My sentence has been an incredible journey of transformation as I examined my past, my present and planned the future. Lonely, dark nights pondering the decisions I made dealing with the guilt, pain and the shame of the lives I destroyed and grieving for the lost boy that misses his mum. A life of chaos, disorder, self destruction and self sabotage, because I once thought I belonged here locked behind a steel door.

Self-harming, suicide attempts and substance abuse: a lethal mix as I decided that no one or nothing as worthwhile, especially me, and I decided that I’d be better off dead and gone. Without a rock to crawl under, the blanket not safe enough, I decide to hide underneath the bed, bunks they were as I I’m in a shared cell, safe at last, no one could find me or hurt me anymore.

Sobriety came, but hasn’t always been easy to maintain, but I’ve never sank as low as the darkest days in the past. I count my blessings each day at sunrise for one more day, even if it’s fraught with difficulties. Outside in the real world, people have real problems, that’s what I get from listening to the news headlines each day.

In 19 days time my sentence is finished, so that time has come to pack up my worldly goods, leave behind the past, as I learn the valuable life lessons from it, but no longer do I need to be a prisoner of it. So I tell myself ‘goodbye pain, shame, regrets and hopelessness’ as I walk out of this prison cell for the last time and say ‘hello beautiful’ to the new beginnings, different choices, brand new hopes and dreams and a very different life.

My heart no longer frozen and unfeeling, thanks to all the unsung heroes he put the shattered fragments of my mind, emotions and relationships together, allowing me to trust and believe in myself and others again, through loving and accepting me warts and all, even when I spiraled out of control into a tornado of destruction and gave up on myself. They never walked out on me, no matter how often I rejected their help and advice. Hope reigns eternal and I salute those brave men and women, professional and volunteers, who have made a man from the boy who arrived in their charge 15 yeas ago. I’d like to say thank you to them all, they know who they are. This might be my story, but it’s also their story due to the huge part they played as a came to a crossroads and chose the road less travelled.

 by The Space Cowboy