In Recovery: Part 2 – Jail Time
From jail, to the end of my treatment in 3 different V.A. Treatment Centers, this part of My Story uncovers the journey of my recovery. I vividly, and candidly chronicled my day to day struggles with recovery, mental health, amends, and dealing with the V.A. empire on my blog from October of 2016, to the end of 2017. You can find these musings in the Archives. However, in the coming weeks, I look back at those experiences and give you a more coherent story of my life In Recovery. I look back on that year with more insight as to what was happening, and share with you the principles and actions that built the foundation for my ongoing recovery.
The picture above is exactly where I spent time in jail from May 12, 2016 to October 9, 2016. It doesn’t show many inmates at the moment, because they are in lockdown; only the “pod” custodians are allowed out during this time. There is hardly a worse feeling you will ever feel, than when your freedom has been taken away. The only other time that I had been overtaken with such a feeling of desperate hopelessness and depression, was when I was taken to the Youth Development Center at the young age of 14.
If you have ever been to criminal court, there are two types of defendants: the ones who are asked to step to the podium, and the ones that are escorted past the podium, to the wall with the door built into it. The former are the “lucky” ones; they will be going home. The latter are not so “lucky”; they will be handcuffed and escorted through the door in the wall. I was the latter on May 12, 2016. At about 4:30 p.m., I was escorted through the wall, into the bowels of the courthouse. My bail had been revoked. I was on my way to the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.
The sadness and despair of being incarcerated is a feeling few ever experience. It is a deep and pervasive depression that takes hold of you immediately. I remember thinking that my boss, who thought I was just checking in with probation and returning to work, would have no idea what had happened to me.
I remember how angry I was that my ex had filed a bogus Restraining Order, triggering my bail revocation. I remember the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness as I was guided into the small dark van that would take me to jail. I don’t remember blaming myself and my actions long before this day had arrived. Believe it or not such honesty and introspection didn’t take hold for several months.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of jail processing and procedures. I will tell you that all inmates are processed and classified based upon numerous factors, and put into dorms until you are placed into a “pod.” Jail is not prison. Jail is where you go while you await your trial, or where you serve sentences that are generally less than 2 years. I had hopes of getting out of jail when my bench trial for the bogus Domestic Abuse charge came up on June 18th. I never, ever expected to be found guilty on that charge, but I was. I was ordered to serve 6 months.
I can tell you that the disease of alcoholism fueled my thoughts for the first few months in jail. Incredibly, I was feeling relieved that once I was out, I could resume drinking in peace; the catalyst for all my troubles would be nowhere to be found. After my conviction in June, she had sold her home, destroyed what property I had left there, and moved to Florida. It took me another 2 months before I stopped blaming her, and began to consider the possibility that my life had become unmanageable; that I was powerless over alcohol. The reality of what I faced upon release from jail did not take hold right away. Imagine! Even as I sat in a small cell, I was not thinking about being sober! I was not thinking of the consequences of my actions. It was not until about 3 months in, that the reality of my future had begun to sink in.