Happy Father’s Day to all the worthy fathers of the world, as there are many.
Many more men fail to deliver when it comes to being there for their families, such as I, who spent his life in prison instead of at home with loved ones.
My heart was there, my body was not, and then there were the family issues that removed me from the lives of my children, until after twenty years, my son finds me online and in federal prison.
In his letter he writes, “You may not remember me but I am your son.”
Piercing words delivered without ill intent. He didn’t know the truth of why I departed the lives of him and his sister. Only me and their mother knew the truth.
He wrote to tell me I was soon to be a grandfather (I already was), and am now a four-time grandfather of four beautiful young girls. Girls who do not even know me but of whom I would fight with my life to defend.
For years I hoped to be reunited with my family but then when the day of my release arrives, I am denied that privilege because of issues that revolve around my children and their mother, more so than me.
How many fathers are just like me, whose children fault them because of the past, a past the child does not know and cannot understand? A past that bleeds into the present and future without concern for feelings, filled with self rather than compassion and understanding, forgiveness.
For the fathers fortunate enough to have a healthy relationship with their children, enjoy the special day preserved for you.
For all the others who failed to live up to the father image, be an example of fatherhood to some lonely child in need of a man to look up to and appreciate, even though it may not be possible with your children because of a past you cannot change.
Acceptance of Self and Matters Beyond Control is the Answer to Finding Peace in Unfavorable Circumstances.
Life goes on! Give praise to all the Mothers who raised the children, with or without a mate, and tip your hat to the dads of the world who did what dads are supposed to do: Be a Dad.
These clips I made into a movie with the help of Gallery come from an exciting day. I ate well at a retirement event with one of my sisters, and then went for a walk this evening and saw a beaver and an alligator snapper.
June 14, 2019, Update: Upon further investigation and during the daylight hours, I conclude I erred in my Turtle Identification. The turtle kind enough to pose for the photo shoot was not an alligator snapper: it’s a common snapping turtle, more aggressive than the larger alligator snapper. Sorry.
This YouTube video tells the tail of the turtles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRrWiW1o19E
Good thing for the turtle it was me who found it. A lot of people I know would be cooking Turtle Stew.
Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism
In December 2002, a study author stated that eighty-five percent of prisoners had addiction problems, and of those, half had an underlying mental condition (42.5%). To me, that study shows a critical need for providing resources to help treat addiction problems, if we plan to reduce recidivism.
Thirty Percent of Men and Women with Addiction Problems Have Underlying Mental Health Conditions.
Combine Treatment for Both Issues to Change Lives.
I am one who falls within the study findings and attest to the accuracy of the study finding; however, I don’t live that way anymore. The August 2008 publication from Readers Write in The Sun magazine, helps explain why that remains true: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/392/up-all-night
(For more on the study and its findings, read “No Sympathy” on this site https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/02/no-sympathy/)
Note: I am now free and living my life as a productive member of society and reside in metro Atlanta, Georgia.
The Sun magazine Readers Write topic: Up All Night
I have spent many nights wide awake on methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and Ecstasy. In the late seventies, I used to go on PCP benders and lose days of my life to blackouts. As a result, I cannot honestly say what I have or have not done.
I am currently serving a thirty-five-year federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. For the first seven years of my sentence, I did cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or some combination of the above as often as I could. When the guards came around to count us after lights out, I’d fake being asleep to avoid getting a urinalysis the next day. In the morning I’d begin the search for another fix.
Then I began seeing a prison psychologist. I wanted to stop shooting drugs, but I had failed at it so many times that I didn’t have much hope. The psychologist arranged sessions with a drug-treatment specialist. After about a month, she decided that the core of my addiction was shame, and she gave me a homework assignment: to write about the most shameful event in my life.
I decided to give her more than she had bargained for. I wrote from 5:30 P.M. until 5:30 A.M., committing to paper all the sick secrets that I had vowed to take with me to my grave. I filled sixteen yellow, legal-size pages.
The following day the drug counselor read what I’d written and predicted that I would never use again. For thirteen years her prediction has held true. But I keep in mind that my reprieve from my addiction is contingent on my spiritual condition from day to day. To stay healthy I have to attend twelve-step meetings and continue to write about what’s going on in my life. Staying up all night writing, instead of doing drugs, has helped me to reach beyond the walls and razor wire and into the lives of others.
