Developing and maintaining open and supportive communities for ex-offenders is the strongest foundation for recovery and Restorative Justice. We are much healthier when we have associates, supervisors, mentors, spiritual and/or religious leaders, and employment or volunteer groups to connect with. As a former ‘offender’ involved in intensive therapy and long-term sobriety/abstinence I have been witness to several miraculous and life-changing events. Many former convicts, felons, addicts, and other peoples with major barriers to the average career, education, and opportunities have found jobs, housing, and resources with the help of connections or referrals through friends, corrections agents, and programs.
Rejection and ‘shunning’ is never helpful.
The act of casting someone out of a group or blocking that person’s participation may, and many times does, lead to feelings of abandonment, shame, and hopelessness. We heal through relationships. Most of us are more familiar and comfortable with anger, fear, and shame. We need to hear how our actions have hurt you/others and how to rebuild or start over as a result of the ‘Amazing Grace’ so many sing about.
As a person in recovery, former addict, and ‘ex-con’ I represent the communities which have helped restore honesty, trust, and acceptance in my life. These character traits are being developed on a daily basis with those who have chosen to give people like me another chance. According to Wikipedia, there are approximately nine chances in the Monopoly board game by Hasbro. Is not a human life more valuable than a game? We have a saying that goes: “Hurt people hurt people”.
Speak, Talk, Communicate…
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
The promise of final salvation and glory in the kingdom of heaven is for those who gain the victory in the battle of faith.
I got the call from my stepmom on March 9th at 6:00am. I can’t even imagine the strength it took for her to make that call – having to somehow find the words to tell me that my Dad had passed away the night before. She did the best she could…. tried so hard to be gentle. I lost my shit anyway.
A Former “Felon’s” Guide To Restoration
Rebuilding your life after a criminal conviction in an era of public online disclosure.
The information contained in this publication is only meant to be a general guide for tips, resources, processes, and opportunities for those seeking abstinence, sobriety, and healing from addictive substances and many other damaging or harmful behaviors.
If you are reading these words then you or someone you know may have recently been involved with possible criminal charges and/or conviction. Relax, take a deep breath. Exhale. Repeat these words, “We Can Be Free From Past Mistakes”. Welcome to a group of fellow former convicts, offenders, and people in recovery from abusive substances, lifestyles, and other harmful and addictive behavior. You truly can be free from your past mistakes, if you choose to make better decisions, have a strong commitment to sobriety, and make the changes to your life. You can live free from the bondage, shame, and destruction. You, like thousands of others, can be a better person! You can have peace, joy, and love in your heart like never before. You can help yourself and others find purpose, belonging, and fulfillment by rebuilding a personal support group and finding others to help hold you or others accountable for healthy and safe conduct in all areas of life. All these things are quite possible and there are many examples of restored lives, rehabilitated persons, and re-entry into many of life’s wonderful communities. There are no easy methods to this dramatic change you or someone close to you will need to make. The route on this ‘map’ has some curves, limits, and challenges. Our success is tied together with the bands of humility and we are encouraged by the progress made by those whom have given up “trying”. Some of what you will hear, read, and witness is not for the faint of heart. We need people like you to take loving and brave steps to embrace, guide, befriend, and support someone who the rest of the world has shunned publicly and cast out of many opportunities for involvement in a common or public community. We need people like you to say to themselves in the waking of their day; “If it is going to be, it is up to me”.
Seek professional help to become sober and abstain from abusive behavior.
Be honest with as many people as you can trust to hold info in confidence.
Never judge, reprimand, or criticize others openly in public.
Develop and maintain open and transparent involvement in a group of peers.
Find and participate in a safe and appropriate hobby or ‘carefree’ social group.
Sponsors, Mentors, Pastors, and other long-term sober people are assets.
Set realistic goals for short, medium, and long terms of achievement.
First, get sober. Only when we have truly ‘had enough’ of our selfish, destructive, and sometimes criminal behavior do we make an attempt to do the right things and make better, healthier decisions. Some of us may have exhausted all of our friends, families, etc. We may not be able to ask the same people to help us; they may want to see more concrete evidence of our new way of living. Actions speak louder than words, always!
Ricardo “Rico” Morales
Calling all Buddhist babies, Catholic children, agnostic adolescents! All Muslim mothers, polytheistic papas and godless geezers! The world wants your stories, and Story City is part of the world.
Our March theme is "Dogma: Stories of a Higher Power." We're looking for your honest accounts of the pursuit or abandonment of god, God, or gods, whether they involve Creed, the middle path, or stale eucharist crackers.
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
What is prayer? Prayer is a communion with God, an attitude of brokenness before the Eternal Living God. When we approach God in prayer, we are to be willing to lay all our burdens unto Him.