It still hurts to tell the story I am about to tell but now I am at peace with myself and my past. I look forward to each new day. My life in prison goes back to when I was twenty-one years old and incarcerated in Georgia Women’s Correctional Institute in Hardwick, Georgia. I was young and this was my first time in prison. I hadn’t been in a lot of trouble but I had caused a lot of hurt. I hurt myself, but most importantly I hurt the people I love the most—and the ones that love me.
I was an adult but had been living my life much like a child; carefree with no responsibilities. I had a husband and four small children. They needed me. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer around that time. She needed me. I had responsibilities and a lot of real issues that needed my attention. My problem was I had an addiction to money and alcohol. It was the fast life and I thought I had to live that way. At least I wanted to live that way. I was bored with the everyday life. I loved being a wife and mother, but it wasn’t enough. Even love wasn’t enough to save me. I was arrested for 23 counts of first degree forgery. I was sent to prison to serve fifteen years. While I was in prison my children were growing up, starting school and living a life totally apart from me. The saddest thing is I lost my mother to cancer. I wasn’t even there to take care of her during her last days. I was able to go to the graveside service with armed guards standing beside me with their guns drawn. This was an embarrassment. It didn’t have to be this way yet, I was still blind to all the pain.
When I was released from prison, I went back to alcohol. I used it as an excuse to find closure with the death of my mother. My youngest child called my sister “momma.” All this was like fuel to the fire of my self-destruction. I was beyond saving. I was on parole then probation. I violated the terms of my parole and probation several times with DUI’s. This only took me away from my children and family even more. It was a never ending cycle. This cycle will destroy you if you let it, and I was destroying myself and my life with my children. After many times in jail for violating parole and probation, I finally realized that I didn’t like the person I had become. It was like for the first time in a very long time I could really see how much destruction I caused myself and my family. I knew I wanted to end this cycle I just didn’t know how to go about it. I knew I had to find peace. I asked God to come into my heart. It still took me years after I first turned to God to find that peace. I felt I wasn’t worthy, that I didn’t deserve God’s love.
Slowly I was able to open my heart. As I turned to God I realized no amount of alcohol or drugs can fix you. No amount of money can make your life better. You have to make your life better. I know now what I was missing—all the life all the love. Everyone has forgiven me and I am finally able to forgive myself. I look forward to the time when I am reunited with my loved ones.