The bridge between successful reentry for returning citizens and recidivism may be a narrow path to follow but those who chose to become productive members of society learn to cross it and to stay focused on living a new way of life. Dr. K. and I are only two examples of those who continue to be success stories by choosing not to return to old behaviors.
In this blog I am giving props to Dr. K., because I am proud of him for satisfying the full term of his court mandated supervised release. Supervised release in the federal system is the same as parole in state systems.
Dr. K. is a man I helped a few years ago to win a post-conviction relief motion.
He won his case in federal court and left the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons several years before his original release date. He remains a free man and is living his new life as a truck driver/owner/operator.
In one of my favorite blogs, Out of Many (Out of Many | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN), I mentioned Dr. K. for giving me one of his magazines to read that I used to write the blog. He also used to encourage me to write from a more positive perspective, rather than the negative one I used to shoot daggers into an issue or public individual I found offensive.
Dr. K., like me, walked out of the prison doors with a goal in mind related to helping others to successfully reintegrate into society. I sought to use straightfromthepen.org and straightfromthepen.net to challenge the status quo of mass incarceration, and he the creation of a non-profit organization geared toward providing resources to help returning citizens. After our release, mine of which came much later, both of us ran into an issue of not having public support to accomplish our goals. That hasn’t stopped either from continuing to live our lives in a productive manner that does not include committing crimes.
Prison life often divides people because of its racial nature.
He is an African American and I am of the lighter persuasion. Our racial and cultural differences never interfered with our bond as friends while working in the Quality Management office for an ISO certified factory, or when walking an asphalt track to discuss events or to plot the next legal move in his case.
The main thing today is that we remain free and strive to be successful as returning citizens to show others that positive change is possible and that our past does not define who we are today. Our lives show that returning citizens can stay out of prison to become part of the solution (being a positive role in society) instead of part of the problem (another number in the recidivism column for Mass Incarceration).
I’ll close with an excerpt from Out of Many
“UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL: Our beliefs and values may unite or divide us; whether based on racial or cultural differences or similarities, religion, politics, fears, sexual preference or identity, and a whole array of other reasons.
“How do we keep from falling? Join hands and accept each other so we can work together to survive this thing we call life. If each of us represents a ‘cell’ of the humanity organism, those who damage and injure others are the cancers of society, driven by hate and indifference.” Wayne T. Dowdy, Out of Many.
Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism
July 11, 2021: I am reposting this blog because of its importance to me and millions of others. Had I not changed my life in 1995 while inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I would never have lived long enough to walk out of the prison doors. Today I have a life worth living because I dealt with the interpersonal issues I had that kept me caught up in my addition and in prison for the majority of my life.
I am evidence that miracles happen.
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.
On another website, I posted a blog and used a similar image as the one shown above, but the point remains the same: I am trying to catch a few crumbs through online Affiliate marketing to help prepare a better future and to earn additional income.
I am debating flipping, too (buying and reselling items), to generate additional funds through eBay, Poshmark, or on websites I create and then use search engine optimization techniques to become more visible. Google Ads and Facebook ads are additional options.
For many returning citizens who struggle with finding employments, as I did upon release, starting a business is another option.
My goal is to focus more on building my business to employ others who need a chance at success.
Because of the risks associated with a returning citizen, or an ordinary citizen, having an accident in a vehicle or being pulled over by law enforcement, products I found interesting are cameras–dash cams that may be placed on mirrors, or in the front and or rear of the car to record all activity within view.
I love the technology available for people to use to protect themselves and others. Follow the link on WonderfulThingsDone for discounts on products sold by REXING to use on vehicles, in the home, or in the woods (trail cameras to record animals or intruders).
If you use any of the links and purchase a product, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Life After Release continues to be an adventure and a learning experience. My life on the outside is evidence that those who wish to successfully reintegrate can do it by accepting that things happen that wasn’t in the Pre-release Plans.
I imagined life after release would be much different than it has been for me.
