founded by Bo and Sita Lozoff. Bo wrote “We’re all Doing Time”, probably one of the most widely read books by inmates ever, and one that brought me great hope and a better understanding of myself and the world. Check it out, you don’t need to be in prison to get a lot out of it. You can buy it on the Human Kindness site at http://humankindness.bigcartel.com/product/we-re-all-doing-time. They send this book for free to inmates all over the world. If you buy a book on their site, it helps their efforts.

I am hoping for all of you out there that you pass the holidays safe and sound with your family and friends. If you have someone incarcerated, keep the faith. Keep the candle burning. Peace out y’all. I will try to be more regular on here, but I do love you all.

So this is Christmas…

This week  I sit here, away from my family at the holidays once again, and I find myself thinking. I am where the universe wants me to be, or else I wouldn’t be here. Since I don’t want to be here, I realize I need to look for the lesson in the situation.

Christmas is in just a few more days. It is hard to believe that last year at this time of year I was in prison too. And, the year before that I was in a long term rehab at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years… and the year before THAT I was also in rehab during all the holidays. It makes you think I must like being locked up and I must care less about days like Christmas and holidays, right?

No, that is not true. I can’t wait to spend next Christmas with my family.  So, what’s the lesson in all this? I think the lesson is – Whatever stupid shit you are doing that will put you in prison, think about it. When I was out there and I knew I was screwing up on my probation, I wasn’t thinking about things like missing my family so much, and the good times spent with them at the holidays.

What I was thinking back then was that probation was just as bad as prison would be, it was keeping me from doing what I wanted, and stressing me out, and I wasn’t free with probation hanging over my head. I was thinking that my probation officer was an asshole for making me piss in a cup. I was thinking it was cool to put off my community service work when a friend wanted me to do something with them. I was thinking my friends had my back, just like I had theirs. I was thinking that AA was bullshit because when I tried getting sober I was bored and didn’t have friends and it wasn’t possible to hang out where and with who I wanted to.  I was thinking shooting heroin wasn’t that bad because it mellowed me out, and I barely drank at all when I used. I was thinking a little meth mixed in was ok too. And I was thinking if I ended up having to do some time in prison, well I could handle that, it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal for me. I wasn’t scared of it. That is what I was thinking.

What I was not thinking about then, was that in all this time since, not one of those friends have written me, visited me, or asked my family where I was for that matter. For all I know, they think I am dead. I was not thinking that the scariest, hardest, worse part of prison wasn’t going to be the fights, gangs or the shithead guards, that it is the gut wrenching, lonely pain in your heart when you think about your family. How you can be a grown man and miss your family enough to make you cry but you can’t cry, because you’re in prison and trying not to get your ass kicked too much. I was not thinking that I would have all this time to sit and think. Would it have been better to do things different than I did? Yes, it would, but I really wasn’t thinking.