Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sixty-Three Days Until My Release From Taft Prison Camp

I am scheduled to participate in the pre-release classes for a total of five weeks.  Last week I completed my first two sessions, and yesterday I had my third.  Really, I have not found them so valuable, but yesterday’s class entertained me.  I could see how it would have been somewhat useful to others.

During the class we watched a film called Supersize Me.  It was more of a documentary that illustrated the way a diet of fast food could lead to irreversible health problems.  The star of the film committed himself to eating food from McDonalds three times each day for 30-straight days.  Each week he had physicians monitor his health through blood analysis.  The results were disturbing.

As a consequence of the fast food diet, the man gained 30 pounds in one month.  He caused the same damage to his liver as if he had been smoking for 10 years.  He made himself more vulnerable to a heart attack.  He became impotent.  Watching the film may not have had much to do with prison adjustment, but it sure got me thinking about the life I would lead upon release.

Although I had never been released from a prison before, I did go through a transition when I graduated from USC.  As I began my career as a stockbroker I moved away from my community.  When I settled in Orange County, I gave up on exercise and starting taking a lot of my meals from fast food restaurants.  Watching that film yesterday reminded me of those days.

People who live in prison for long stretches of time look forward to eating in restaurants again.  When I leave these boundaries behind, I’m committed to maintaining good fitness habits.  I worked hard during my time in Taft Camp.  I exercised regularly, and on a scale of one to ten, I’d say that I kept my diet at a disciplined nine-plus.  The results have made me feel infinitely more healthy than I felt before I self-surrendered.  I’m not going to allow a love affair with fast food destroy me again.

I’m really sensing my closeness to release.  In fact, it’s now becoming more difficult to focus on anything else.  During the early evenings I’m spending more time alone.  I walk around the track listening to music through my headphones with hopes of it distracting me.  It doesn’t always work. I think about what I’ve missed and what I intend to do upon release.  There is so much to which I have to look forward.  I’ll be launching a new career, and I’m thinking about all the steps I must take to succeed.  Life feels good, and in just more than two months, I’ll be home.

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