Expectations of others to support my business endeavors by utilizing links from my websites to purchase items has been a true learning experience.
What I do know is that Envy Runs Deep, no matter how much a person claims to support the success of a released citizen. When my success would prove their pessimistic views wrong, I should have known not to expect support, even though the support would not have any negative effect on them or their finances.
One of my favorite sayings is that, “Your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear a word of what you say.”
In one particular case, more than one person close to me has literally bought thousands of dollars worth of items from Amazon, who had been asked to start from the links in my website so that I could earn a commission from the purchase at no cost or risk to them.
Why would someone NOT support a loved one’s attempt to become a successful affiliate marketer when absolutely NO risk or harm or cost would come to them?
Could it be envy, or a desire to see that person fail, or for some other reason? Whatever the case may be in this particular situation for me is one that I am certain is not unique to me as a returning citizen.
I can’t change other people: I can only change how I respond or react to a situation that “I” allow to cause me to experience negative thoughts or emotions.
By accepting that no one is obligated to help or to support me in any way, allows me to not be angry because that person (or those people) did not act “According to Wayne.”
In the early days of my recovery, I had some affiliates and associates who went to extremes to tempt me into falling back into my evil, wicked ways by offering free drugs, knowing I was trying to not use again because I had a bad problem with stopping once I started; one in particular who would only give it to me to use, not to sell.
Why? In my opinion, two reasons, with the main one being that the change in my behavior removed me from helping them to do their dirty deeds. Another relates to the old cliche’ that Misery Loves Company.
When a person (a Hater), has a negative view or image of another person, IF that other person succeeds in an area the Hater has failed or said couldn’t be done, then how would that make the Hater feel? Not good.
The person who offered free drugs to use, only, died within four years because of his addiction. He had been one of my partners-in-crime who refused to put forth an effort to change and it cost him his life.
The above is only one example of many things that I would never have thought would be a reality in my life, even though I knew not to place expectations on others if I wanted serenity in my life. The good thing is that I am aware and know that I must let others be themselves, regardless of how wrong I feel they may be. It’s okay either way. I am only responsible for my side of the equation.
Other examples are my plans to buy a house, sign the contract, and then learn that the house was not a good buy, so then I cancelled the plan and lost $500 in the process. Life goes on.
I got in the stock market and done fairly well for a small time player, and then the stock market goes wild. Though I am still up in the game, and have learned through the drastic swings, I hated losing money I had made. I accepted it and continue to hope for a better outcome in the future.
My plan was to get rich quick. Perhaps I need a better strategy for getting rich or just be grateful for what I have and continue to do the next right thing, not letting the Mighty Dollar take me away from doing the things I need to do to experience more peace of mind, serenity. 🦉
In the near future I am going to write about other aspects of Life After Release that hasn’t worked “According to Wayne” that I refuse to lose sleep over.
Life goes on, and for that I am grateful because I do have what I need, even though I still don’t have all of what I envisioned having before I walked out of the prison gates on August 28, 2018.
That Patek Philippe in the photo is a fake and a terrible time piece that stops keeping time when I lay it down.
My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?
Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.
Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).
Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.
In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon and other online booksellers, Essays & More Straight from the Penor separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.
Excerpt from The Price of Change
I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.
Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.
Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.
I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.
I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.
Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly.
The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy
My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.
In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.
To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.
From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.
I wanted and received Platinum Certification!
My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.
On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!
Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.
I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.
My criminal history never entered the equation.
During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.
Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.
Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.
The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.
But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.
Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.
Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.
Financial Success Shines Ahead!
My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.
I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!
The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.
Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.
The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.
Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.
