May 30, 2014

Sleeping in Prison

Growing up, my father always used to talk about never getting a good night’s sleep. I never understood how fortunate I was to sleep so well through the night. Now I completely understand how my father feels. Over the years, even as an adult, before coming to prison, I thought sleeping still wasn’t a problem for me, but what I was really doing every night was passing out at the end of each day from all the substances in my body. I would smoke pot and take pills from the time I woke up until the time I passed out again at the end of the day. In the county jail I quit using narcotics, but I continued to take a plethora of antidepressants, antianxiety and sleeping medication that I convinced the doctors I needed, acting out the part of crazy and exaggerating multiple symptoms in order to replace the powerful drugs that I no longer had access to. The pills did help me control my depression and it eased the discomfort of coming off of so many drugs. As more time passed in the county jail, the length time being sober increased, lifting much of the fog and pot resin from my brain, the reality of my choices in life and my future ahead began to set in. Needless to say that I didn’t like where I was headed. My addiction was and still is the center of all my problems. I knew I had to change in order to have any kind of life. I knew it was wrong taking all those pills I convinced the doctor to prescribe me, whether or not they were getting me high, they were a crutch, another dependency to an unnecessary substance. Clarity of mind and thought could no longer allow me to use these drugs guilt free. So I quit taking everything cold turkey. It took a long time for all those crazy pills to exit my body and I slowly started to feel a difference, both good and bad, things stopped feeling farce, emotions started to take over. I loved being sensitive to the world around me, everything made me feel so alive again. Other times things would get the best of me, unable to cope, my harsh reality and the wreckage of my past, hurting everyone I loved made me feel like the scum of the earth. I’m glad I quit taking those crazy pills, true sobriety has opened my eyes to the life I created and the steps I have to take to change my future. I’ve finally forgiven myself for all my past decisions and now I spend every day trying to love myself a little more and make myself stronger, mentally, emotionally and physically, preparing myself for the rest of my life. I care about life, I care about my future, I want to be loved and respected. In order to attain these things I must remain sober and vigilant to my recovery. Having said all that, what I started out trying to say in the beginning is that being sober, free from all substances has also opened my eyes to the fact that I, like my father do not get a good nights’ sleep either. Every night I wake up what seems to be sometimes more than once in an hour. In total I wake up an average of eight to ten times each night and that’s not including the times I get up to use the restroom, which is an average of five times each night, but that’s another topic. I have no doubt that much of my restless sleep has to do with being in prison, on an extremely small and uncomfortable mattress, coupled with consistently uncomfortable room temperatures and humidity levels. This is just another one of many reasons that I run my butt off every day and work out a hard as possible. Exhausting my body helps me to sleep just a little easier each day.

Steven Dybvad

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