Life doesn’t always go as planned. Especially when you find yourself in a maximum-security state prison on your first-ever offense.
When Life Takes an Unexpected Detour
At 27 years old, I seemed to have everything in front of me: a promising future as an attorney and a serious boyfriend who I’d thought I’d marry. But one rash decision to get behind the wheel when I shouldn’t have changed all that – and suddenly, my days weren’t consumed with taking depositions or attending hearings anymore. Instead – for four years – they revolved around the canteen, who was dating who on the compound, and whether I was going to get access to the pay phone to call my family that night.
Undoubtedly, those days were the hardest times of my life, but taking a “time-out” from society really forced me to sit and think about my drinking and how it led me to where I was.
Developing a New Outlook
After years of being clean, I can now look back with a different perspective; one where I can appreciate how my substance abuse led me to the life I have today.
- I’ve Realized Who My True Friends Are
When you’re in prison, the highlight of your existence is receiving mail and getting visits – any contact from the outside world keeps you going. A good handful of people who I considered friends barely reached out to me or made the effort to keep in touch, whereas those who I hadn’t talked to in years really stepped up to the plate. You really learn who your true friends are when you hit rock-bottom, and I used this insight when I got out of prison to surround myself with people who had my best interests at heart.
- I Ditched the Self-Pity
Prior to my car crash, I always felt sorry for myself. Even though I had a great life, I focused on what everyone else had that I didn’t. The constant resentment and injustice I felt caused me to look for an escape through alcohol. Now, I can look back at the fallacy of my thinking and recognize all the great things I have going – and focus all my energy there instead.
- I Have Gratitude for My Life
For as long as I can remember, I took my life for granted. But after losing my freedom and almost killing myself and others, I realized how lucky I was to be alive. I began looking at life like I had a second chance – a second chance to do better and be a better person – and if it wasn’t for my old addiction I doubt I would have ever gotten this important change in perspective.
Additional Reading: The Thief – 7 Things Addiction Steals From Us
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