It’s true. Love is always on time whether you believe it or not. Though it helps if you believe. When I went to prison in 1995 for a horrible car accident I thought my life was over. Prayed it was over. I had never been married, never had kids. I had been a drug addict for 26 years, though not to my delight. I’d checked myself in to drug and mental health programs 13 times for help to stop, to no avail. I just couldn’t do it no matter how hard I tried. Finally, I had a car accident that literally put a halt to my life and sadly ended the lives of a young married couple with a little baby. I had cocaine in my system which created a felony of first degree vehicular homicide, for which I was sentenced to 35 years to serve 17, in prison. I served 14 years and 3 months. During those early years in prison I prayed for death. My life as I saw it was most definitely over. I had gone to prison during the “prime of my life”. I was done.
The hell of wanting cocaine, craving & dreaming about it while in a cell of concrete and steel was torment enough. Yet, there was more angst than just that. There was the depression as a result of my brain chemistry rerouting new paths where there were none before. For some reason, that felt painful and hugely depressing. I was placed on suicide watch for 3 days. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that two people were killed because of me. There is no way to fathom that responsibility and it make any sense. But it was because of me. I wasn’t here on the floor in a paper gown for balloon sculpting at the local fair. I knew that the culmination of all my drug addicted tormented life had brought me to this place. And that will never be any else’s fault. I own that horror. I was a killer and I hated myself.
There I was in a paper see through gown on a dirty plastic mattress on the floor of a cell in the medical unit. There was an open shower in my cell along with a toilet stool all exposed for the male/female officers/nurses and passers-by to see me. And they did watch me. Not only did I need cocaine, I smoked cigarettes. And I really needed one of those. Knowing the quickest way out was to not make any waves, look as happy, normal as possible, I asked for something to read. I was given a Bible. I read it all day, all night. Tried to only use the bathroom when the women officers were present. But I was not always successful in that. People came and looked through the glass at me as if I were an animal. Living on the floor of a cold cell, naked, I felt very much like one.
One of the prisoners in another cell started a fire. When that didn’t get her the attention she wanted, she flooded her cell with feces she had saved up. Then when the officers tried to remove her from her cell she threw it at them with cups of urine she’d also saved. They let her out. I kept reading.
When I slept, I dreamed of shooting up cocaine. Knew that if I got out of jail on bond, I would go shoot some up, first thing. I also knew that I would probably run away and become a wanted fugitive. Hated to do it to my family, but knew if I got out, for sure that would happen. I was refused bond.
I had a plan, to read and explore everything I ever wanted to know and learn and do within my grasp and power in prison, then, I’d die. I figured I’d start by reading all the classic literature that I had missed in school. Then move on to science. Being a great Star Trek fan, I believed that if one could build a space ship that could get through a black hole, then we’d be able to travel into separate physical dimensions that I believe are there. So, I read, for years, having the time to do so, and learning became a passion. Art became a by-product. And, I became happy, in prison. Very strange to believe one could actually become happy locked up. But my life prior to prison was an array of awful dramas and lifelong addiction. I had never been an adult drug free until I went to prison.
So, since I was 11 years old when I started doing drugs, I was in effect that of an 11-year-old when I went to prison. Arrested development, it is called. Think of that, being 11 emotionally in a prison with all those other people…was hard.