Starting Life Over / A Life Over

VINCE

As of yesterday I have a total of $238.90 in my gate saving account.  So, double that, and you have roughly what a prisoner makes in a year through our various jobs.  The most I made was 50 cents per hour sewing underpants together in Moose Lake.  The least I’ve made was here, in Willow River.  Divide $2.50 by 16 hours.  I’m horrible at math.  [15.6 cents per hour]

It’s not much to work with.  I’ve mentioned before that half of our pay goes into savings and half we can spend on items that for the most part, are well over retail price.  My current paycheck is $35 even, every two weeks.  So I get $17.50 to spend on envelopes (61 cents each), shoe insoles ($2.10 for two pair that last exactly two weeks), paper, pens, pain relievers, muscle rubs, and all the stuff we need/use, we pay for.  But, our food, bed, heat and AC, electricity are provided at no cost to us, so I’m okay with it.

Happy July fourth.  [The blog is several weeks behind real time.]  We will have a three-day weekend starting tomorrow (Friday).  That does not mean we have the day off.  In fact, we work extra hard, so that we won’t want to be incarcerated for holidays next year.  Well, that seems to be working for me.

Every time I catch myself thinking or saying that I’m tired, I think back to a year ago when I could be awake for days at a time.  Paranoia would set in after day three or four, and I would often take thing out of context and think people were out to get me.

I would hear my name in groups of people, or I thought I did.  Casual conversations would, in my mind, be people plotting to steal from me or turn me over to the cops.  I would flash them an angry face and storm out of wherever I was.  This was often when I would go out behind the wheel of two tons of steel.

On day five, the visual hallucinations kicked in.  Often I would see the same vision.  Snow coming down from a cloudless sky on a summer day.  I knew it wasn’t real, and I knew I shouldn’t be out in public like that.  But I had to keep “working.”  No more.  I’m so glad I got arrested.

Actually, I’m glad they sent me to prison.  I believe it’s the only way I could have quit.  Not just using, but the lifestyle that accompanied it.  I had to get away.  Most users/dealers just keep on racking up charge after charge.  Then end up with 10 year sentences because they showed career criminal tendencies.  I took the deal I made for prison time and at the same time let my co-defendant off the hook.  Now I’m ready to start life over.

[ANNE: Not everyone can start over, like Vince.  As delightful as snow falling on a summer day sounds, drugs and drug crimes ruin lives, families, and communities.  Here is just one story about a man who was found unconscious in a hotel room while his toddler daughter wandered crying into the lobby with a soiled diaper and his infant son slept on the floor near his methamphetamine pipe.  Meth, which is so highly toxic that people who sell their homes now have to sign statements swearing they have not used or made meth on the premises.  How will this father ever, ever get over the guilt?  What will social workers tell the toddler when daddy goes away to prison for years?  How will the father and son ever make up for the lost opportunity for early attachment?  How will the mother and father ever repair their relationship, if they aren’t already divorced?  Maybe now you won’t think I’m hard when I say Thank God Vince never had children.]

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