PRESERVING RELATIONSHIPS WHILE SERVING TIME IN PRISON.
Face it, by the time you find yourself sitting in prison, you have damaged many relationships. Some of those relationships are gone forever. Other relationships remain strong because they involve someone who knows you well enough to accept you with your human flaws and warts. These folks are open-minded individuals who have refrained from judging you based solely upon your worst possible behavior. They realize there is something more to you than your decision to commit a crime. (who wants to be judged based upon your worst possible day?).
Still other relationships consist of people who have mixed feelings about you and your situation. They do not know if their relationship with you is worth the hassle as a result of your imprisonment. These are the relationships that a prisoner can make or break depending upon his actions.
Personally, I have lost relationships with former clients, ex-colleagues and personal friends. My choice to commit a crime has offended them to such an extent that they no longer want to interact with me. I think I understand how they feel. In the past, I tried to reach out and revive a number of these relationships with minor success. I have to realize that the time has come for me to move on. I do not want to inflict any additional discomfort on these individuals or myself.
Of course, the folks who have been in my corner since the day I disclosed my crime will probably be there when I exit this place next year. I speak with these folks on a regular basis via phone, email and snail mail. I appreciate them more than you can imagine.
The real relationship work for me involves the people who do not know how to react to the situation I have created. I need to reach out to them and let them know that I value their past friendship and I hope it will continue. I need to be open and honest about my poor choices and make sure they understand I have accepted full responsibility for my situation. I need to assure them through words and actions that I will not make similar poor choices in the future. I figure if they give me the benefit of the doubt, it will be a positive future for both of us.
Healthy relationships will be invaluable to me post prison and I intend to strive to nurture every relationship I can.