Please help to spread this idea like a fire to generate support and encourage positive change for fixing the broken criminal justice system. Help Change Lives and Build a Healthier Society. Wayne T. Dowdy
You are granted permission to copy, print, and publish any part of this document, but you must give attribution to the author. You may alter this document, but you must denote the changes in some manner. You may not charge for any work where this document makes up the majority of the work’s text. Jason Glascock
Formula for Integrated Rehabilitation & Education
Statement of Purpose
A person’s education is an on-going process gained through all of life’s experiences. The environment in which a person is immersed is highly influential in the quality and breadth of education. It, therefore, behooves a society to create such an environment that encourages an individual’s self-development, and this development ought to enrich society with individuality’s ability to adapt.
The strength of a culture, society, community is based on the strengths of the individuals bring to it. Without the individual, there is no community. Therefore, the individual is a more important aspect that must be protected. The purpose of A.F.I.R.E. is to develop an environment whereby the individual can grow into a being that is solidly independent that can then choose to become interdependent within society.
The A.F.I.R.E. is a long-term project to create an environment that the person is immersed in. The environment is all-encompassing with a carefully and intentionally created effect that is unique to the individual. The person is given access to resources that allow them to guide their own development, with assistance available, in a context that is supportive of self-discovery for the individual to become a fully realized being. The environment offers the person to make the choice, without coercion or force. The environment is reinforcing of the ideas of individuality and the person as the creator of the community.
is to be instituted in a five-phased process with specific goals. These goals
build on the goals of each previous phase. The phases are not set, but intended
to be dynamic, adaptable and open to new solutions, but always with the
overreaching goal to creating an environment that allows the individual to
achieve the greatest benefit of self-empowerment.
develop a set of personality, aptitude, interest, and metrics that can be used
to inform both the person and prison about how to create the most advantageous
environment for that person, identify freedom potential factors already extant,
and determine what to build upon.
develop a basic set of self-empowerment resources available in the main
develop computer lab resources for extended studies.
develop staff training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
develop prisoner training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
Goal: develop an industry-supported certification schema for education.
Goal: develop post-release support for reintegration, including:
– social development with people of shared
interests, i.e. clubs
develop staff centric incentives program for positive relations
develop prison diversion programs that begin at arrest.
develop elementary through high school programs for all students which reduce
risk by inspiring healthy psychological growth.
develop independence schools to encourage freedom potential factors.
goes much further than the STEM Initiative in creating an entire environment
designed to encourage the pursuit of that which grows the individual into a
healthy and complete being. STEM is a basic educational paradigm, but AFIRE is
about how to live, how to think about living, and how to create the best
situation for the person within a prison setting to grow in a positive manner.
Currently, prison is designed to be debilitating. The philosophies of the penological system are to handicap the prisoner and make him/her into an inmate subservient to their will, to take away the individuality and make them nothing but a body. Everything is a punishment from the beds, clothes, food and showers, to relationships with family and support groups. Every opportunity is carefully constructed to ensure failure, encourage strife, and negatively impact the psyche.
A.F.I.R.E. works to change the culture of prison into a healthful experience. Punishment is the separation and periodic denial of close relationships and the freedom of travel, not the denial of educational opportunities, health, and the pursuit of skills that can enrich society. We hurt ourselves when we harm others, and prison is a terrible harm to inflict on our community members. The prisoner is no less part of our community while in prison as they are in the Free World.
IF you prefer to read more about Labor Day, select the link/URL below. I write this blog to honor a loved one and to share my first experience at a memorial service in over thirty years, as a free citizen since my release from federal prison on August 28, 2018.
“What is the meaning of Labor Day?
“Do you get weekends off work? Lunch breaks? Paid vacation? An eight-hour workday? Social security? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you can thank labor unions and the U.S. labor movement for it. Years of hard-fought battles (and the ensuing legislation they inspired) resulted in many of the most basic benefits we enjoy at our jobs today. On the first Monday in September, we take the day off to celebrate Labor Day and reflect on the American worker’s contributions to our country.” https://nationaltoday.com/labor-day-2019/ [errors corrected by this author]
America celebrates Labor Day in honor of the working men and women who make America great. I will work today at a Goodwill of North Georgia store in McDonough, Georgia.
