Within the last two days, two of my buddies here in the unit got moved. I was really sad to see them go. One in particular had become a really good friend. He was a good dude and I had spent a lot of my days talking and sharing stories and thoughts with him. He was really good at Scrabble! I felt sad for him, as intelligent as he was, he has spent 15 years in prison and was doing another 3 this time. He is the one who described the experience of getting out of prison and wanting to live too much. Like me, he had used heroin and meth. And, previously, getting out had only resulted in him falling back into those old habits again.

It’s funny, because you learn different lessons from the various people you encounter in life. Of course, I had heard the expressions “don’t say you can’t” and “just do it” but I still doubted myself in many areas.

But, after working out with my buddy several times, I started to believe I could do things that previously I had told myself “I can’t.” I would say to him, “dude, I can’t do a handstand” and sure enough, with that attitude, I couldn’t. He encouraged me to believe I COULD do a handstand, to tell myself “I CAN”. After awhile I started to embrace that thinking while we were doing our workouts. Now, I still can’t do a GREAT handstand, but I am doing handstands. I believe I can, I have it in me now, and I am getting there. That is truthfully the only thing that changed in my workout, my attitude went from “can’t” to “CAN”.

To take this in another direction, I have had it in my mind for awhile now that I don’t have to abuse drugs anymore, or live selfishly, and I feel this in my heart. I believe it. I told my buddy in one of our conversations, “You know what, I am not doing it any more. Life is too fragile to die that way.”

The day before he left, I had spent some time talking with him, he was really feeling down. I know why too, I could see it, that same feeling I’ve had when you find yourself in the same damn rut as before, and you wonder if things will ever change.

Well, when I recognized that in his demeanor, I told him, “you know what, it doesn’t have to be this way for us. We just have to stop telling ourselves “can’t”.

I realized right then that has been a lot of my OWN problems in the past. I have made a firm decision now that I am not gonna allow myself to let my life fall apart behind selfish desires. Heroin, meth, all that crap, it isn’t worth it.

My friend thanked me that night for being a positive influence on him. Imagine that – a 39 year old man thanking ME for influencing him. If I can influence him then I can damn well do the same thing for myself.

You know, life is crazy. Sometimes it seems you meet someone for awhile, then they are just gone from your life again. It seems that you are supposed to take that experience and what you learned from it, and share it with another, pass it along. Take the good from anything you can and leave the bad behind.

For many of us who are incarcerated, it’s time to leave our childish ways behind and to become real men. We CAN become men who use our hearts and minds above their fists, and men who act for reasons beyond selfishness. Men who CAN succeed and enjoy living free.

Ha, it’s just like Obama says —  “Yes, we can.”

Peace out ~ Magnum


  1. hailey says:

    this really inspired me. you are right you can you will and you wont let anything get you down. think positive and keep yhur head up. haha like me and my mom always say head up chin up thatss wassup. you cant do anything you but your mind too. dont let your thoughts overcome what you think or do just do it live in the moment not the past(: i hope everything is well.
    Sincerly, hailey.

  2. Stephanie says:

    It’s funny but you are ABSOLUETLY right – my addiction was gambling, people pleasing and the LOVE of money….In my addiction day in and day out I would manipulate, steal, lie, cheat – anything to feed my addiction – when I went to prison boy did I have a reality check….I was in the “self-pity” mode – I kept thinking I won’t get through this bid – how am I going to survive – poor poor Stephanie….in the long run I wok up and had a REALITY check…my bunkie in jail really talked to me day in and day out – she had been in and out of jails/prisons for most of her life – for me it was my first time and she told me that until I can really admit that I am an addict and I have a problem I will not and can not change….BOY was she right!!!! I truly believed prison saved me and I got rid of the “I CAN’t” attitude and focused on “I CAN” for me it turned my life around and today I blog and try to help others understand what prison life is really like and hopefully to help ONE person avoid going to jail/prison……

    Life is too precious to waste away and I’m thankful for the second chance that the Judge gave me not GOD b/c he is there for me throughout my mess ups!!! LOL – It’s the judge who allowed me the ‘second’ chance to do it right and I will forever be grateful… 🙂

    Thank you Stephanie (former inmate of the DOC)

  3. Kathy says:

    People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

    When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

    Then people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

  4. Niki says:

    I am so proud of the man you are becoming, M. Reading back to the beginning of your blogs it is so evident how far you have come. Keep on that same path and I know you are going to be successful in achieving anything that you set your mind to. Hugs…Niki