Recovery is alive and well here in Terminal Island. Thanks to the panels of H&I, the message is carried loud and strong. A lot of people don’t consider prison time "clean time," bet there are quite a few people who got clean in the very cell they shot up in. Just as you can find drugs here, you can find sobriety.
My situation is a little different than most. I was indicted and arrested on an old case from 2005, so I already had 2 ½ years clean and sober by the time I arrived. I was working for a drug and treatment center and had completely turned my life around. Funny how the wreckage of your past can come to bite you in the ass.
It was really hard for me because I kept thinking, 'I finally do the right thing and get back on the right path for this to come up out of nowhere. This is my reward for getting sober? Where is the love?' I’m no innocent but 135 months is hard to wrap your head around.
I’m truly blessed that I was sent to a facility with such a strong AA/NA recovery program. We are a group of 20-25 guys who work the steps and follow the path of recovery. We sponsor one another and are there for support and guidance.
Through the steps I’ve learned to accept my situation and that there is a reason and purpose to everything. I strive to work my program better and carry the message to others. Being of service also frees me from the bondage of self and gets me out of my head. Although I was given a chunk of time, there are guys doing 20 to 30 years on a drug charge. The Feds give out time like it’s candy. But when I’m feeling self-pity I have these great individuals to look up to who are doing the walk and talking the talk. There are so many good people in here who just got caught up in a bad situation and are doing an exorbitant amount of time. It’s completely insane.
But I’m lucky because today I’ve been relieved of my obsession to use. I get to deal with life on life’s terms. I’m not living the unproductive drug-induced life of my past. I deal with my thoughts and emotions as they come up and I don’t mask them through the use of drugs and alcohol. Thanks to this program I get to chance to make amends, and recognize my resentments both current and past. I practice persistence. In my daily affairs I embrace progress, not perfection.
Everyone that comes into our group consistently says that they get so much more out of our meetings than they could have ever imagined. So if you’re considering an H&I commitment, try it. The rewards can be so great and we appreciate it immensely.
Terminal Island Federal Prison
Ed. note.: If you would like to write Doug, please email me for his address at email@example.com