The work I do does not compare to work done by those who serve in the military, in America and abroad, as well as the emergency responders and all others who serve and protect the public. Pro-war, anti-war, anti-government, or whatever, in my opinion, those brave men and women deserve praise and to be honored; especially, the fallen men and women we celebrate on Memorial Day who gave their lives.
My personal Memorial Day began on August 17, 2019, when a loved one took that flight to a special place in the sky, high above the clouds. I had awakened during the early hours and knew his day had come, so I sent him a text message and one on Messenger to say my farewell to Bob, my brother-in-law, and friend of over fifty years.
He moved on to another life within twelve hours.
Bob P. served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era. He left the United States en route to Vietnam, and then a miracle happened: President Richard Nixon began the de-escalation of troops in Vietnam to end the war, so Bob went to Korea and, then later, to Japan instead of Vietnam.
He fought many health battles after his return, many illnesses which were caused by exposure to chemicals used during that period. He survived cancer and then had his first heart attack at the age of thirty-nine, likely caused by drugs used to treat cancer developed from exposure to the chemicals.
The Air Force honored Bob at the Memorial Service. I fought tears and lost several battles during the service, but when the soldier began playing the Taps, the streams began to flow.
Many men and women trapped inside prison walls cannot attend funeral services. Some can but many cannot. I was one who could not because I was viewed as a security risk.
While in prison, I lost my mother and one of my younger brothers. From inside prison, though difficult to deal with the loss of loved ones, whose funerals I could not attend because of my security level, I was somewhat shielded from the emotional effects of death. I wanted to go to their funerals and to be there for them, but couldn’t because of the mistakes I had made decades before.
I had never attended a military funeral but suspect Bob’s won’t be my last. Military or not, I do not like attending such an event; however, I love the survivors enough to deal with my personal discomfort to be there to support them with love and compassion.
The ones I loved and cared for, whose services I attend, have left the body or remains and may be watching and wondering, “Why are they crying, don’t they know I am free and at peace?”
Time keeps ticking no matter what goes on in my life. My desire to succeed never slows or diminishes, as I remain determined to succeed on a professional level, just as I have done on an interpersonal level.
My life on the outside has been a challenge in many respects, as it took me eleven months to find a job, other than the non-paying positions I have as a writer and a blogger.
Trying to fit back into society after serving thirty-years, six-months, and eighteen days of my life inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, has also been a challenge, since my not having a job or a place of my own has interfered with having normal, healthy relationships with females. At least, not in the romantic sense: I have healthy-relationships without romantic involvement.
Without the love and support of my friends and a loving family, life would be much rougher for me and more of a challenge to successfully reintegrate into society.
On July 18, 2019, I began working for Goodwill of North Georgia as an Environmental Services Technician, a long title for a janitor, a humble servant.
I am happy to have a regular income and do enjoy getting to do something constructive (cleaning floors, toilets, helping others and doing whatever needs done to keep the building clean and as sanitary as I can).
My position at Goodwill is a way for me to give back to the community because Goodwill does things to help a whole lot of people to have and to do things that otherwise would not be possible. I love Goodwill!
Go to Goodwill of North Georgia and get a job and I’ll love them more if you tell them Wayne T. Dowdy from the McDonough, Georgia store referred you so that I get a $50 bonus. 🙂
Being a servant keeps me humble, a spiritual trait I need because my EGO was out to kill me when I allowed it to run out of control. Today, I remain clean and sober to keep the Ego under control and out of the driver’s seat.
I am like my first sponsor in a Twelve Step program who said, “I have a head that thinks it can kill the body and keep on living.”
Good thing that I know it lies!
In Conclusion: I will make my living with the business I am creating. I will remain humble and do what I can to help the community, online and in person, as I continue my journey of life on the outside.
Here’s a short video clip from the Adventures of Wayne at the Clayton County Reservoir, where I went to a retirement party with a loved one. I hope you enjoy the beauty of the scenery as much as I and can appreciate having eyes to see.
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!