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A Better Version of Myself

I feel a strong sense of pride for what I have gone through and the changes I have made.

For those of you who are new to my article, I have been writing this article from prison. I have now been down 15 months and counting and I am so happy to be able to connect with the outside thanks to MD! As part of my sentence, I have been recommended and enrolled into the RDAP program. RDAP stands for Residential Drug and Abuse Program. I live in a Modified Therapeutic Community that is designed to teach accountability to oneself and to others around you. This program has been very difficult, but now as I write this just a few weeks from completion I feel a strong sense of pride for what I have gone through and the changes I have made.

My final task for the program was to write a success statement to summarize my success into key points I wish to use to introduce the community to the new me. Even though I have been sober for five years now, being an alcoholic is something I can never get away from and can never sleep on. Because of this it has been very beneficial to fully surrender myself to this program and I’d like to share my final success statement with you all:

When I began RDAP my biggest struggles were with objectivity, open-mindedness, and humility. I showed this by placing demands on others as well as myself and by having negative self-talks (self-talks are permission giving statements you have with yourself before you react or act on anything). Negative self-talk would lead me to awfulizing, which is a common thinking error of focusing on the bad in every situation, and next anxiety, which would trigger panic attacks and finally going into complete cutoff mode, which is when you ignore all responsible actions.

I have challenged and overcome my negative behaviors through RSA (Rational Self Analysis) and sharing my emotions with the community in seminars and small process groups. I have been able to open up and share my change with my community as well as loved ones. My community members have held me accountable, and I have taken the feedback to look deeper into myself than I ever have before.

One of the biggest accomplishments I have made from the process is with the love of my life, my fiancée and soon-to-be-wife Marissa. Not only has she loved to see the change, but she has changed with me, and our bond is even stronger than it ever has been before, which I didn’t even think was possible. My community members have told me they see a big change in my impulsive behavior, and I continue to improve.

I now give myself positive self-talks and know how to breathe and allow things to happen without much anxiety. I focus on the here and now and allow things to happen instead of forcing them and try to control the outcome. I am a better listener, speaker, and overall happier person. I will continue to grow and help others maintain their sobriety, honesty, integrity, and authenticity.

So, there you have it. But what does this mean for me in the free world when I get out? For starters, I am not just a better version of myself, but I am certainly going to handle my relationships differently. I will have far less tolerance than I did in the past for workers being insubordinate at work and making excuses. I will be very selective with who I dedicate my time to. Before coming to prison, I would spread myself too thin doing things for others who did not care about me that I would have no time for myself and the ones who truly did care. I will cherish the ones I love and show them gratitude each day and to everyone else I am going to continue to give back and pay it forward the right way.

My first idea for paying it forward was thought up with a buddy of mine in here, Mr. Anderson. We are calling it Blackstone Felons. This will be an affiliate program specifically focused on felons who fell in love with working out in prison and continue to do so outside. It will be a way for felons to earn product, represent the brand and share their stories with the world. I also plan on designing a way for the felons to utilize the program to obtain jobs through the network. I have been inspired by brands like Dave’s Killer Bread that provides jobs for felons. In the prisons, I have seen the bond that the iron warriors have is so strong, even in places like mine where we have no iron and rely on bodyweight and burpees. One of the most loyal BSL reps for years, Wes Watson, has shared his story to inspire many on his YouTube page, including myself. I plan to continue to do my part in helping the iron warriors inside and outside as well as continuing to give my best to everyone else that has been true to me and my brand.

When I look back through my past, my best years and moments all have started from my love and passion for working out and the human body, and I will never lose sight of that the way I temporarily did at one point. I got a taste of it this weekend when on social furlough, Marissa and I went to a gym and worked out together. It was AMAZING to share that. I can’t wait to get back in the gym!

In closing, I want to say that my faith in God is so strong, and I thank Him every night for protecting me and guiding me through this experience. He has protected me every step of the way and I see how he shows me answers to my prayers and speaks to me in so many subtle ways.

Until next time, peace out, bye! PJ

This content was originally published here.

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