Asking Someone to Just change the only way they have known how to survive and cope with life's up's and down's without any guidance on how accomplish is asking for failure. Just imagine if that same person asked you to enter his or her world of addiction and criminality without real knowledge of what it's like you would be lost, scared and want to revert back to the life you had known. Its the same for the person we wish would change. Just getting clean and sober is only a starting point in a long journey of learning to exist in a world they have no real idea how to function in. Remember There will be no old friends to kick it with or ask questions of, everyone will be sober minded and clean living. you will have to meet and make friends with people you may or may not have things in common with they may be older of younger, strait from the gate or ex-addicts who's worked a program. All new people in you life living a life you have on idea of how to live in. Ask your self in a role reversal how long it would take you to change to exist in there world and the pains you would have to suffer in doing so. The hard truth is "we" can't fix anyone and the desire to change has to come from within that person, however we can show them a new way to live and provide a safe secure living environment to nurture this new life. It will take time and money to rescue our youth from the depths of addiction and criminality and in the end its cheaper then prison and jail. How much is a safe community worth?.
How many times have you asked this question of someone, how many time's has someone asked this of you? Speaking for my self, far to many to count. The simple answer to this is there is no simple answer. To really understand what is ticking in the mind of someone who is addicted or involved in criminal activity, or both you have to understand there outlook and perception on life it's self from there view point. I can't speak to you in scientific terms about the brain. What I can do is give you insight into understanding how someone can get to a place where addiction and criminality seem the normal thing to do.
Self-perception is the starting point to this journey down the rabbit whole. while attending countless groups and speaking to thousands of men during my 33 years of incarseration Low self-esteem and even a lower opinion of your value in life was a common theme among us all. Perceiving your self as a social outcast, not fitting into the "norms" of society starts the mold for the future self. The reasons for believing this of your self don't have to be true only the fact you do is enough. Every human being on this planet is looking to be loved and wanted and if it doesn't get this from the main stream of society we go looking for someone or something to fill this void.
This is where addictions and criminality have there advantage to gain control of our belief system. From a very young age we start looking for that place to fit in and dealers are quick to "be your friend" the same goes for those involved in crime and gangs so for the man or woman looking to fit in its a natural fit.
Now give this person years of involvement with drugs, gangs and crime and learning to survive in that world and develop a sense of thinking that's "normal" for that existence, change is so far from a reality they know, it dose not seem possible. They would change if the future without drugs, gangs, and crime could be seen but its so far from there reality when offered at the first sign of trouble they run back to where they know how to live and in there mind is safe. That is the devil in the details we have to understand. they need to be Hand held and walked through this mystery of sober and clean living and what we ask them to do is discard all they have ever known and trust it will be better.
It is a hard thing to have the courage to walk this new road and there is an old belief system in place we have to find a way to overcome. WE can start by giving them a safe place to live and a chance to grow as a human, changing there perception of them selves building self-esteem getting them to see them selves as more then societies rejects. We need to have the ability to show them a future and get them to realize it is not only possible but reachable. there will be more on this at a later date till then this is Don: out
I know there are some who may be asking "why do we need to help these people". Simply put it gives opportunity, and hope of a different life to those formally incarcerated that like it or not, will someday return to the streets. One of the biggest challenges facing those released from prisons and jails is deciding what to do now. Most are out of touch with life in this new world they have entered, and depending on the amount of time spent inside it can be quite overwhelming. Trying to navigate in a world you left and in some cases decades ago can put fear and cause anxiety in these men, I was one of these, I went to prison in 1986 and was released in 2016 and it was as if I were placed in a new world I knew nothing about. Without the help of places like Stepping Stones I have no doubt I would have sunk back into my life of addiction and criminality. Having someone to support this transition and provide drug counseling, life skills classes, programs that allowed me to realize and work on reinventing myself in a clean and sober as well as safe living environment has given me the opportunity to become a productive member of society and give back to those I have taken so much from. No, it will not work for all, overcoming a life time of "Stinking Thinking" is at times hard to do because its how we survived, but Stepping Stones gives a person the chance to learn a new way of living if they want it. So when asked why, tell them it reclaims Humanity, provides a safer California and saves money in the long term and in addition rebuilds families. Its Gods work after all it was said "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers that you do for me. Don out.