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beyond the prison walls

Beyond The Prison Walls

There I was standing before the judge. My life was in his hands. What was in store for me? Where was I going? What was I doing? Where would my life go from here? So many unanswered questions went through my mind. I stood there hand cuffed and shacked before him my eyes filled with tears as he read me my charges. I stood numb, tears strolling down my face. Unable to wipe the tears or hold them back because of the handcuffs held my hands tight. Looking into the eyes of the judge I knew I was in trouble I also knew it was because of my own doing. The judge took the small wooden gavel and banged the desk in front of him. Guilty as charged you will spend the next thirteen months at coffee creek correctional center credit for time served. I told him Thank you and that I was sorry Iím sure he heard it so many times before.
I knew that once again addiction had taken over my soul and had brought me where I was today. There would be no other way I would be standing here not now not ever .I was not in my right mind I was in the mind of an addict. I did not do things like that in my right mind Addiction takes your mind and swallows you up. It has no control over what you do or what you think. Addiction has no conscience plus denial makes it nearly impossible for us to own up to our mistakes.
I knew I would be leaving for prison shortly after I got back from court I was relieved it was finally over. The anticipation I felt up to this point had finally come to an end I would loose my freedom for a time, hopefully getting back the dignity and respect I once had for myself and others before addiction took over. I was tired of loosing everything, I was tired of the people I was meeting I was just plain tired. I was on a road to destruction and I knew it. I was ready to face my fears to come to terms with what ever came my way. The fear of the unknown overwhelmed me as we drove to the prison. My whole life flashed in front of me and I knew that if I didnít come to terms this time I never would.
The van we left in had ten other prisoners all going the same place all for different reasons all for different sentences. Although my sentence was short, to me it seemed like a life time. I felt so alone, confused and scared girls were so mean to me in jail and I knew prison would be worse. When we finally arrived in Wilsonville, Oregon we went up a long windy road up to the prison the only thing I saw were trees and bushes the town was left behind us. This seemed to be a place all of its own. We went through a long narrow gate that locked behind us. It would be the same gate I would leave when I returned back to society.
The road I would take while I was here would be up to me now. The changes I made here would be what my life had in store for me later. From what I had heard prison either made you worse or it made you better time would tell. The door opened to the main prison and shut quickly we followed the guard down the long hallway where we were directed to a room where we were told to wait. I felt cold and clammy some what of an eerie feeling that I couldnít explain. There were windows all through the room and long metal benches. You could see the activity going on in the other rooms if you paid close attention only you really couldnít tell what was going on.
A female guard approached the door she took her key and unlocked the room. There were half a dozen showers lined up next to each other. We were asked to remove our clothing in front of her. She had us open our mouth, look behind each ear, lift up each breast. We then stepped in the shower we were asked to bend down and cough. It was so degrading to have to shower while someone observed our every move.
I knew the worse was yet to come and that it wasnít over yet. After our shower we were given 3 pairs of jeans, 3 blue tee shirts, 1 sweatshirt, a pair of sweat pants, a night shirt, and under garments. After we got dressed we were brought to another place where we were finger printed and had our pictures taken. Our pictures were laminated and hole punched so we could wear them around our necks. The tag must be worn at all times. It contained our full name, birth date, and our identification number which was called our SID number.
I would start out in medium custody and from there I would go to minimum custody. We finally arrived at the dorm where we would start our stay for the next 6 weeks. There were 49 dorms on the top floor and 49 dorms on the bottom floor. There were 2 girls to each dorm where we would be in lock down 20 hours a day. We would have an hour to be outside time to eat breakfast lunch and dinner and to shower. The dorms were eight by ten which included a sink, toilet, bunk bed, and a desk with 2 small metal chairs. The doors opened and shut every hour on the hour by an air system. It was so shrilling but then I just got use to it you just learn to get use to things there itís the way it is.
After awhile things became routine. I used the same survival skills I learned on the streets, you learn to feed your addiction or you get sick. Everything you do is for survival. The longer I was there the easier it became it was amazing to me but I knew this is where I belonged. I knew I had to come here to learn the things I had missed out on being on my own at such a young age. I knew this is where I would learn the respect I was never taught. The stability I never knew and the rules of life that I never had. It was all clear to me now. I knew it was not a mistake for me to be here but that this is where I needed to be to have a successful future. The rest would be up to me. It wasnít taking away my freedom like I thought but giving me my freedom back. I opened my eyes and it was over. My old life was behind me and my new life was only yet to come. I didnít have to ever let my addiction win again. I never had to let my past mistakes become my future failures. I was handed a new set of tools to live and learn by. I knew if I used them the right way things would change. Recovery has been apart of my life ever since. The demons still haunt me at times. But I donít give in I donít look back and I keep on getting my toolbox out when I need to and sometimes even if I donít.

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