Things have progressed toward my finish line, so much so that I have trouble remembering all of them. Several people visited me again during the holidays, yet nothing stands out. Well, with the exception of my wife’s visit which told me a great deal of what NOT to expect when I return. She had taken her wedding band off and was a bit standoffish, something I understand but did not want. My daughter and son also visited at separate times, such a great time each. And yet I go on, day to day inside corrections as if this will be my life from now on. Quite crazy to say the least.
I have heard about a re-entry program one of the other facilities is running geared specifically for guys from Rochester where I committed my instant offense. It sounds like a great program that I could benefit from greatly, as it centers on getting your life together for re-entry so you succeed and not come back, something far too many guys seem to do. It would mean leaving this honor dorm, my cushy life facilitating and doing resume work helping guys here that are about to renter, but it might help get me ready and prepared me for my new life outside corrections.
It’s amazing really how I have grown used to this life. Maybe it’s the peace I have with everything. Or maybe it’s knowing that sometime this year, most probably in November, I will finally be released. Whatever the reason, I go on with everything as if I were on the outside, except I know I am not in control of my life. It may be that giving up control over everything, as one has to in here, has made it easier to give up all to God as I attempt to do. Regardless, I work, play, worship and simply enjoy life as I go. Oh sure, guys are getting beat up around me. It’s a wonder I haven’t in so many ways. Most are SO’s, and some ref’s as I mentioned before. And there are always the gang fights that result in beat downs and cuttings. We also have had more self mutilations of late where guys will cut themselves. Then we are locked down while the haz mat guys come in to clean up the mess.
Unfortunately I witnessed the tail end of one such occurrence when I returned early from the yard one evening. Blood everywhere and the offender screaming loudly, nothing I care to see again. I guess matriculating OMH guys into general pop isn’t going as someone planned, with more such happenings and fights as a result.
But I have been spared from all it seems, blessed beyond simple understanding. Oh that these blessings would continue to my board in March, but I feel they will hit me simply because of my impending CR in November. Regardless, I plod along, helping all I can while here, knowing eventually my time will come to also be released.
My good friend, probably my only real friend, William is being released in May. He is very happy but reserved, as this is his second time here, having come back on a parole violation from his first bid. He knows the game, but despite that, has been beaten in his dorm of late. He spent a short time in the infirmary, but then returned none the worse for wear. It is such a shame guys get away with that, but I guess the authorities are too busy to be concerned with small altercations, especially when they involve sex offenders. Plus I guess they feel it serves as a warning for others, that everyone is a potential target, so be on guard, something that then makes their job easier.
Someone asked me what I focus on besides my spiritual work, which in actuality takes a good deal of my time, and I simply said surviving. I have planned produce purchases with guys who grow gardens this year, but mostly I do not plan too far ahead, not knowing exactly what will transpire. William’s situation has taught me that. Also, the Biblical story of the rich man planning on building new barns in Luke 12 v 14-21 has reminded me not to get too far ahead of myself, especially with material things, as none of us are promised tomorrow.
I also think I am coming to the end of my proverbial rope with this prison thing and just want it to end. However, I know from what so many have said, especially ones who have been out there and have come back, that the real test will be on the outside, where you have more freedoms and no CO’s to watch you. When you are on parole, it basically means you are finishing your bid on the outside rather than inside, but still under their control via a parole officer. There will be rules and limitations, probably more than I will like, but that is just part of this Jumanji world that I must complete to get off this crazy merry-go-round and get back to any kind of normal life.
I realize now that much of it will be uphill, especially without my wife and her support. My brother continues to be steady and a stalwart of support, as do my kids. But as in here, and with any repentance and turn from addiction, the decisions and outcomes depend on me and my actions, not just what I think or say. I will forever have to prove myself to God and others and not be defined by any labels this place or society puts on me. That will be the challenge. But then I am a competitive person and will put those attributes to work for my good rather that anything else, starting now in this a new and my last year inside corrections.