Wayne T. Dowdy
Edgefield, South Carolina
The Sun magazine, Charlotte, North Carolina, published a clip I sent in response to an article in Readers Write.
That was a decade or so ago. In the published clip, I shared about the experience I wrote about in response to the Quora question: Is it true that people get sprayed with water in prison when they first get there?
No, not during any of my experiences. However, this did happen:
In the Georgia prison system, at the Georgia Diagnostics and Classification Center, in Jackson, new arrivals were sat in a chair and then asked, “How do you want it cut?” referring to the hair on our heads.
After a moment of appearing to listen (for the effect of the joke), the inmate Barber would smile before using hair clippers to cut it down to the scalp. “Oops, I got a little too close,” he might say, a smirk on his face.
Then came the degrading and humiliating part:
All prisoners were stripped of all clothing, and then sprayed with bug poison under the arms and testicles, before the “Turn around and bend over and cock ’em.”
We would have to turn around, bend over and spread the cheeks to be sprayed with the bug poison.
Upon completion of the licing process, then followed a group shower, another aspect of Prison Life I didn’t find enjoyable, but no one ever knew that because I wore my Bullet Proof, Tough Guy Mask.
THE SOLUTION: Keep my ass out of prison. 🙂
I removed the ads a few days ago to improve loading speed and viewer convenience. Besides, I had only made $13.17 cents since the creation of this blog in 2015. Three of those months were with paying eight dollars per month for the Premium Plan, so I can post videos, music, and a few other conveniences not available under the free plan.
I love having this blog, but if those ads aggravated me by popping up in places I didn’t like, obstructing the view of content, and I was paid for allowing their use on my blog, it had to be aggravating to those of you who follow and visit this website.
Now I hope you enjoy reading my content without being bothered by some useless advertisement. The only advertisements will be mine, and those won’t disturb you while reading and viewing content.
Thanks for stopping by. Share the wealth with a friend or loved one. 😊
The correspondence I am posting came in response to material I sent into the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, via a former blog post I wrote that concerned an experimental prison project in Connecticut : “Prison Reform Progress”. https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/04/05/prison-reform-progress/ (referencing Mr. Bill Whitaker’s presentation in 60-Minutes: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/german-style-true-program-at-cheshire-correctional-institution-emphasizes-rehab-for-inmates-60-minutes/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7d&linkId=65567301).
I modified the blog to make it compatable with Corrlinks.com because only text is accepted through Corrlinks. Corrlinks.com provides an email system to federal prisoners at a cost of five-cents per minute, to read, type and send emails. The security system removes all formatting and strips all photos. Text is converted into one font type and style.
I spent hundreds $$$$ to get blogs posted on this website, but … it was only money and the things I am doing are more important than the funds I spent and am spending.
Now I need to find a real job to be able to afford to keep the blogs going, because those of you in the free society have not been charitable, nor were those on the inside.
But …. I will still accomplish my goal of providing valuable content to effect positive social change, even if I do have to find a job flipping hamburgers to do what I feel I am supposed to do, with or without financial support.
Sorry about that:-( I had to get it off my chest!
Here’s the delayed correspondence I intended to post two months ago, but … I got busy and forgot about it until going through old files looking for things to delete and increase storage space.
Corrlinks Correspondence: L.E.A.D.
Well, to answer some of your concerns, guys here have already been actively involved in outside community outreach projects, I made belts for children and guys knitted hats and scarfs as well. I will forward you info so you can see some of those accomplishments, however, it would be extra special to have exclusive outside individuals involved and of course everything is being done according to The First Step Act of 2018 and needs assessments are taking place. This is why most of our class attendance are for the Faith Based Programs L.E.A.D. has to offer because under the First Step Act, those programs reward you 10 days more a year on top of the 7…we always need publicity and our very first graduation will be next month in May and our Unit Manager Mrs. Owens resides over all of this. Thanks for your support. Glad you made it home and some of my other topics from R4R have been posted on a site called The Voice…voicematters2255
—–Dowdy, Wayne on 4/5/2019 3:21 PM wrote:
That is great! I am impressed. In the future, I may see if the staff involved, as well as yourself and others, wants some publicity.
What I have to watch is the fine-lines drawn between Bureau Policy and privacy laws. Anyways, the program sounds great, for real. One thing I suggest is keeping a log if participants to use for recidivism studies and program success rates.
Thanks again for the info. I will send a complimentary copy, Corrlinks’ modified, if I use what you just sent. And I will, of course. I know I’ll update the Quora.com post. Take care and keep up the good work.
