Just Another Recovering Person

Behind the Wire



“So when I’m at one of these meetings on the outside, do I have to tell everyone I’ve been in prison?
I don’t know about anyone else here, but I don’t want to have to tell folks I just got done doin’ a bit”.

I was at Mansfield Reformatory on Saturday with a group of guys doing an H&I NA Learning Day. H&I stands for hospitals and institutions. This year instead of going into the honor camp we went into the main facility. Check-in was a pain. For guys going in it is a priviledge so I don’t complain out loud. Odd statement a priviledge going into the joint. If you have ever done this as part of your service program you know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven’t, I highly suggest finding a way to do it.

It changed my recovery, and changed my life.

Some of us after being clean have no compassion for those who are locked up. We weren’t that ‘bad”. In truth, we were worse. The only saving grace for us was we simply didn’t get caught. No more, no less. It’s not because I was smarter, slicker, or cooler, God knows that. I have no real clue why I wasn’t caught, I was a messy addict. I have to believe it was so that I can do what I did on Saturday. I have been given the ability to speak, my mind isn’t that forgone, and I have been where you have been. I have the ability to share an effective message of hope and a promise of freedom. That’s why.

The guys are always cool. They are grateful that others take the time to come in and talk to them. See they have plenty of time to deal with, so when they see someone take the time to share with them, something really cool happens. We remember that we are all human beings. It doesn’t matter what my personal reservations about particular crimes are or aren’t. The state would view them as criminals first and addicts last, I view them as addicts who turned to crime. These are guys with various charges, all of which any one of us could have been charged with during active addiction.

This was not a GP (General Population) event. The guys had to be working a program offered through Recovery Services at the pen. The system learned a long time ago guys will manipulate the system. Recovery Services works with individuals to try and make a difference for those who have a willingness to do so. I was humbled that I was asked to go for a second year and hope that I will be asked next year as well.

The weekend was busy. Son is fine. Daughter was so-so this weekend.
The Homecoming Dance went fine on Saturday night until I picked her up. She wanted to run here and there and it was already late. She told me if I didn’t let her do what she wanted she was going to ‘flip out’ at home. I told her to save herself the time and ‘flip out’ now in the car in front of her friend so she could get it out now. She didn’t find that funny but it allows me to know that all of this is not bipolar issues, that she has enough cognitive control that she is just being manipulative. We’ll see.

Have a great day…..Bob D.


Comments on: "Behind the Wire" (2)

  1. I am so glad you mentioned the fact that many end up in prison not because they are violent criminals but because they were addicts who had turned to crime.

    Not much help in there, lots of, attitude, despair and anger to go around though.

    the law is an ass sometimes!

    • beyondtheendoftheroad said:

      I found out after we arrived that the State of Ohio cut the Recovery Services Department budget with exception to salaries. They have very little in the way of funding for books or other literature. We are doing our best to carry the message.

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