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

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