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Paul Cain K68828

Dear Amends Project,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in the Amends Project. Enclosed are a few more submissions for your perusal and use on the site. In your last letter, you stated, that I mentioned having some "masculinity issues" and what did I mean by that? Let me first say, that today I see my character defects back at the time I committed the crime in like 1995 as unhealthy habits that in effect were self sabotaging. At their root, they were an immature defense mechanism that held sway in my life, by default. Here’s something to explain what I was suffering from:

“Toxic masculinity“

The term has often been explained away rather than squarely dealt with in our modern vernacular, with phrases like “Oh well! Boys will be boys, after all…“, or “it’s a guy thing…“ Whilst we men go on to hyper-sexualized women by treating them as sex objects or otherwise attempt to isolate, control, or otherwise attempt to discourage them from having their own identities. What some men acknowledge as their “man card“ needs examining. It’s what is often not talked about, and what we in fact excuse as a society, that was toxic in my childhood, and is present in the lives of a large percentage of men as well. Things we were taught like “boys don’t cry“, “violence is OK“, “don’t show emotion or you’ll look weak“, “who wears the pants in the family“, when combined with various forms of dysfunction in one’s family being modeled (e.g. domestic violence, infidelity, biases, and prejudice against others, etc.…), take away from the definition of what it truly means to be a good man, rather than adding to it. I’ve learned that it’s not only OK to hurt others violently in order to assert myself, but it was even rewarded for it, when I was just a boy. All that I have just mentioned is toxic.

I see the cumulative effect of it all through a different lens sadly, because of where I find myself today, and because it means something to me today to be part of the solution to such problems that our society. Most men who committed serious violent crimes in their youth were parked at the point of their own pain and childhood trauma, caught in a cycle of arrested development, if you will. I know I was, for decades into emerging childhood, such a man. I learned early on to live a fear-based life. It was on me to change that identity, and others like me also need some help in determining who it is that they truly want to be as a man, and some healthy examples. Being a man isn’t getting into your first fight, or winning at all cost, or racing against your buddies in junior high to see who can have sex with the first girl, and yet so many unexamined lives are colored by such hidden moments. Things like that aren’t badges of honor, they are pathways to dysfunction or worse yet, disgrace. If I was face-to-face with my younger self, I come alongside him intentionally, consistently modeling by example, what it is that I have gained, with love and purpose. Less of me and more of Jesus- I’d show him examples and explain to him how I turned my life over, turned it all around, healed me, through Christ. The tattoos, the scars, and the tales that could scare him straight aside, I speak of what he was about to throw away via his own extremely poor choices in violent actions. I’d show him the consequences and speak to him about the true impact of such behavior generationally, with its ripple effect. I'd show him how to gain control of his thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I’d use “honor language“. I wouldn’t leave anything to chance. I’d earn his respect. I would lovingly cultivate the relationship, as I talked with him about humility, selflessness, leadership, who he is in God's eyes, and what it truly means to be a good man, a loving husband, a faithful friend, an asset as an employee, and a charitable neighbor. It’s not a one-and-done thing.

There is no quick fix when it comes to a life change Dash it takes consistency, a world to see through, dogged determination out of love, and seeking specific answers to what traumas, strongholds, and self-destructive routes causes hold sway in that young person‘s life. What it takes to get a person to see his or her self retrospectively well at the same time getting them to examine their identity, and their values is the key. Building them up as you show them how to regain control and write their course, is equally important. How many families have parents who spend themselves at their 9 to 5 job, with little left in the tank, or worse yet come home to take out a “bad week“ on the same family? I’d advise parents to consider that, it’ll take more than that… punishment is far less an important ingredient, than correction. Personally, I marvel that we use positive reinforcement with our pets but it goes out the window when it comes to our children!?! In many ways parents have it backwards, often time. I’d start there. Pay some attention to the dynamic your party to, is my advice. Like the Bible states - “Love suffers long, and is kind“.

