**Half way Home**
The months go quickly and the days drag by. The worst part of being in here is worrying about my family out there. I have never been away from my husband or kids for this long of a time period. I am well rested and have lost weight. I was terribly unhealthy and stressed to the max when i walked into prison in September. I could not stay awake; my sleep disorder was full blown and I couldn’t walk without a cane. Over the past several months, I have gotten my strength back. I am preparing to make a serious come back, so Look out world, here I come!!! LOL!
When I first got here, the inmates addressed me as “Mrs. Sugarmann”. It was awful. I would correct them each time and eventually I became “OG” or “Triple OG” or “Mama Sug”, but “Mrs. Sugarmann”, just did not sit right with me. Then I realized that as an addict, our physical age and our mental age are very different. An addict’s age is calculated by clean time. For example, you take the age that you picked up your FIRST chemical, in my case, I was 15 years old, and then add on your amount of clean time to that age. So again, in my case, I add 34 years clean to 15 years old and the age comes out to be “49”. That means I am 49 years old MENTALLY, instead of 63! That makes perfectly good sense to me. I feel like I am 49 years of age and I act like it too!! If you are an addict, calculate your age with that formula and see if it applies to you! I know that when we did group therapy at Mary E. Steratore we would go around the circle and ask each member to do that. We would end up with a group of adults who acted like adolescents. The mentality of the group of addicts were anywhere between 9 and 16 years old. That was truly their maturity level. All in all, at the end of the day being an addict can be an asset! I just thought I’d share that spiritual awakening with all of you! I am sure you will be amazed at your age when you calculate it!
I have been writing my book, as you all know… it is stirring up so many different feelings from childhood. My father died of an unexpected sudden heart attack when I was 10 years old. His death disrupted our entire family system and actually, we pretty much fell apart once he was gone. His death left such a monumental impact on each one of us in its own special way. While in prison, I have been blessed with a lot of “time” to think. Believe me, my mind does not stop. I have given a lot of thought to how my upbringing played into my addiction. My father’s death, my poor self-esteem, my drug use, my recovery. I remember always wishing my father would come back just once. It was always on my mind. Always. For some reason, after my father died I felt like I did not belong anywhere. I could not fit in. I had an empty feeling in my gut. My mother lost her soul mate. She had nothing to give me. My brother Gene lost his mentor and role model. My brother Frank also lost his mentor and role model. My father was a strong man. He had his beliefs, his morals and values. Both of my parents were 100% Italian. My father had a very close large family. Losing my dad was very hard on many people. While everyone suffered in one way or another, my father’s death left a huge hole in my gut that ached on a daily basis, until I filled it with drugs. My dad loved me. I was Daddy’s little girl. I felt the loss of his love very deeply and painfully. My mother tried, but she was suffering too much herself. My brother Frank was also suffering. My brother Gene’s love for me was the closest to my father’s as one could get… unfortunately his wife was not interested in sharing her husband with us. She did not want me or my mother around, and she made my life miserable to say the least. I am sure I sound as though I am blaming or pointing the finger… in reality, I guess I am. I can’t help but chuckle about how many adults make the comment, “I don’t know what is wrong with my kid.. I don’t know why they use drugs, I didn’t raise them like that”. Really? Like what? I guess this comment brings me to the reality that drugs saved my life and got me through the most painful time of my life. I remember finally feeling like the hole in my gut was gone. Well, at least for a while, until the drugs stopped working.
As I look around this prison I see so many addicts who have no knowledge about the disease of addiction. They don’t even know that they are suffering from a fatal illness. It is so very sad that these addicts are the ones who will die or spend their lives incarcerated. Why? Because people would rather not take any responsibility for their part as an addict or as a family member. Denial is not a river in Egypt!!
So where do I start when I get home? How do I re-build what we lost? How do I continue to help addicts and their families? It gets very overwhelming at times thinking about all of it. Addicts are dying everyday. The heroin epidemic should be called the “Addiction Epidemic”, and family members need to ask for help and become educated about how to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
My goal is to open another treatment facility. I really cannot imagine my life without helping the suffering addict and their families. I know my God will point me in the right direction.
It is beautiful here. The facility has everything that is needed for a beautiful addiction rehabilitation center. It would be a stay of one year. There would be a family program for 5 days. We would treat the disease of addiction, regardless of the drug of choice. It could be heroin, food, sex, codependency, money, or gambling. Whatever the addict uses to make them feel better. The real work does not begin until the addict puts down the drug. My dream is to turn Alderson Prison into Alderson Treatment center! You never know, dreams do come true!!
And so today is another day in Alderson. I cannot imagine leaving here and never looking back. I will be leaving many new friends, many professional, bright and well educated people who do not belong in prison. People who literally have either made a simple mistake or who don’t really understand what they have done or how they even got here.
In closing this blog, I just left email and here is how extremely lucky I am as a mother:
“I love you mom. I hope you are okay. I was praying last night and I got this overwhelming feeling. I know it has to suck being in there, and I would never try to minimize it or act like it is not terrible. At the same time, I think it is pretty amazing. It just adds to your story and proof of how strong you are. You are pretty cool mum. I am so proud of you and so proud to be your daughter. I was at a meeting last night. The reading was on gratitude. Which is super hard to practice these days. So when I was sitting there listening, I started to think of everything I was grateful for. You obviously popped in my head. I am just extremely grateful you are my mother. I am grateful for our family. We have lost so much shit. Literally everything. And it really doesn’t even matter. I mean it is painful and it hurts. I would love to be able to know we are going to have a house to live in and that the electricity won’t be turned off when I get home from work. All of that is scary and painful. It just doesn’t seem too scary or painful when I think of our family. Literally, an immediate smile will come across my face. That is because of you and Dad. So I guess I feel the need to say thank you. I know I don’t say it often and I haven’t said it in awhile. So thanks. Thanks for giving me the best siblings in the world. Thank you for teaching me that material shit is nice, but it is not the end all be all. Thank you for not giving a shit about what other’s think. And thank you for loving me unconditionally. Not many people get to feel that from their families.
I love you and I miss you. You’re the shit. – Maria xoxoxo ”
How lucky am I? The luckiest mom in the universe. How can anyone fail with this much love and support behind them? And let me say thank you to all of you who continue reading my blog and special thanks to those who have consistently continued to write me or put money on my books. You have no idea how much this means to me. People in prison are pretty easily forgotten by many for one reason or another. Believe me, there is nothing worse than your name never being called during mail call. So thank you again, for thinking of me and praying for my family!
Till the next blog…..