You are on page 1of 6

Mitchell 1 Chris Mitchell English 1301-083 Mrs.

Cruz 2/5/11 Narrative-Final Draft: School of Hard Knocks As I look back at the past few years of my life, I cannot point to any one single event that was the catalyst for changing nearly everything about the way I had been living and making a new life for myself. Rather, it was a series of events, the consequences of my poor choices that made my life spiral out of control. After facing many hardships I came to learn that while you can¶t change the mistakes of your past, you can learn from them and change your future. I guess you could call me a variety of names from stubborn to just plain dumb for not realizing the obvious that something in my life had to give. Looking back, I still can¶t believe it took being incarcerated three times to learn not to do drugs. Prior to my first trip to jail, I thought that drugs were all fun and games and that I could still use drugs and lead a normal life. I guess Robert Earl Keen described my life the best ³the road goes on forever and the party never ends´(Keen). Normalcy soon slipped away. I was 20 years old and unemployable because I couldn¶t pass a drug test, plus I really didn¶t care to work some menial job. My life was an endless party and work would just get in the way so I started to sell pot, cocaine and LSD, mainly to my friends as a way to pay for my own habits. Everything was great I was beholden to no one.

I was released 6 days before my 21st birthday. Now. I was feeling pretty good that I got over on the court system and would be back out in no time. I was caught with a small amount of methamphetamines. Why should I? I had everything my parents had and I didn¶t have to work for 20 years to get it all. I blew off to party. I was sentenced to 9 months plus 3 months in a halfway house. I was charged and spent about a month in county jail. I had money and I did what I wanted. I didn¶t think I would ever live a normal life and get a real job. when I wanted. I had several apartments and cars. I was looking for the fastest way back on the streets. During this time I made no effort to change the course my life was following. which was actually a beer run. I couldn¶t believe all the partying I was missing out on. At the age of 21. I hired a good attorney whom was able to get me into a Texas department of corrections rehab. which of course. Within one month of my release I was working for a local crime syndicate. I went to court and was released on probation. I was under the pressure of a deadline to make as much money as I could before I went to prison. At this point in my life I just couldn¶t give up things were too good for me aside from then small amount of time I had to spend locked up. .Mitchell 2 I was arrested not for drugs but for a robbery. I bailed myself out the next day and kept right on. I thought that I was really living life to its fullest now. This led me to my third arrest. This led me to my second arrest and to being incarcerated for the first time. I waited for six months in the county jail to be transferred to the work release program so I could start my one year sentence. I actually spent the time criminally networking and setting myself up to get involved even deeper in drugs than I already was. For failing to follow along with the rules of my probation I was sentenced to one year at a work release facility.

Once again I thought that I had beat the system and gave no consideration to changing my life. I was then transferred to a maximum security prison. The only thing worse than the unrelenting noise was the silence. I ended up being sentenced by the state for 10 years and eligible for parole in 18 months. I was facing a 40 year federal sentence. I looked around and saw I was no longer the big fish in a small pond. working out and reading. Entering this atmosphere was stressful. I set myself up with a lucrative contraband trade and things were ok. I was arrest by the DEA and charged with possession of a large amount of methamphetamines. Both of my grandfathers died and here I was stuck in prison unable to support my family. This was my future. The need to constantly look over my shoulder became a way of life. I felt like Russell Crow in ³Gladiator´ entering the arena the first time. I already knew some guys there so the transition was not hard for me.Mitchell 3 In 2006. Upon arriving at the Ferguson unit. I now knew that changes had to be made. The place was constantly thrumming with the noise of bars sliding and men screaming. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Things were serious this time. of which I would have to serve 85%. but what should I do? Can I fix what I had done? Is my shot at life gone. Several things happened on the outside to my family and I felt powerless. This is where my life was heading. tarnished by a criminal record I¶d never be able to live down. I was watching my 2 little girls grow up in pictures. There were many guys here that would never see the outside of those red brick walls as long as they lived. one of the tougher ones in the state due to my past. My first year in prison was a breeze. I was surrounded by many men serving multiple 99 year sentences for everything from rape to murder. How do I . I spent my days gambling. alone. Then I hit rock bottom. My long time girlfriend was undergoing tests for a suspected tumor.

Everything was going well. Why should I keep trying? Can¶t the parole board see that I¶ve changed? What was the point? It was easier to just give up and give in than to try and correct my past mistakes. I set goals for myself to obtain while I was in prison as well goals to achieve upon my release. I was staying out of trouble doing all that was asked of me. I needed some kind of bearing for my future so I started attending church. After my third parole denial I wanted to give up trying to improve myself. yet I was still denied parole. not because I believed or had faith but I needed to no longer isolate myself but rather surround myself with people who were also changing and looking forwards. It seems as soon as I had this all figured out I got the news that I was to be released within the next 45 days. therapy session. I enrolled in every self help class. I started isolating myself from the popular culture of the prison.Mitchell 4 change? It started off small and was nothing drastic or dramatic. and drug awareness course that I could find. I started studying to take the THEA exams and applied for school while I was inside. I gave up looking backwards. Now with this news I became more scared than I ever had been in my life. The entire time I was locked up I was . I gave up hopes on parole and just set my sights on the year of my release and all I could do to make myself ready for the world. I couldn¶t believe it freedom was right around the corner. At another low point during this period of my life I really felt like all hope was lost then I had an epiphany. I began to follow just simple everyday rules. From this point on I would only work for tomorrow. I started to repair broken relationships with my family and cut off all ties from old friends. I couldn¶t make it in the free world if I carried around the mentality of those around me. I was trying so hard to change what I¶d done instead of working to control what I could become.

going straight and choosing life. For the first time in my life I had nothing. looking ahead. dental insurance. I had to take the bus to get around. I continued to work 2 jobs and save some money. family Christmas. nine to five. Prison is so much easier than the real world. I bought myself a car. This is the last of this sort of thing. luggage. choice of sweaters. all false. to the day you die´(Trainspotting). good at golf. I just have to keep trying. walks in the park. the car. children. tax exemption. My desire to change is and what I want my life to be like is reflected in the words of Ewan McGregor in ³Trainspotting´. I'm looking forward to it already. three-piece suit. The truth is that I'm a bad person. . I started rebuilding a ruined relationship with my long time girlfriend whom I just married this December. ³Why did I do it? I could offer a million answers. washing the car. You can¶t change the past but you can control your future. the compact disc and electrical tin opener. indexed pension. I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on. getting by. enrolled in school and I am in the process of buying a new home. Could I make it out there? I was released in April of last year and started applying for any job that was hiring. With a little work experience under my belt I found another job. the fucking big television. low cholesterol. mortgage. Looking back at the last twelve years of my life it may not be obvious but making these changes to my life was one of the hardest things I¶ve ever done and I am still scared to fail. good health. leisurewear. but that's going to change. junk food. I was shot down several times and after a month of looking I finally found something. the family. I continue to strive for a better tomorrow for myself and my family. DIY. I'm going to be just like you: the job. clearing the gutters. game shows. starter home. not what I wanted to but I had to humble myself and keep moving forwards.Mitchell 5 looking forward to the day I could go back home now it was here and I was no longer sure that¶s what I really wanted. I'm going to change. the washing machine.

Dir. Trainspotting. Sugar Hill Records. ³The Road Goes On Forever. MP3 file. Ewan McGregor.´ The Party Never Ends. . Perf. and Johnny Lee Miller. Ewen Bremmer. 2003.Mitchell 6 Works Cited Robert Earl Keen.Film. Danny Boyle. 1996. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.