Choices and Changes

A letter from a young incarcerated woman, Taylor Lee Jackson

March 29, 2022
Desk light in a prison cell

Behind these walls …

I didn’t have the picture-perfect childhood. Many of us did not, and that’s all right. There came a point in my life though, when I couldn’t let the horrible pieces of my past keep being the reason for my choices of the present. You see, I was keeping the past alive, even many years later! Life is just not perfect, and as painful as that is, I must accept things as they are, and move forward.

If only I would have understood this many years ago. Instead I became completely dependent on using mind-altering substances just to be able to face the day. It wasn’t until my mid 20s, after experiencing numerous relapses and as many rehab getaways, that I realized I was deeper into my addiction than I ever meant to be.

If I would have taken advantage of all the services available then, I might not be in the predicament I’m in now. The choices I made led me to prison. I am serving a 67-month sentence. That’s 2,090 days of freedom taken away, all for the sake of drugs! All because I chose not to change until after prison became my reality.

This isn’t my first trip to prison, but it is the longest sentence I have ever received. I am grateful for my surroundings. Out of the 35 months I’ve been incarcerated, I have been clean and sober for 27 months now. That’s 821 days of sobriety. Giving up 2,090 days of freedom is totally worth the last 821 days of being sober.

Now I live by routine, which I find great value in. I have become spiritually grounded, being completely dependent on God, my higher power. I was ashamed at first to turn to mental health help. But it was through these doctors and therapists that I began to heal my mind, and life became easier to manage. I was able to build a new foundation of hope to guide me through recovery.

I am currently working on a college degree here in prison. I am fortunate to be in this position. I am building my future while I live out the consequences of my past choices. I may have taken the long way around to “seeing the light,” but thank God I am here now! The time I have left behind these prison walls is only temporary compared to the time I will have in the free world, helping others just like you and me. Until next time … Taylor Lee

More Inspiration

Don Fertman

Subs & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Part 2: A Day in the Life

Don Fertman woke up one morning 40 years ago and poured himself a drink, as usual. But the future Subway exec didn't know this day would be far from ordinary.

Annie Zimmerman running a marathon

Running Toward Recovery

Seeking purpose in early recovery, Annie Zimmerman rekindled an old fire with distance running — and found it carried her through some of her toughest trials in sober life.

Ben Tuff

Closer to the Shore

On Ben Tuff's third day in inpatient treatment, he had a surprising encounter that would eventually lead him to attempt a grueling 24-mile swim across the Narragansett Bay.

Don Fertman

Subs & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Part 1: With a Little Help From My Friends

Don Fertman, longtime Subway exec, writes about a pivotal moment in his 40 years of sobriety: what happened after he went public about his recovery on "Undercover Boss."

Men hugging at a 12-step recovery meeting

Sober Holiday Tips: Meeting 'Share-a-Thons'

Need to get out of the house for a bit and see some friendly sober faces? Recovery support group meeting marathons run 24/7 from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day.

Swim Tuff movie poster

'Swim Tuff: How I Swam My Way Out of the Bottle' | All Sober Movie Night

Coming out of severe alcohol addiction, Ben Tuff barely knew how to swim. Ten years later, he makes a bold attempt to traverse the Narragansett Bay, taking on 24 miles of ocean in one day.

Matthew Perry advocating for drug courts

Matthew Perry Foundation Tackles Addiction After 'Friends' Star's Death

The actor became a hero to many for his years of work on recovery initiatives and his candor about his own struggles with drugs and alcohol.

Ricky Byrd with acoustic guitar

Rocker Ricky Byrd on 36 Years of Recovery: 'I Come Back Stronger'

Happy soberversary to the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and All Sober ambassador extraordinaire! Check out his inspirational video message and song.

New Report

Close