I was devistated by having come back to prison for the third time. I couldn’t believe that i had put myself in such a precarious position again and that i still hadn’t figured myself out. It was like i couldn’t trust who i believed myself to be and that there was another person hidden just below the surface.
My worst nightmare was before me. All i wanted was to die but i kept hearing a voice inside me telling me to look at myself and dig deeper. What i saw was chaotic. I was still running from all my feelings from losing my mother. I had suppressed them but that only made things worse. I was a lose cannon of emotions and whenever things got too stressful for me i resorted to alcohol-cocaine abuse.
I new nothing about post traumatic stress back when all this happened to me. I was fighting blindfolded against an enemy that knew my every move.
My recovery started when i ended up being one of the guys that got sent out of state due to overcrowding in our prison system. I got sent to Minnesota. I found the desire to check into some self-help books and made the trip to the library.
I found three books that really helped me address myself on a personal level.
1) EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by DANIEL GOLEMAN,
2) THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SELF-ESTEEM by DR, NATHANIEL BRANDEN, and 3) SELF-RELIANCE AND THE ACCOUNTABLE LIFE-TAKING RESPONSIBILITY by DR. NATHANIEL BRANDEN. These books pointed out areas of my life and patterns of behavior that i had blinded myself to. Each one served my benefit and i became inspired to live a life of integrity and climb out of the hole i’d dug.
When i got done with my “psychological boot camp”, i knew i needed a foundation to build my new life upon. I grew up in church and knew that i hadn’t put real effort into my faith. I’d been going to church my whole life and still didn’t know God.
I made the decision to earnestly search for God and have the “personal relationship” that i often heard mentioned. I had been humbled by all my failed attempts to clean my life up on my own. Now, the work was beyond what i could mentally bear. I acknowledged my need for supernatural help.
Best decision i ever made was recommitting my life to Christ. The life i live today isn’t tainted by pain, low esteem, fear, or selfishness. I’m able to walk in integrity and it has resulted in good things coming into my life to continue encouraging me.
In my next piece i will elaborate on how my life has moved in a new direction.
Adolphus E. Redding