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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #18

Updated: Jan 15

Corresponding with me


Just a heads up about corresponding with me. I don’t know if you have or have not received messages from me requesting us sign up. With some people the invite seems to languish in your junk folder. If you have signed up RECENTLY, please send me an email confirming you have. I write everyone back that day and I do want to chat at some point with everyone...Its tougher to send letters so as of now I am just doing email. Thanks.



We unloaded a truck full of food for the kitchen yesterday. Not a single item had an expiration date that hadn’t already expired. WHAT???? Taxpayer money hard at work.



It is my buddy Ojo's birthday today.... We sang him "Happy Birthday," in the morning meeting in RDAP. I had Marones draw him a card (SOME OF YOU SAW his art) and several of us signed. His pillow had been confiscated by a corrections officer, so he had been using his laundry bag to sleep on (That is terrible). So, for the perfect gift we made him a pillow stitched together by inmates using sheets, cloth, etc. His reaction was priceless. It is the little things.


Dad Comment: Remember if it is not prison issued... things can be confiscated. They aren’t always but they can be. Ojo’s new pillow can also be confiscated.




Craziest thing I have seen/heard at the Leavenworth Prison Camp. I was walking with my buddy to his locker, and we noticed it was open which was strange. We reached for tortillas in his locker and noticed they moved. WE JUMPED BACK. There was a family of mice in his tortillas. His bunkmate had pulled a coke out less than five minutes prior and in between that time the mice had jumped in. NOT TO WORRY....Hardcore inmate Scotty C could NEVER hurt anything. I took them outside and released them to freedom again. I took a ton of grief for demanding their freedom.


Scott just learned of another friend’s death Romesh Sagadevan. He would feel helpless at home but being away is worse.


Dad Comment: Refresher on RDAP. This quote is from the Bureau of Prisons “RDAP is the Bureau's most intensive treatment program. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT} is used in a modified therapeutic community model where offenders experience living in a pro-social community. Offenders live in a unit separate from general population; they participate in half-day programming and half-day work, school, or vocational activities.” The only the above for Scott is he is doing 3 half days. So, two days of activity in every day, He has 2 Jobs, taking 2 classes, preparing to teach a class and taking a correspondent paralegal study. All this in addition to RDAP


Residential Drug and Alcohol Program (RDAP) has different committees that make up the unit. They committees are as follows:


1.) Core

2.) A & R

3.) Mentor

4.) Personal Wellness

5.) Sanitation


All new people begin in sanitation. In that committee you learn the military portion/organization/assigned tasks portion that is integral to RDAP. Most people spend most of their time in sanitation. Many of the participants like it (hard to explain...I think they like the structure). The other committees are made up of participants that have 5-8 months experience/worth of classes or are close to graduating from RDAP. They are very familiar with the system.

Today I was asked to take over as a mentor. As I am only on my 2nd month in RDAP this was a very flattering ask. I love teaching so it is a solid fit. I have been slow to jump into leadership roles in RDAP (which is not me...usually I jump into areas where I can lead). My reason for this is saying YES without thinking has been a problem for me all my life (which has obviously led me to some interesting problems and /situations). I am not blaming my problems on saying YES to things.... however, reevaluating how I do things I believe is the smart play and something I am doing moving forward. Ultimately, I will be me and I can’t sit on the sidelines for anything very long. Unlike others I want the work and MOST (not all) Responsibilities. I suspect I will do both Core and A and R by the time I am done. Both are leadership positions and come with additional work and responsibilities.


At this morning’s RDAP meeting I begin shadowing another mentor. Within five minutes I was pulled away and told I had been assigned to another committee. It can only be A & R or Core (Both are small leadership committees that run RDAP for the unit and act as liaison between Dr. Karavan and the Drug Treatment Staff (DTS). We will see. No matter what happens it will be a nice confidence lift. Hopefully I am doing something right.

We have a very big RDAP staff.... that is why we are getting inmates from all over the country. They are using this location as the RDAP Headquarters.


Dad comment: Not sure what A and R stands for, but I have asked.


Story.


I had my first 60-day review. We have three reviews before we graduate RDAP...so one down.... two to go. It went very well...basically you just get a new assessment of where you are and what you need to continue to be work. Also, you get additional assignments/presentations (on the things you need to work on). Basically, you go deeper into analyzing your addiction.

It is one thing to think you have fully explored your situation (my addiction) in your head....it is an entirely different thing to discuss that situation in front of a class, take feedback, and questions. It is intense. Talking about your addiction experience in front of RDAP is the ultimate test. These guys have heard everything so they get into every detail of your situation...I wish everyone could experience this. I feel like it is a public interrogation (in a positive way).


I want to highlight for everyone some of the takeaways from my first review (and where I am at now). These are taken straight off my review packet:


1.) Ability to cope with problems - Drug use has decreased ability to cope with life's challenges.

Scott used drugs to try and forget health/life/work challenges, but in the long run, those challenges just kept getting larger and more complex and were still there when he stopped.


2.) Important relationships (THIS KILLS ME)

Scott may have thought that using drugs did not affect his ability to maintain or form loving relationships. Scott genuinely believed his drug use would not have any effect on others (he felt he was isolating). Drugs can decrease your level of interest, and ability to form close, healthy relationships. Scott has a very strong support group (family & friends) but he feels he has let them down and has tremendous guilt/regret. His focus will be to repair his relationships with family/friends/University/Community.


3.) My behavior.

When under the influence of drugs, Scott was more likely to act impulsively, neglect life challenges, fail to meet responsibilities, and live a life far below his potential.

I can’t tell you all how hard it is to write some of this stuff. I have so many mixed emotions about it. I am certain I am being as honest as I can be with you all. I am also identifying important changes I wish to make (I will get to those later...still making the LONG LIST). I guess my goal is to do a hard reset.... RESTART if you will. I promised to be brutally honest about what I have failed to do as a son, and friend. I hope everyone feels I am doing that.

Sometimes, to figure out where you want to go in the future, it helps to look at where you have been in the past. But before you can move ahead, you need to become clear about who you are and what you really want. I want to repair my name, my reputation, my relationships, & my priorities. Ha...that’s a lot right. I promise I will make it happen. I know I will because I have the greatest family and friends in the world....and that simply put....my goals/family/friends are the greatest reason of all to want to accomplish these things.


Let’s end on that. Love you all.

Be safe. Talk soon.


Several years ago, Bill Kinsey and I took a baseball trip with our sons both named Scott. Our visit included a trip to the then new baseball stadium in Baltimore where we joined with Brad who then worked for the Orioles farm system. Brad and the two Scotts were all close high school friends and all love baseball. Photo one is Brad in front of the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore where we got an amazing tour. The next photo is Scott and Scott outside the Orioles stadium. The last is all of us enjoying lunch at a sport bar.





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