2 August 2023 (day # 4235)
In therapy, I learned that my lifestyle, and my life in general, lacked balance. My philosophy of “work hard, play hard” was a significant catalyst for my imbalance. Therapy helped me recognize that, and SOTP Pre-Treatment introduced me to “Basic Goals for Living” and how to apply them to achieve better, more balanced living. The Goals for Living have become my daily reference point for my activities and goals. I also learned that that balance is dynamic, constantly changing as life happens. Some days are more about relatedness, some are more about physical health, and that’s a-ok.
Here are the Basic Goals for Living, and some examples (not a comprehensive, detailed listing, sorry!!) of how I apply them or work to accomplish them:
#1 – Physical Health: fulfilling basic human needs (shelter, foot, etc..), having a healthy lifestyle and diet, and good physical functioning.
My goal and how I am working towards it: I want to lose 10lbs. by September 15. I have a regular workout plan for strength training and cardio (running, walking).
#2 – Competency: Mastery of skills, either for work or for hobbies, and having a personal sense of being really good at something.
My goal and how I am working towards it: A Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I am enrolled in and taking college courses at Adams State University.
#3 – Autonomy: Having a sense of independence, having control over your own life; being able to make the choices and decisions that shape your life.
My goal and how I am working towards it: Earn compassionate release by July 3, 2025. I have a release plan, relapse prevention plan, and support network by my side. I have met my financial obligations (fines, restitution, fees, etc.). I have completed SOTP-NR and still active in SOTP-NR Follow-up. I am actively involved in and ambitious about continuing education and treatment opportunities here.
#4 – Emotional Balance: Being able to find a sense of calm or inner peace; being able to manage emotional reactions with less “peaks and valleys” of emotional swings.
My goal and how I am working towards it: Continued improvement of my emotional balance(open-ended, loosely defined goal…difficult to measure or quantify emotional aspects), regular mindfulness practice, and continuously learning new “tools” to add to my toolbox that help me maintain emotional balance.
#5 – Relatedness: Enjoying a positive, close relationship with an appropriate partner, family members, or close friends; having friends with shared interests.
My goal and how I am working towards it: Establish new friendships and social contacts, including through the Prison Professors Talent website. Maintain current family and friend relationships. I am receptive to new, healthy, social connections here, while also mindful about surrounding myself with positive influences who have similar values, goals, and ambition, and hopefully being a positive influence for them in return.
#6 – Community: Being part of a positive, healthy social network; feeling connected to others who share your values.
My goal and how I am working towards it: Building more and maintaining current healthy, positive social connections, here and outside of here. Continued participation in SOTP-NR Follow-up group, as well as willingness to participate in other opportunities that come up.
#7 – Meaning and Purpose: Have a sense that your life is fulfilling and meaningful; feeling that you are guided by a sense of direction and purpose.
My goal and how I am working towards it: I teach ACE classes to help others learn basic business principles and create a business plan, and how to navigate the college correspondence course and overcome the obstacles and limitations of prison education. I’ve helped others in my SOTP-NR group by working with them outside of class to complete homework assignments and learned basic foreign language vocabulary to help group members for whom English is a second language. Post-release, I have advocacy objectives towards my ambitions to serve others, including creating and opening an animal rescue and therapy animal training site to serve disabled veterans.
#8 – Contentment: Having an overall sense of satisfaction in your life; experiencing pleasure or happiness.
My goal and how I am working towards it: I feel a measure of satisfaction from the treatment and therapy work I’ve done, for my initiative to seek it out on my own, and for remaining persistent about obtaining treatment despite repeated denied requests. I feel satisfaction for the improvements I’ve made, for the emotional balance I’ve achieved, and for the positive effect that has had on my relationships with my Mom and the rest of my support network. I’m happy that my kids have successes and direction in their lives, and hopeful that someday I can earn a place in their lives to share in celebrations and be supportive of their accomplishments.
#9 – Knowledge: Opportunities for learning and personal growth; intellectual stimulation; challenging yourself mentally.
My goal and how I am working towards it: My pursuit of college education and goal of a bachelors degree. Continuing treatment efforts and vocational training (Industrial Technology Maintenance, and application pending for therapy dog training program). Continued participation in FSA programs related to victim impact, empathy, and veterans resilience/support.
#10 – Creativity: Opportunities for self-expression through art or innovation; activities that allow you to create something new (e.g., such as building or gardening).
My goal and how I am working towards it: I write a lot in my spare time and have kept handwritten journals since 2014. My goal for the journals is twofold: insight for my kids to read someday and see that I have not forgotten them or forsaken them; and publish a book based on the journal entries in partnership with a Psychologist who provides analysis of the entries for others to gain insight into how thoughts and actions are impacted by depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, and drug/alcohol abuse. I also draw future project vehicles I want to build post-release.
#11 – Sexual Health: Opportunities for sexual experiences.
My goal and how I am working towards it: I’ve completed the formal SOTP-NR and am currently in Follow-up Group. My goal is to continue treatment indefinitely, both here and post-release. SOTP-NR has helped me learn and understand what it is, how to be in, a healthy relationship and share healthy intimacy with a partner, and I feel like continued work in that area will benefit me and any future partner in the long run.
#12 – Spirituality: Belief in and connection to a Higher Power.
My goal and how I am working towards it: Soon after I was arrested, the Priest from my Church reached out to me at the county jail and began regular communication with me. That pointed out to me that I had been deficient in the Church Community, and part of my initiative and motivation with my work since then has been towards being a better member of the Church and strengthen my relationship with God.