Journal Entry: Daniel Jason Harrington-12/26/2023

Journal Entry

Christmas in Prison……
A guy I know fell out, and was taken to the hospital. Drugs are the usual suspicion, and sure enough, when the test results came back, he was packed out and in the SHU.

Any “normal” day can be rough in prison, but Holidays are an especially tough time when you are incarcerated. Missing your loved ones, reflecting on your situation, choices you made, years gone by….years yet to go.

Each holiday has been hard, but this one was especially so because I have seen my youngest son for the first time in almost 9 years. His nervousness really hit me. All the years away, without being able to have visits with him has created a distance between us that our conversations on the phone couldn’t truly expose. His mother informed me that later on, he asked her to play an old video from before my arrest of he and I playing together, just to make sure it was really me.

No matter how much time you have clean, and how much time you have facilitating cognitive behavioral classes, the thought of using sneaks into your head, trying to convince you to stop the pain. After that, comes the guilt for even having those thoughts after all drugs have done to destroy the lives of my loved ones and myself. “What happened to increased self-awareness?”

But isn’t that what increased self-awareness is? Being able to identify the triggers and activating events, have the thoughts, process the information and reject the notion of ever using again? There was a time when I would have been that guy falling out, escaping the pain through however long the unconsciousness lasted. And now, through programs like this, I am able to not only better process these events but go back and look at them later on. These opportunities for growth can be relived, shared with others, and celebrated over and over.

Christmas in prison has never been easy, and just when I thought it was getting easier, life happens and new experiences and obstacles make for more growth. I thank God every day for allowing me the opportunity to grow, and not have ended up another statistic in a grave, like I was headed for becoming.