I have enclosed additional pages and photos: one visiting with my mother and godmother, another of me in KVSP, and two of me as a boy; under California law I am a youth offender because of my age at the time of my life crime. I will be 50 years old this month, on August 14… I’m friends with many people in here. But some are going home, paroling, or moving to other places. We’ve been supporters to each other for quite some time. We are a community in here, we’ve all come to appreciate this opportunity of publishing AMENDS, it means more than you probably know. Again my sincerest thank you to The Amends Project. I see the changes I’ve made, is merely what God wanted me to be doing all along, and I know full well that He doesn’t owe me anything, I owe Him EVERYTHING! I don’t see my change as a destination, it is a journey. And what I do today, moving forward. I am all in. All the best…

God bless this blog.


Paul CAIN K68828


PO Box 5007

Calipatria, CA 92233

P.S. feel free to include my contact info/address, should anyone want to have a conversation on just how to reach their son or daughter, some advice, or just an ear.

What it Means to Be a Man…

By Paul Cain for:

Prison Letters 4 our Struggling Youth

July, 2016

First off, a real man would never allow anyone or anything to take him away from being there for the ones that he loves and holds dear, ever. He would hold being there for them, above himself. He would teach his children this enlightened practice early, and reinforce its importance often throughout their early upbringing.

I’ve been behind concrete and steel for over 20 years now, serving a “15 to life” for murdering a man in 1995, so please, take it from me, learning what it means to be a man is something that you should get a grasp on early in life.

How do I do so, you wonder? Well, for starters, when you feel misunderstood, LET IT GO!!! When you did something stupid and feel stupid and self-conscious, or ashamed and angry, realizing everybody, and even the best of them, make stupid mistakes in life. That is actually how we learn best. Mistakes are blessings provided that you learn something from them. If you can but become aware that you control your own “inner dialogue“, (what you tell yourself in your head), you can accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible!

Just because all your friends are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right. Misery loves company, and birds of a feather flock together, after all. It’s not “lame“, “weird“, “nerdy“, or “cool“, to do the right thing even when no one else wants to - it’s called leadership! Heroes lead, followers follow. It’s cool to be a hero in this life! So take mediocrity, and LET IT GO!!! When you think that your parents are being too strict, realize that’s how diamonds are formed - by pressure, and LET IT GO!!! They love you, and in their own way they want you to be a hero! Sure, they may be too busy to see it or they may not act like it all the time, but they love you and they want what is best for you. When they haven’t loosened up remember that they love you and that they have been through what you are going through themselves, so consider their insight valuable! One day you’ll likewise look out for your own children. Talk to them about it. Listen to what they have to say.

I’ve been where I am for 20 years now, because I could not LET IT GO!!! I took a man’s life, instead of LETTING IT GO!!! If you think going to your room because you’re angry at your parents or because you behave poorly is bad, try 20 years straight of it!?! LET IT GO!!! You think you’re tough?! Because the greatest warrior, is one who has conquered himself… You can’t even LET GO one time!? The moment you feel angry or disrespected one time, all your thought process is go out the window. It’s actually a military strategy, to give in, to accomplish one’s objective. You see it in football, when they set a “screen“. Sure bring the blitz! LET IT GO!!! Take it from me homeboy, that “in crowd“ isn’t cool in the end, and any true friend would want to see you living a heroic life of success, joy, and growth. It’s the guys who have studied, who pushed themselves through the difficult times, who placed a path for others to follow, the ones who learn to understand, over seeking to make others understand them, who are the most successful in this life. No friend is he who would only speak you fair. LET IT GO, and flourish!

Book report by Paul Cain

Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims

by Howard Zehr

After successfully completing LTOP's Victim Impact class in November 2019, this was the first book I found on the topic of crime from the victims perspective. Being profoundly impacted myself, as I thought back on the series of video interviews I watched where in victims of violent serious crimes share their experience, men and women, I found myself wanting to learn more about how they dealt with the aftermath, as I found that my heart had gone out to them, each and everyone.

