Tag Archives: drug addiction

Happy Independence Day

Last year I wrote a more formal blog on Independence Day in America. Most of the facts and sentiments remain the same, so if you want to read about that, click Here.

For this post, I am writing about my personal independence that is more important to me than any celebrated holiday in America or anywhere else.

Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Patriotic, my Independence Day comes first: I won’t grab a gun and run out to get shot defending some political enemy of no interest to me.

Now, if an invader came to America and the United States government didn’t want to put me in prison for the rest of my life for picking up a firearm, then Yes, I would pick up a weapon to defend this nation. But that is not the case today.

My Independence Day began when I stopped allowing my addictions to control my behavior back in 1995. Twenty-five years later, I maintain that sense of freedom that I gained when I put down the spike and stopped trying to take myself out, one day at a time.

Today I live my life, one day at a time and don’t feel the need to use any mind-altering substance to alter my perception of life.

I like seeing things as they are and don’t need to alter my perception to deal with all of the BS going on in America today and around the world.

It is what it is and I can’t change anything outside myself.

So today, that is my Independence: freedom from the chains of addiction that kept me enslaved to finding a way and means to get more that was never enough.

When I ran out, I felt worse than miserable, and the problem was that I did run out and could not get what I wanted when I wanted it, and that really pissed me off and made me a really difficult person to deal with who I grew to despise when I looked in the mirror.

NOW that I am free and have come to terms with my past, life is good and I just do the next right thing and know that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to for me.

And so today and every day, I celebrate my independence and am thrilled and happy to be here, with “here” meaning still in existence, because I know that it is only by the grace of God, my higher power, that I lived to fight another day and come out the victor in my battle of addiction that went on for over twenty-five years before I got the courage to stand up and fight for my right to be free. I broke the chains and ran into a bright new future: free.

Could Be Me

But for the Grace of God There Go I

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)

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