Building a Life of Stability

I read an article on Quora by Michael Santos where he talks about his release from prison after serving 25 years. He talks about the plans he made for his release and what he did in the months following. Two paragraphs stood out for me:

“My work of writing about the prison experience has put me in contact with hundreds of other prisoners.  In my book Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, I wrote about what I learned from others who were released from prison after long sentences.  Many spoke about the need to connect with family, to walk in the wilderness, to explore nature.  For some reason that I cannot explain, I have not felt that those aspects of freedom were crucial, at least during these first months.  I’ve felt an urgency to build a sustainable business, something that would allow me to live independently.  Such obsessions likely have roots in the way that I conditioned myself through the time that I served.  I interviewed hundreds of men who returned to confinement after their initial release, and their stories convinced me that the best way to ensure I would not get pulled back into the criminal justice system was to create a life of stability.

As a consequence of priorities I set, several months passed before I allowed myself the liberty to spend time with family.  I work seven days each week.  I’ve been quasi free for more than five months.  Other than time I spend with my wife, all of my energy has been an investment in building a career.  After solving the first hurdle of learning how to drive again, I’ve had to immerse myself in technology that did not exist before my prison term began.  I’ve learned about the Internet, about social media, about how to send an email or use an iPhone.  Whereas others missed being close to nature and family, at this stage of my release, my priority has been learning how to build a platform.  I intend to use it in ways to reform America’s prison system, to bring awareness to it.  I’d also like to show others the strategies I used to overcome it.”

Here’s a link to the whole article.

After decades behind bars, Michael Santos realized he needed to create a life of stability in order to ensure he would not go back to prison. I think this is the same thing addicts need to do in order to not relapse. This is where the help of a sober coach can be helpful.

Building a life of stability will help an addict have something to live for and a purpose in life. Michael Santos is an inspiration and I highly recommend his book as a model for reconstructing one’s life.

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