As I read this book, I realize that I was truly desirous of transcending my past, that I was so much more than a crime I committed. As I listened and learned through others experiences, and I express my own remorse, my guilt, and let go of my shame by forgiving myself of perpetuating such a senseless heinous violent crime, I began to heal. Forgiving myself is not forgetting - it’s remembering, then changing those parts of me that contributed to my making that extremely poor choice. It’s seeking to gain insight and empathy knowing that those elements are the precursors to change from the inside outward. It’s feeling that change in me, and being thankful for it!

First and foremost, I could not have done it, turn toward change, then choosing to devote myself mind, body, and spirit to walk in the path of change and self betterment for the rest of my life, without God. He truly deserves all The credit for the trajectory my life is on today, for the radical about face turn around, for the gifts He has bestowed upon me that have enabled me to step into my best self, as a man who is responsible and accountable, self-aware, in control, eager to pay it forward by sharing how he did it. I must also acknowledge all of the programs that CDCR has offered me too- AA/NA/AVP/CGA/GOGI/CAGE YOUR RAGE/DEFY/ARC EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE and more - for it is thru what I gained in them, that “rehabilitation“ took hold in my heart. I truly am thankful. This book deepened my insight into the long lasting ripple effects of what I’ve done to others and the struggles victims of violent crimes face even more. Reading their stories encouraged me to reach to grasp aspect so I’ve never before consider, through a broader compassionate lens. I see the value in each and everyone of us today and I pay attention to books like this have to offer a guy like me. I strive to be a do-er today, not just a hear-er only. I include those who story strike me as especially sad or devastatingly permanent, as in the case of most homicides, murders, and violent crimes like mine, in my prayers. I can see more clearly what it truly means to take full and complete responsibility for the crimes I’ve committed, for the victims I’ve created in the past, for my thoughts, my attitude, my emotions, my choices, for who I chose to associate with, and for the path that I chose to walk down. This book and others like it have helped me move from the head to the heart level, and today I pray for the mind to be in me that is also in Christ as I strive to be the positive law biting change that I want to see in the world. This book changed my life for the better by a few degrees. That’s what I needed to truly leave those self-destructive, self-defeating, old patterns on the trash up where they belong.

“GIGO means garbage in, garbage out! I will only ever be tomorrow or my thoughts take me…”

Book report

by Paul Cain February 22, 2017

“Tattoos on the heart, the power of boundless compassion“

By father Gregory Boyle,

founder of homeboy industries

Free Press, ISBN978-1-4391–5315-4

My Aunt Suzanne, who is also my Godmother, gifted me with this book, which I consider to be instrumental to myself betterment and growth. This book touched down upon on the most innermost recesses of my soul. Father Boyles selflessly approached each person as a child of God and fully deserving of both love and compassion. The book thoughtfully outlined his capacity to reach the hearts of the most harden men and women, and look for the best in everyone, and as I’ve followed along I cannot help but to become inspired anew. I either laughed, wept, or underline and highlighted portions as I turn the pages voraciously. I love a book where I feel compelled to stop and share its contents with others. Father Boyles book was such a book. His lifelong commitment taught me a lesson in persistence, compromise, sharing, and learning, loving, and most importantly in living and accountable life that is others focused. “God can get tiny, if we’re not careful“. What an abomination! When I look back on my time in prison, that’s how I often seemed. It struck me in chapter 2 “Dis-Grace”, how it was highlighted that shame is at the root of all addictions, whether it be alcohol, drug use, or gangs and the criminal lifestyle itself. How it infects a person's sense of self. One gang member wrote, “people see me like less.“ In the face of all this, the call is to allow the painful shame of others to have a purchase on our lives. Not to fix the pain, but to feel it. Belden Lane, a theologian wrote; “divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty, and all embarrassment into laughter. This powerful sense of disgrace strapped like an oxygen tank to the back of most ex felons, those who have been “outside“ of society for so long that they forget there is an inside, is identified and acknowledged in this book, then rectified, turning a lifetime of internalize shame and the victories that come with a sense that God finds us wholly acceptable when we find the light and walk toward it. This book provides a blueprint to turn ”one's inner self of disfigurement“, one spirit that is so sore that they think of themselves “man, it hurts to be me“, and ones desire to just throw in the towel, into a new way of thinking that can only help society in many regards, as it transforms outcast into exemplars.

