Empathy 101

VINCE

Tired.  Sometimes I don’t even notice it until about this time of day because we’re so active then we eat a huge dinner then come to study hall or an AA meeting for an hour.  I’ve been sitting down for five minutes and it’s really kicking in.  Exhaustion.  But we are not only not allowed to sleep from 0520 to 2120, we are not allowed to have the appearance of sleeping.  We cannot have our eyes closed for more than a three count (the speed of which is determined by any correctional officer) or we get formal discipline.  Yesterday, they caught somebody with their eyes closed who was going to be graduating and leaving tomorrow.  Well, not now.  They added a week stay at boot camp.  That’s not something I want to do.  So, I tell myself over and over that I have plenty of energy, and find a task, like writing, to keep my brain going.

Over the past week, our squad has been working on victim impact letters.  Our job was to think of five people, places, or things that have been directly affected by our crimes, and write a letter from them, to us.  This is the first time in four months that I actually saw some real emotion.  A few guys chose society, a few their children.  I chose my Mother.  And my mother is a good writer.  🙂

I write a lot.  For every post you see out there, I write an equal amount in here.  Most of what I write in here will never be seen, most of which is mundane and would not provide anything entertaining.  Some of what I write I will eventually share with you, just not until I leave here.

I shared my letter in class today and it was very well received, especially by the people that care about things and can understand big words.

If I had written this a year ago, I think I would have felt like a piece of $@*t.  But I’ve become close with her and I’ve changed a lot of my behaviors and thinking patterns and am heading in a very good direction which I know is a huge part of making amends.  Am I just rambling on?  I really want a nap.

Long story short: I love you Mom.  I’m sorry I was a crappy son for so long.  I am fixing it now.  I’ll be home in 56 days!

[ANNE: I am dying to know what “I” wrote to Vince, but he hasn’t sent me a copy of the letter.  I have had a lot of ups and downs over the last 20 years of his addiction.  The worst was when he relapsed after nearly five years of sobriety.  During those five years, even though he wasn’t using, he still had some really big attitude problems and unproductive ways of thinking.  Now he seems changed.  I am really excited for him.  Our relationship feels transformed.  Whether it is real and lasting once he is released remains to be seen.]

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