Monday, August 17, 2015

New Post: "Focusing On What's Important - Before Prison"

Focusing on What's Important

There is so much going on in our world each day.
How do we choose which to spend our energy on, 
and the activities we will instead decide to let go of?

Before prison, I had many plans for how to use my time:
exercise, church, work, volunteering, and socializing.
Each of these had good aspects, but after my drunk-driving accident,
I was left "juggling too many balls",
and I had to set things aside to focus on what was more important...
preparing for life in prison and afterward.

( You can hear more about my arrest, conviction and after here on YouTube: )

How do you take on such preparation?
Is there a guide-book, a 'how-to' manual, or a court-prepared plan?
To be clear, the courts appoint no one to help you prepare.
And the lawyers can do little to help.

So the first thing I did was recognize I could most likely lose my court-case.
I was guilty after-all,
but one such felony assault charge for such a crime carried up to 72-months,
and I was looking at two-counts, or charges.

Who would I become while I was gone?
What would I experience?
How would I survive?
And where would I 'end-up' when I was finally released?

The next thing I did was to come to a healthy realization,
that who I am and what I wanted matters little in the "big-picture" of life.
In other words, I could make any plans I wanted,
because nothing I had hope for may survive my incarceration.

So I decided to align any plan I made with something bigger,
and I had to understand that everything up to that time needed to be released:
my reputation, work experience, educational attainment, 
any physical possessions like a house, car, and clothes,
even relationships with friends, family, loved-ones, and my dog.
In other words, 
I had to prepare for nothing outside myself to survive.

Instead, I sought to build a plan based on who God is,
and what His Son - Jesus Christ would mean to me from then on.

You may decide to live for something or someone else,
and that's fine, but ask yourself this question:
Will that person, thing, or belief survive losing all that you know:
freedom, security, food, sleep, health, and even your very mind?

Before going to prison, I had 'built' a plan for what I wanted to live for.
And it had to distinct possibilities: 
1) finding forgiveness so I would have the support of other people, or
2) preparing to live on my own for the remainder of my days.

Lets be clear, 
who wants to marry and have children with a convicted felon who cant find a job?
And even if that werent bad enough, 
dealing with their mental and emotional scars that lead to more alcoholism?

So I prepared for the worst, but with God, I was able to plan for the best as well.

I couldnt still go to the bars, even to see my friends, 
if I ever hoped to convince the judge and prosecutor that I wanted to change.

I had to attend AA meetings to learn how to deal with my addictions.

And when I found God has placed others in my life who wanted to help-
I had to give them top priority over anyone else.

So I listened, ask questioned, and learned, 
what I felt God wanted me to know;
so that not only would I learn how to survive, 
but possibly even thrive during incarceration, after release,
and work towards an unthinkable goal:
expungement of my criminal record after 10-years.

When faced with the worst possible scenario,
what will you choose to focus on?

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