Paul Cain

It’s important for me to get back whenever I can, so I see this as an opportunity to live out my amends “outside of the box" so to speak. I’m appreciative of the inherent value in venues that highlight restorative justice.

Today, I feel like I have been given this life story on purpose in many regards. Pain that is not transformed is transmitted, I’ve come to realize. I took a man’s life back when I was 24 years old “I’ll be 50 this year. I sure could have use someone with the life experience I’ve got today, back when I was a juvenile delinquent. Someone who’s been through all that already. Back then, I needed a mentor in the worst way. I can be that for someone today.

Today, I understand the harm that crime causes. Today I understand that I am connected to others in many unseen ways. Look, it’s not rocket science. Young people need someone they can trust to show them that bad fruit comes from bad roots, and how to uproot that negativity out of their young lives instead of cultivating it into full bloom criminality. How to regain responsibility and control of the trajectory of your lives.

Although I was not responsible for the faulty programming I received as a young boy, I am responsible to correct the programming today as a man. As I did just that, opportunities like this emerged. I live by the maxim “what is important as a man?“. What is important to me today, I spend the most time pursuing“. This is worth it. Giving back is how I show my remorse.

What is addiction to you?

Addiction is a self-imposed pit. The person can fall into it, slowly descend over days, or just wake up one morning and find themselves in it. I was in that pit once, a pit of my own creation. Three words describe it perfectly -- pitiful, incomprehensible, & demoralization. Addiction is being stuck there, chained to a craving, or shame, or defeat, or hopelessness, or despair, or rejection. The demon of pain is usually lurking just under those character defenses in denial.

Addiction always begins with a thought though, that’s the good news, because you can easily learn to change your thoughts like you change your shoes. My addictions today, are careless thoughts, I make the conscious choice to no longer entertain. In between a stimulus and my response is that choice; that too can be a default setting, or just reset it in accordance with their will. Things like hopelessness, low self-worth, and negative inner dialogue that was rebellious and reckless for a time had me caught up in a cycle of addiction, with its obsession-compulsion-progression phase.

Addictions are escapes. I used to dream of running away from home when I was a little boy--my my addictive tendencies have their roots in that strong hold of pain and rejection. Anything that I cannot control or moderate, even in terms of what’s good for me or enjoyable, is susceptible to morphing into an addiction. I am aware of that today.

The way I see it now, addictions take away lives, diminish our quality of time and our relationships, dissolve one’s internal resolve, numb one’s conscious and subconscious, harms the body, and distorts the mind. Simply put, addiction steals, kills, and destroys. More often than not, if one is addicted to something, then more than likely someone else is somehow benefiting off of that misery too. I could go on and on about how addiction is a crutch, but it seems good in the moment but it’s not (instant gratification vs. delayed gratification), how is the societal message in the media of addiction appearing cool, hip, fun, and harmless. In fact it helps perpetuate the problem. Humans go through a phase in their lifespan development where they mistakenly think they are invincible they are not.

Today it is that pit that I was once in, and experience of just how Jesus Christ walked me over to its walls and helped me climb up out of it. That experience makes me uniquely suited as a guide for others. I know firsthand, because I’ve been there. I’ve seen friends succumb to addictions. I see how what I say and do matters. This topic is important to me.

What are you remorseful about?

