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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #29

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Craziest thing heard/seen at the LPC this week


A couple weeks back I mentioned that several inmates were transferred to Florence, Colorado. One of these inmate transfers was a buddy named Frank. Frank stuck out here more than I did if you could believe that. He was convicted of selling spice (cannabis infused) ...I am not sure he entirely understood why he was arrested/convicted.... not because he was naive.... but because it really didn’t make sense to him.


Anyway, Frank dropped out of RDAP after he got frustrated with the stress/workload. Since he dropped, he no longer was protected at the camp (being in RDAP keeps you at the camp). So ultimately, he was transferred to Colorado since it was closer to his home (which was Arizona). Lots of people with families (kids and wives) get cell phones here at Leavenworth. That is a big no no in most prisons. Here, you can get lucky and just have your phone taken or broken in front of you. The guard or staff always has the option to write you a shot (if that happens you lose all your time and get transferred out to a low or medium) ...Scary stuff. It is safe to say people get a false sense of security here. Frank was one of those people. Frank got used to using his phone here without the likelihood of serious consequences.

When he got to Florence, he continued using his phone...and guess what...he got caught. Unfortunately for Frank...that had serious repercussions...He was taken to the Shu....He also lost his FSA and will now serve the entire length of his sentence at a low or medium prison (28 months). We are all super bummed for him. I can almost guarantee this wouldn’t have happened if he had not quit RDAP. Crazy!


How about these drawings I had sent home with Erica/Jess? There are some unbelievably talented people in Leavenworth. Some are amazing artists. I traded favors to have three of my favorite pics drawn (from actual pictures) .... They are scary good (see below). The first one is of Jess, Marie, Erica, Sparger & me (it was right before sentencing in San Diego) .... Pretty brutal occasion but love the picture.


The next is my favorite picture of Jessica and Me... back when we were at UCSB (I was a Junior, and she was a sophomore). (Dad Comment: I will include this drawing next week. The scanned images do not capture the whole work of art. They are amazing).

The last is with my Marie, & my Spargs....The drawings were done by an inmate whose name is ROLLO.


I have pics all over my locker of those most important to me. I cannot tell you how many inmates have crushes on my ladies. It is hilarious....and it also helps increase my stock here (everyone thinks the ladies I hang out with are gorgeous.... which they are)


Story


I am midway through my last set of PGI's (personal growth intervention.... I think? HA) for RDAP. You are given these PGI assignments every 60 days. You spend a ton of time on these assignments.... Most of it written up...You then present it to RDAP group on Friday morning meetings. My assignment was as follows:


Substance Abuse:


I will share the strengths and weaknesses that I’m experiencing during the final phase of the RDAP program. I will consider what I must do to change the people, place, and things in my life to stay away from using substances. Be sure to examine high-risk situations and triggers that could lead you back to using and the criminal lifestyle. Share this with your application group in front of the entire community.


Synopsis of my response (I freestyle my speeches, so I write bullet points with a few notes).

Lately I have been obsessed about what it will be like to get out and leave the LPC. It all started when a fellow inmate asked me how I felt after I received my release date. If I am being honest, I was scared. I really hadn’t thought about what it was going to be like when I left this place. When I first got here the idea of leaving seemed so far away.... time went by so slowly at the beginning.


But now it is moving by quickly and I must admit getting back into the "real world," (that is what we call outside) is a scary thought. How can I be scared???? I’m just going home....and, it hasn’t been that long.


Well, I am scared and although my stay hasn’t been that long....I have been in prison. This has easily been the most surreal experience of my life.


One of the terms we use here is AWFULIZING. It is a made-up word that refers to feeling negative about the future.... always thinking negative thoughts...it is an RDAP word). Everyone Awfulizes....I am worrying about a future that is full of uncertainty and change. How will my friends treat me? Do I openly discuss what has happened to me? How am I going to handle the challenge of now being a felon? What is next for me work wise? Do I want to move back to LA eventually (I miss LA)? Will I go to law school (can I get an exception?) So many questions...lots to figure out.


Although I can’t imagine ever doing drugs again it is something I need to worry about. There are more drugs here than anyone could possibly imagine...So if I can stay off them here.... I am hoping I can go out in the real world. Also, I cannot imagine not being very forthright about any of my experiences prior to or in prison. I will not lie to anyone about my situation, but do I tell people proactively? It will be a tough issue to navigate.


I rarely sleep here (probably 3/4 hours a night) .... I read a ton and think. I used to hate the fact that I obsessed so much but now I have come to the realization that I think it is a gift. I think so much that I prepare for almost every situation. So now I lean into the fact that I obsess. I have learned to use this to my advantage.



Marie, Christian, Jessica, Scott, and Erica by artist Rolo


I have a ton of guilt and regret. I worry about how my actions have hurt others. I cannot begin to tell everyone how much time I have thought about each one of my friends/family and what I have put them through. I recently came clean (as best I can in here) with a large group of people outside who did not know about my legal predicament. Telling those people was rather dramatic (and embarrassing). But it was the right thing to do. When I am all said and done with this, I have no doubt people will see a version of "carper" they haven’t seen in years (it is weird to say that, but it is true). I haven’t been this sharp and clear since my early 30's.

I still have some mixed feelings about issues that I was numb when I was using. My relationships with work, friends, UCSB, & family were heavily affected over the past decade or more. I need to repair these relationships and it is hard since I can’t do anything here. I’m angry at myself for wasting so much time. I will not waste any more time.


I have improved on taking feedback. If I’m being honest, I struggle with this since I tend to feel like I am right most of the time (I actually said this in my speech.... people laughed....my confidence is no secret). I am the one people come to for advice so sometimes it feels awkward receiving it. I have a core group of friends here that have had some tough conversations with me on things I need to work/improve on. It was difficult but I listened. I rely on trying my best to review things objectively and get better each day.


My high-risk situations revolve around my old lifestyle (work and pleasure). Going out with clients was a mainstay of my work/social life. Will I be able to adjust with the new parameters? What will that look like?


Lots of things to think about regarding my future...my release date is coming fast. I know things will be tough, but I also KNOW I WILL BE FINE.


Thanks again everyone for the support. I miss everyone



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