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From Surviving to Living
From Surviving to Living
(01) BEFORE
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Before my arrest at age 35 in 2010 I never thought about prison, jail, or the criminal justice system. Everything I “knew” I learned on TV. I really enjoyed news and drama programs (which did me no good at all). To my knowledge I had no friends who’d sat jail time. I had no idea what to expect of jail, myself, anyone else.

Have you found yourself in an unfamiliar situation, uncertain of what to expect, anxious for the future?

Despite that, my life wasn’t free from trouble. I’m a competitive person, often an over-achiever. As a young person I was also deeply insecure. I acted out during my teen years. I often felt angry and unloved. These feelings would deepen into rage and deep depression as I grew older.

At age 18 I impulsively married a man I had dated in high school. We were not dating at the time. On a whim we drove to Los Vegas with some friends and got married. This would be the first of many terrible choices I would make and not understand why.

Not for the first time I was asked, “What were you thinking? Why did you do that?” It wouldn’t be the last time.

Have you ever done something you don’t understand? Do you have regrets?

Not for the first time I was asked, ‘What were you thinking? Why did you do that?’ It wouldn’t be the last time.

Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand my own actions. I am baffled, bewildered. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe, which my moral instinct condemns.”

I became pregnant with my first son right away. Not intentionally, but due to (more) poor planning. Almost immediately my husband was cheating on me and within a year we were separated.

I was really eager to prove myself after this disaster. I lacked something, however, at the time. I was indeed going to prove something, to myself and everyone else – but it wasn’t my excellence.

What was I missing?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Reflecting on the Holly’s initial lack of awareness about the criminal justice system and jail, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were unprepared or uncertain about what to expect, and how did you navigate that uncertainty? Are you concerned about an uncertain future today?
  2. Explore the Holly’s description of being a competitive over-achiever with deep insecurities. Can you relate to feeling conflicting emotions or pressures in your own life, and how do these dynamics impact your decision-making?
  3. Explore the Holly’s eagerness to prove herself after a failed marriage. Have you ever felt a similar drive to prove something to yourself or others? What motivates such impulses?
  4. Consider the Holly’s statement about lacking something. In your own life, have you experienced moments where external achievements or validations didn’t fulfill a deeper need? What insights can be drawn from these experiences?
  5. Reflect on the theme of poor planning leading to unintended consequences, as mentioned in the passage. Can you think of instances in your own life where lack of planning had significant repercussions, and how did you navigate the aftermath? Are you facing a challenging circumstance now, searching for the best way to move forward?

READ MORE…

  • BEFORE
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]Before my arrest at age 35 in 2010 I never thought about prison, jail, or the criminal justice system. Everything I “knew” I learned on TV. I really enjoyed news and drama… Read more: BEFORE
  • JAIL
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]I was arrested in March 2010. Again I heard the familiar questions, “What were you thinking? Why did you do that?” I had long believed myself to be the source of conflict… Read more: JAIL
  • WELCOME!
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  • BAIL, SENTENCING, & PRISON INTAKE
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]A year passed after I was first arrested in 2010 before I was sentenced and sent to prison. During this year I served 3 months in county jail, was released on bail,… Read more: BAIL, SENTENCING, & PRISON INTAKE
  • ORIENTATION (CHANGE, SHOCK & AWE, SUICIDE WATCH)
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]I have said I was unaware previously that I needed to change. What does that mean? I believed myself to be a good person or at least a person who understood what… Read more: ORIENTATION (CHANGE, SHOCK & AWE, SUICIDE WATCH)
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  • WoW
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]In October 2011, as I waited to be released from seg, I received a kite (internal institutional mail) from the director of Shakopee’s Women of Wellness program (WoW). She invited me to… Read more: WoW
  • General Assembly (Burning Rubber)
    Click to rate this post! [Total: 0 Average: 0]It is November 2011. I finished the WoW program and became eligible for the workforce. Nervously I checked my mail daily, waiting for a job assignment. I’d been fired from my last… Read more: General Assembly (Burning Rubber)
  • RING TOSS & DOPPELGANGERS
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