I am deeply remorseful about those I have harmed in my those I have harmed in the midst of my lifestyle, addiction to violence, and criminality as an emerging young adult. Having done a "fourth" and "eighth" step inventory of things I’ve done, (and the harms I’ve caused or been party too) that remorse today is the best demonstration in my day-to-day conduct, my character, and what I choose to put my time, my energy, and my focus into moving forward. Those victims are the motivation from my abrupt about face from hurting others 20+ years ago. My change didn’t occur perfectly either. It came in fits and starts, then in restarts. Eight steps forward and two steps back.

For me I had to create that space come to serve to creating change in me. Not only did I take a man’s life 25 years ago. I also took myself out of my six-month-old daughters life. Through my brutal act and my poor choice I took myself away from my family and my friends. Those who love me and have stood by me to this very day, even when I was at my worst in terms of antisocial negative habits. I have developed the eye to see that ripple of fact in my extremely poor choices which still reverberate to this day.

That man’s life I took back in 1995 did not deserve to die. That rage-filled, ill-equipped, immature, irresponsible, young man, armed with a warped lens colored by fear, toxic masculinity, prejudice, pain and rejection, that he met with me.

Today I choose peace, I am deeply committed to living out in nonviolent life moving forward. Today, if I harm someone else in some perceived way, I’m quick to apologize and make amends; to rectify the situation kindly with compassion, because doing so is how I display the depth of my remorse, and because it’s the "me" God meant "me" to be all along. That old me was always the imposter who held sway by default (up until I gained emotional intelligence) and started determining what it was I really wanted to be. With the help of God and my sponsor, the litany of character defects that I used to embody on a repeating loop, over and over, motivate me to attack myself by amending those habits.

What was afraid of, when I committed my crime? What am I afraid of today?

At the time of my crime, 25+ years ago, I see myself suffering from arrested development. I vowed to never be hurt, but to hurt others first. This was due to the traumas I endured early on in life. I lived a fear-based existence, and I was always positioning myself so that not to be perceived as "weak". My self-worth and my acceptance from my peers came through violence and this warped sense of dominance. This “I’ll be good no matter what, BUT YOU better watch out!“ bravado, that I know today was "toxic masculinity" fueled my actions, speach, even my thoughts. I craved that status, that power, that control, that recognition that came along with violence. Even if I thought you might hurt me on down the line, you were going to get it.

I had many opportunities when I was younger but this pervasive self-destructive mindset was over arching, coloring my development. I‘d think, “ but what if they don’t fear or respect me?“(self doubt). It didn’t seem like I could escape the gravity of any of it at the time, even if I tried. I didn’t know how to face the nightmares of my childhood that haunted me. Exposing that scared little boy, terrified of what might happen, what was something I never wanted to happen again. That vulnerability I do anything to avoid - hurting others seemed easy in comparison.

Today, I see firsthand having lived through my own experience that “Pain that’s not transformed is transmitted to others“. Looking back, I see that my inner child ran away from, sought to escape, evade and fight against that fear that I’d suppressed early on as a little boy. I’d be quick to hurt others rather than risk being put in the position that felt like I was that boy again, scared and confused, or in tear. I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time deconstructing, then reconstructing my past in accordance with self-awareness and self determination, reparenting myself and healing my inner child. Today, that “time under tension“ I relish as a formula for growth and writing what was injured in me. My quest for acceptance is healthy today, again through experience which itself taught me that everyone’s acceptance is not always a blessing. I am self-aware and I have intrinsic focus today. The majority in the mirror can just as easily leave one down the wrong path. I can’t control anyone else, but I am able to control what I know Best me. In high stress situations, I start there. I rest, there. I found that true peace in Christ there. Most importantly, I’ve learned healing there.

Today I fear that I’ll only ever be known for what I’ve come to see: were/are those old flaws default trauma-induced settings that propelled me toward the worst mistake of my life, taking someone’s life. As I write it, I realize that it’s an irrational fear, for the best indicator of my future success is my current consistent prolonged behavior, not that distant past (which is today as prejudicial as it is probative). I am not the worst things I’ve ever done, surely. Those historicals are markers of trauma that taught me something. Today, I am passionate about being the change that I most want to see in the world. As such, God has purposed me. I am thankful!