M.R. on 4/5/2019 12:53:23 PM wrote
This program was a vision by our very own Dr. R. who is on leave of absence right now and who we miss for her leadership abilities and leadership skills and also Warden A. along with the chaplain. The acronyms stand for:
D.efeating all odds
Our Philosophy statement was created by a staff Sponsor Chaplain Middleton and goes as such:
I am not the mistakes of my past.
Who I am is a masterpiece in the making.
My future is what I dream.
Through discipline and dedication our dreams come true.
I am leading the way.
I am effecting change.
I am achieving greatness.
I am defeating all odds.
Help me learn.
Watch me grow.
Cheer my victory.
This is recited every single morning at our community meetings and must be memorized and learned. I created a few contests and made creative championship belts out of cardboard for those who can recite it on call or for those who have learned every member in our community by last name I make them an achieving greatness belt.
[Modified copy sent into approved correspondents through Corrlinks.com (Inmates must put in a request for correspondence that must then be accepted and approved)].
One thing I gave up when I went to prison was swimming because prisons don’t have swimming pools. At least, none I know of in the United States. Some kiddy camps may have them, but because a knucklehead would drown someone, I understand why prison authorities don’t want swimming pools for prisoners.
Oh, I forgot, prisons are for punishing the inhabitants (in the two Youth Development Centers I was in as a juvenile, we did have swimming pools, but I don’t think they have swimming pools anymore in the Georgia Juvenile Justice system because a child drown years ago).
While in prison, I often wished for a large body of water on hot days, whether a lake, swimming pool, or ocean. Even a bathtub would have been a pleasure. Taking a bath was a rare occasion (I only had a couple while in a local hospital at Leavenworth, Kansas), so when I got home and used the bathtub to take a bath, it was the first bath I’d had in decades. 😊
I loved to swim! I swam like a fish three decades ago, Olympic-type swimming, rhythmic breathing and all of that, where the swimmer uses proven techniques to increase speed and to reduce fatigue. For instance, controlling the motion of the head when coming up for air during set intervals (I believe it’s every third stroke); holding the hands in a certain position, bringing them close to the body, and keeping legs straight while kicking to propel themselves through the water.
At a Youth Development Center, a staff member taught us how to swim like an Olympian, like a fish. Today I went swimming for the first time in three decades and did well, but struggled to get back into the rhythmic breathing and ran out of air too fast when trying to swim like a fish under water, but … it was great to jump in a big body of water! Life is wonderful!
Moving slowly back into society, one day at a time. Nine months ago today, I walked out of federal prison after having served thirty-years and ten-days.
Today was a hot one that I was happy to enjoy as a free man, physically able to walk around, alone, without assistance, and without chains dangling from my wrists and ankles.
Before leaving a Twelve Step meeting today, I shared with a man I sponsor that, when I find myself disgruntled about my circumstances, I try to meditate on my favorite saying: “I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” Then I become grateful for what I have and stop complaining about what I don’t have but want. I have all I need to survive, so Life Is Great!
Yesterday I roamed the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, on a hot and sunny day. The sun, heavy backpack, and the day’s events wore me down. I was exhausted by the time I returned to my place of residence, emotionally and physically drained, parts of my body sore from toting a heavy load. My mind on overload from keeping rational thoughts in the driving seat of actions.
I did not have a wonderful day, per se, as I was denied financial aid by the Finance department at Grady Memorial Hospital, because I couldn’t honestly provide a Fulton County address. I could have lied and got what I wanted but I must live by certain principles if I am going to stay out of prison.
Irrational thought process: I snapped at one point when things weren’t working according to Wayne: “That’s why so many people go back to prison. They get tired of dealing with all the BS when having to deal with these kinds of places.”
The lady politely reminded me that I hadn’t been doing what I was told to do to obtain the approval. True. I’m guilty.
This is a short video clip from part of my day, and if you notice the expression on my face, it does not show being thrilled and happy to be here.
Damn the Torpedoes!
I lived to fight another day and will be okay. The medical conditions that I sought financial help for their treatments are not life threatening, today, so life is good. I am a survivor and will survive.
If I believe that everything happens for a reason and that things work the way they are supposed to, which I do, then I must accept that just because the world doesn’t work according to Wayne, does not mean that it is BAD.
What is GOOD or BAD is a matter of perception. For Me To Still Be Alive and Kicking … is Great!