June 26, 2014

How did I end up in Prison?

I was raised in a family that worked very hard to instill a higher standard of morals, values and ethics that superseded the life of crime that I chose for myself. Like many other inmates in here with me, the power of drugs and the control of addiction dictated many of our choices in life, thus resulting in prison. Addiction has no care for ethnic background, no cultural discrimination against the rich or poor, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, etc., etc. Like any other disease addiction destroys lives every day. My parents have worked hard every day of their lives, leading by example, teaching me the importance of having a good education, making smart decisions and choosing the higher path even in of adversity. The most important decisions in life are some of the hardest ones to make. Somewhere along the way I lost my compass, driven by an intense, desirable force to be accepted by my peers, willing to do anything it took to fit in with the ‘cool’ crowd. Sure maybe it started out like most, staying out past curfew, egging cars, toilet papering houses, smoking cigarettes, etc. My mischievous acts began to have no limits, getting into all sorts of trouble, eventually leading to alcohol and substance abuse. But for some reason I couldn’t just smoke one little joint or have just a couple drinks like some of my friends. Something deep inside kept on yelling MORE MORE MORE!!! If one makes you feel this good, more must feel even better. Using drugs became the very focus of my existence. From the time I woke up each morning until passing out at the end of each night my only concern was inebriation and maintaining inebriation. My addiction left me incapable of holding a job for any extended period of time, but I had to find a way to support my expensive habits, so I started stealing from people, whether it was a place of business, a stranger, a friend, loved one, family member, it just didn’t matter, all that mattered was my next fix. I hurt far too many loving, caring people along the way, I’ve lost too many good friends, and I even have family members that won’t even talk to me anymore. Today I have two beautiful children, my son, Taylor just turned nine and my daughter, Caitlin just graduated from high school, she’s getting ready to turn eighteen, all grown up, getting ready to start college. I neglected my children as a father, immersed in the grips of addiction. I always told myself I would change my evil selfish ways tomorrow, but tomorrow never came. Life flashed before my foggy, glazed over eyes and now I sit in a cell at Madison Correctional Institution in Ohio, three years into a five year prison sentence for crimes I committed to support my addiction. So this time, instead of hiring me yet another expensive attorney in an attempt to minimize my time served in prison, my parents searched for other avenues in which I might finally learn to help myself. That’s when they found Justin Paperny, my mentor who has guided me through the working strategy of the Straight A Guide program. In the last three years I’ve completely changed my focus in life, finding my compass once again. The longer I remain sober, the clearer my thoughts become, lifting the fog from my head, bringing all those good morals and values that my parents taught me back to the surface. The relationship I now have with my family is better than it’s been in more than twenty years. My hard work and dedication to a better life and future has gained me a new level of trust and respect. Since my arrest more than three years ago I’ve dedicated myself to a daily blog, I remain focused on good health and fitness, running at least five miles a day on a track in the prison yard, I’ve taken up guitar lessons, practicing every day, I do artwork and sculptures in my spare time, soon I’ll be staring horticulture school. I even have my first book about to be published. But more importantly I now have more than three years of sobriety.

However difficult it continues to be for me, I try to nurture the relationships of my family and children from in here. Each and every day I prepare myself for a successful future upon release and I really don’t think I could have done it without the help and guidance of my family, Justin Paperny and the Straight A Guide.

Steven Dybvad

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