What am I hopeful about?

I am hopeful that He who has begun a good work in me, is faithful to complete it.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.“ Jeremiah 29:11

Today I am hopeful about the future, my future. I am hopeful about the path that my life is on, and about the positive changes that restorative justice and a renewed focused on rehabilitation in California has brought about through the states prison population. I realize that what I/we do today in large measure, creates our tomorrow. I see men in here, from my vantage point, who are embodying the leading ideals of change in regard to what is ailing our society. I am extremely hopeful that there will be opportunities to contribute to society in a positive way, moving forward. I’m proud, to humbly say, that those multi-generational cycles in my family (that have been around as far back as I cared to look), have been dismantled. Those chains have been broken, with the help of Jesus Christ.

This is my hope: that my example positively affects others.

How have I impacted the community in the past and in the present?

Looking back to my crime life, I'd equate my impact on the community as a wild boar in an exquisite China shop. The kind with jeweled wears too rare to replace. One cannot put a price on a human life. I’m troubled to look back at the profound harms that I am solely responsible for causing others, whether they are glaring obvious or subtle. I see that ripple effect reverberate to this very day. It pains me greatly to have been so hostile, so reckless and inconsiderate, so unmerciful, so irresponsible, and so callously immature. So selfish. To make sense of it all and right myself, I use that pain and my remorse as a motivational driving force to change me.

It wasn’t easy but nothing truly worth wild in life usually is. I left that default shameful version of me, that old me who taken all that garbage in as a child, on the scrapheap where he belong and started to walk towards the “me“ that I truly determined that I had truly determined I wanted to be.

Today, I’m a doer. I facilitate the Alternatives to Violence Project, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition's "Attitude Reconstruction Group", and “Walking the 12 steps with Jesus“. I mentor others, each and every day, because I realize that the best way I can make amends in my character, is by my actions day-to-day. I try to be the change I want to see manifest in my community. I help other men enroll in college to educate themselves, get a handle on themselves, and get pointed in the right direction. Today, I strive to be an encourager, and example of true love, compassionate, and forgiving. Knowing just how much it was that Jesus forgave me of. I use honor language with my nieces and nephews. I try to be like the glue in my family.

Foremost on my mind and in my words and deeds, regarding family, is healing and love. Love is an action verb. My actions today evidence the epiphanies I’ve had. In the midst of all my many character defects that I addressed, I’ve lived through just about every nightmare that I ever had as a boy. Because it means so much to me today, that work I’ve undergone, I’m proactive today. Giving back means something to me – I’ve come to truly appreciate that the good and the positive I do has the same pull, the same gravitas-- it creates its own trajectory. As an added benefit, others are ever more so attracted to it because it renews, it sustains, and it heals, not just an individual but society at large.

I see myself as an aspiring empowered citizen, who has learned his lesson at a price that is too steep. Serving others, in my eyes, is the least I can do moving forward. I ask myself every day in this gift we called the present, "what can I do for someone else today Lord?" I start there each day, and I usually find there is yet more to do so I P.U.S.H. (pray until something happens).This is something that God has put into my heart , so much so that I’ve begun educating myself on nonprofit organization management and leadership skills. I see my experience translating to leadership in helping others overcome their negative habits, self-destructive inner dialogue, warped mindset, and character defects. I think there are a lot of folks out there who don’t want to be who they have become, but they’re at a loss from where to start, to create that shift in their lives.

Who were you at the time of your life crime?

