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COOPS - Weekly life from Kansas #4

Updated: Jan 11

It has been a frustrating week.

For the 2nd time in 25 years, I am completely off all medication (legally prescribed medication). For the past 3 weeks I have been withdrawing in prison (it’s as bad as it sounds). Withdrawing is the absolute worst experience you can put your body through. We anticipated this being an issue and went great lengths to avoid this. Alas the BOP (or in this case Leavenworth Kansas) does what it wants with little to no explanation. That's the huge distinction between prison and home...If there is a problem at home there are always options, not in prison. There not even be anyone to complain to. You just deal with it. So here I am having to withdraw just to be put on a similar medication that is a shot once a month rather than a tablet daily. Frustrating.

Withdrawing has taken its toll. Have I said how much I hate it? Every system in your body seems to go haywire. You have no appetite, and your sense of taste & smell are at an elevated high (things don't taste/smell right). I am sleep deprived, have tremors, emotional, and generally look like I have taken the beating of a lifetime. I'm not sure what I'm writing even makes sense. But with all the time in world to think I keep coming back to the regrets in my life (which there are plenty).

Spend a week in prison and I can assure you stop worrying about being embarrassed anymore. Part of the RDAP program is dealing with all your issues as honestly and open as possible. But most of all...I guess it would really bother me if my closest friends didn't know this stuff 1st. Everything seems to come back to my addiction with pain medications. I'm certain I will talk about it in more detail but that will have to be later. I feel like my content is to much of downer to start off & I want to change that. I will talk about addiction some other day. Not today, this is heavy enough.

Difficult Week

In the end I want to say that I am proud of myself for getting off pain meds (not that I had much of a choice). I stayed up every night and fought through the worst of it without asking for help. I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Hopefully it will be over soon. This next couple week when it is out of my system, I will begin REALLY figuring out this place and begin building myself up again. I have been at about 1/2 speed.


Based on the advice of White Collar and Prison Professors Scott entered the prison system well prepared. He investigated the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) drug formulary and got letters from two doctors explaining his medications and reason why each is taken along with his medical history. Scott was well prepared. Despite this he has been denied medications which are on the BOP formulary. Some he has been on for years so withdrawal from BOP approved medicines has been the result. He cannot sleep. When he does sleep, he apparently thrashes and moans. He has significant GI issues made more problematic because he in a top bunk and invariably disturbs other inmates when he must use the facilities many times during the night. His fellows have been understanding but he fears the patience will surely wear out. He seemed to fell better today so maybe we are downhill.

Terminology useful for this newsletter

BOP Bureau of Prisons

RDAP Residential Drug Abuse Program Scott is very positive about this program and completion reduces time in prison. In Leavenworth apparently RDAP prisoners are housed separately.

Earned Time Credits – Time automatically taken off a sentence unless you violate a prison rule

Prison financial system

If you want chicken finger strips and a shake from Carl's Jr. there is someone here who I'm sure can facilitate that. The ingenuity of prisoners and whoever they work with is impressive. Although this place has fences 2 stories tall and barb wire to boot somehow things still get in. I'm told this is not unique to this prison (its everywhere).

The prisons run on stamps. Less the stamps you buy and mail and more on the stamps you exchange for cash app money. The problem with the cash app stamps is that it requires using a cell phone (something I will not risk). Cell phones are everywhere as is everything else. (Cell phone possession is a serious violation of the rules which can cause loss of the good time and the chance for a shorter sentence)

There are things that cause you to double take when you see. If you are trying to avoid temptation, I must say you have landed in the wrong place if your vice is drugs. If I'm being fair, I think it’s impossible to keep that stuff out of anywhere. It has blown me away though the lack of caring some people exhibit and the openness in which it used. Another reason I'm glad to be RDAP. None of that stuff flies there. People want to get home and will quickly call you out if you’re doing something stupid or shady. No place, no unit is perfect. People are human. But if you want no part of it its easy...people aren't pushy it’s just available...if you want to stay away you can. I want to stay away.

If you don't have access to a phone, then that doesn't mean you can’t have services performed. people will do your wash, your chores, cook food, etc. all for equal compensation at commissary. You get 360 dollars a month to spend on commissary which includes clothes, food, devices. It’s easy to max out quickly especially with filling up your MP3 player & using email. I plan on making some calls as I start to feel better (hopefully I feel better) next week so hopefully I catch you...if not I know I will eventually. Miss everyone.

Bye for now. ALL OF YOU are always on mind. Apologies to Willie Nelson.

Be safe

Weekly newsletter. week 4
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