9/6/2023 (Day #4270)
SOTP Guiding Principles
SOTP (Sex Offender Treatment Program, also commonly referred to as “SOMP”, even though SOMP is technically the Sex Offender Management Program…), in each of its iterations, Pre-treatment and Residential/Non-Residential, is based on four Guiding Principles:
- Regard for others
Before I was accepted into Pre-Treatment I sought out people with participation experience to get familiar with the program. I think that preparation helped hit the ground running once I started Pre-Treatment. I believe I had already embraced and instilled the Guiding Principles beforehand, though I didn’t know the relation to treatment.
I’m pretty confident in my grasp of the Guiding Principles. I’ve applied them consistently and attained some satisfaction with myself from that. Honesty is something I identified early on as an area of need for corrective action. It was pretty simple to create an action plan for it – be honest, period. I think it was something I began working on within the first hour of being arrested. It was made crystal clear to me that I would be spending the rest of my life in prison, and that provoked a sense of resignation combined with liberation within me – no more need to hide anything or lie, time to lay it all out there. One thing I definitely wanted to avoid was adding to anyone’s pain, grief, or humiliation. If that comes across as if I intended some assumption of nobility or noble action, or “falling on the sword”, let me be explicitly clear that that was not my intention. I was facing the reality I created recognized that I’d inflicted a serious amount of damage and suffering, and I didn’t want to contribute more to it. To that end, I confessed to everything, Miranda rights be damned. After initial interview with the FBI agent, I recalled other events that we hadn’t discussed and asked to speak to him again to add them to my initial statement and confession. In the legal strategy sense, I cooked my own goose by proffering any information after the Miranda rights were read. When I gave a full confession and then added to it, I cooked my own goose, served it, brought dessert, and cleared the dishes. The skeletons were out of the closet, and I had a clear conscience that there was nothing hidden anymore for the first time in years.
That was also an early representation of responsibility as a guiding principle. As much as I thought honesty was part of the path forward, responsibility was crucial, too. And, reiterating what I recently wrote about accountability, responsibility is just as non-negotiable as honesty. There isn’t a realistic or rational “mostly responsible” in an accountability context. I’m responsible for my actions, period. I’m honest, period.
Willingness is a principle that I feel like I’ve had an abundance of. I feel like it’s one of my strengths, a great asset. Sometimes I view my willingness as a trait that I harnessed and turned its bad implications to good. I’ve found that it’s self-sustaining in a way I would not have foreseen in my “old me” mindset – the more willing I am to challenge myself in uncomfortable situations, or to be vulnerable, I’m progressively more willing to challenge myself in increasingly uncomfortable situations and vulnerabilities. My willingness to challenge myself to learn and grow, to accept life’s challenges, is a driving force in my ability to thrive versus survive.
Regard for others is the guiding principle I’ve specifically focused on more than the others. I think it’s fair to characterize my “old me” regard for others as compartmentalized and subjective. I had a “scorecard” perspective about it, like my good deeds outweighed my bad deeds and the net result equaled regard for others. Rational reality is that it doesn’t work like that. Classes about Victim Impact, Healthy Relationships and Partner Selection, and Empathy have helped me “calibrate” my regard for others. I’m more diligent about being considerate, empathetic, and patient. Courtesy has been an asset for me all the way back to my childhood – my parents instilled strong beliefs about courtesy in me. Courtesy can be perceived as inauthentic, though, when the corresponding traits are deficient or absent altogether, like consideration and patience. I think I’ve cleaned that up and my authenticity prevails to support my actions. The ACE classes I created and teach, like College Correspondence Courses 101, are a way of fulfilling my desire to give back, to act in service to others here, and are stepping stones to my similar post-release objectives in the community (advocacy, service to others). I’ve received “incentive awards” in SOTP community meetings for “regard to others”, that felt like a nugget of success that I am proud of myself for, positive change observed.
All in all, the Guiding Principles are a BASIS for SOTP. not the comprehensive and exhaustive list of all the desired principles. They are a “primer”, a base coat, for the subsequent layers of principles developed by SOTP work.
Thriving, humbly and honestly.