I had a flawed perceptual lens. I was suffering from toxic masculinity. I lacked emotional intelligence. I was someone who internalized and suppressed emotional pain. I had learned to normalize violence early in life. Everything I did was selfish fear-based. I thought that for me to win, anyone and everyone else had to lose. I’d learned distrust authority. I was violent, hostile, and aggressive at the drop of a hat. I was criminally minded when it came to getting what I wanted. I had witnessed domestic violence repeatedly in the home from the age of three onward. I had been diagnosed with ADHD. I was suffering from arrested development. Spiritually, I see myself back then as "lost". I was disconnected from others, and resentful to my state, to the point of hostility. I had a little concern for others. I seldom consider the consequences of my actions first. I was reactive. I had extra sick. I had an extrinsic focus, seeing others as responsible for how I was feeling or relating. I was in denial. I blamed others for the problems I created and/or perpetuated. I like to hurt others who I perceive wanted to hurt me. I had pronounced anger problem. I love to fight. I like to compassion, I didn’t know how to show love and healthy ways, and my relationships suffered accordingly. I frequently procrastinated over made excuses, because it didn’t have a clue how to change, when the light did go on. I’ve been the victim of an attempted sexual assault at age 12 to 13 years of age, by neighbor and close friend of a family,. I internalize the rage I felt over that happening. I often check it out on others, in myriad ways.

When I look back at my life at the time of my life crime, at 24 years of age, having grown up as a juvenile delinquent of sorts who even then had many opportunities to better myself, there was a sense of pitiful, incomprehensible, demoralization. Whenever a peer asked me then, what was wrong with me, I’d respond with “What’s wrong with you?“ defensively. I truly had little concerned for others, and more often than not, I didn’t care about or even consider the consequences of immature actions and poor choices.

Who am I today?

Today I am self-aware. I made a choice to be kind and compassionate. I take the time to think today. I am mature and responsible, and I have intrinsic focus. I try to think of myself less, and others more. I’ve had spiritual awakening, and I see myself as loved by God, forgiven, and committed as a follower of Jesus. I show up, today, as an emotional intelligent man who has learned from the negative: how to overcome. I’m a positive person who has an attitude of gratitude. I cultivate that which I want to see manifest in the world. I’m remorseful about my past, thankful for the present, and committed to living a life amends in the future. I am at peace. I am hopeful, as a loving son a doting uncle, a friend willing to listen or give advice, a mentor who lived it & who’s lived it out, an employee who’s an asset willing to go an extra mile. I see that old default me as my worst enemy, as an imposter who held sway by keeping me that person God meant for me to be in denial and in the dark. I strive to be the salt that adds flavor and the light the dispels darkness in Jesus name.

I am a man who is moving toward the "me" that I’ve determined to become, with God as my standard bearer. It was my sobriety and in my sobriety that this is me fully emerged. I am resilient and forgiving. I believe that I am suitable for parole. I wouldn’t reoffend or commit another crime, because I’m someone who never again wants to meet my needs at the expense of others, or create another victim. “Criminals and Gangsters Anonymous“ mantra “one less crime, one less criminal, one less victim“ rings true in all my actions moving forward. Everything I do each day and every day serves to feed this new me and starve that all defaulted me. Full of resentment, emotional pain, character defects, and a laundry list of bad habits. It’s my story and I have empowered myself to begin writing it. I’m thankful for each and every one of the self-help groups I’ve participated in, and for the mentors that helped enable me to develop the eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. I’ve healed my soul via the truth. It brought me out of that pit of denial, shame, and pain. Along the way, I was able to educate myself, the only surviving college graduate in my immediate family. I’m someone who is taking responsibility back from my direction in life is headed. “Anger“ no longer holds way over my life. I no longer see correction as rejection like I once did. I don’t run from life‘s problems when they come, or seek to escape from them-- I deal with them proactively. I try to be humble, and keep a beginners mind frame. I’m in control of my thoughts. I realized today that my attitude is my choice. I’m quick to apologize if I’m wrong.

I’m not perfect. It’s all about progress not perfection. If I want to learn how to do something that I don’t know how to do, I seek out avatars who are doing it like I desire to do myself. I’m not afraid to reach out for help and support I need. I follow the golden and platinum rule. Like David, I am a man after God's own heart. I am loved. Being pragmatic, I’ll never be able to bring back the life I took and that weighs heavy upon my heart today. What I do each and every day moving forward takes on added importance because I live with that fact, I am sorry.

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