Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Take-the-Baby-to-Prison Day, or Why Aren't There Any Rehab Prisons?

So, on Saturday I was changing Tori's diaper in the bathroom of the visitors waiting room at prison and I got to thinking about this post I've been meaning to write.

Wait. Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Recently, we (we being Charlie, Sarah, and I) found out that an old friend of ours had gone down a rocky path. Once sober and happy, he'd hit a bunch of speed bumps--the brutal murder of a friend and business partner, the loss of a fianceƩ, the theft of his belongings--and it all added up to his choosing to return to using drugs and drinking rather than staying sober. In short order, this led to him being where he is now: behind bars, serving a two-year sentence. We'd lost touch with him over the years and had no idea he was in jail, but after exchanging a few letters decided to go visit him.

Visiting someone is prison is a nightmare in Philadelphia (perhaps it's more fun where you are). We arrived early, took a number, sat for a half-hour, then filled out a form, found out to our dismay that we couldn't take Tori to see our friend because we didn't bring her birth certificate with us (for fuck's sake), and then we waited. And waited. The room we waited in was about 100 degrees, and it took forever for them to allow us our visits (we each got a half-hour with our friend, and we had to wait 45 minutes between our half hours for some unknown reason). Once I was finally permitted to go back to see him, I was required to take off my shoes and shake out my socks, lift my shirt and shake out my bra, lift my hair and let the guard check behind my ears, let her put her hands in all my pockets, look "down" my pants, and also open my mouth and let her look under my tongue.

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Cecily is the contributing editor for Alcohol and Drug Addiction. She writes daily at her personal blog, Uppercase Woman, where she covers not only her 12 years of sobriety, but life with Tori, writing, and all things feminist.

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luna said...

this is such an excellent post. a perfect bridge on addiction and the lack of support and incentive for rehabilitation. thanks for sharing this here.

Cecily said...

You're welcome. :)

Lori said...

I appreciate knowing what this feels like without actually having to go through it.

Very proud of you for that decision you made 12 years ago, and the decision you make each moment to live.

Great Bridges post, Cecily.

Topcat said...

Cecily, it's just awesome to read your words. For about a year, I used to go down and hold a meeting at the big Womens Prison, about an hour from where I live. There but for the Grace of God go I. Most of the women would only go for the biscuits, so we could only open them at the end of the meeting.

It was depressing, filthy. There is nothing set up for them when they get out, so they often end up going back to the same vicious cycle of drugs.

I stopped going when I became pregnant, but would like to start doing it again. It's a great way to give back to a fellowship that has given me so much .... even if I do feel like a total fucking Mormon idiot. I wear glasses ... I'm sure they think, who is this geek. And then I open my mouth and tell my story, (a tad hard-core) ... and then I become one of 'them'. I want them to know that recovery is real.

Can't wait to read more.