The more I go on in this place, the more I see the crude or even destructive behavior of guys in prison as attempts to exercise some control over their lives. Hell, I even have to admit that some of the rationale I had (even if I didn’t realize it at the time) for committing my crime was wanting self-control. And of course, if your self-esteem is low (as mine was, pathologically so), you feel that urge all the more acutely, and being unsophisticated and immature, you try to exercise it in anti-social or even criminal ways.
I think guys in here need to stop viewing authority as some kind of adversary that needs to be controlled, and rather as something that you can use as a means to an end. THAT will give you control in your life. That’s how I’ve done it, at least. Prison can be a shit-hole in which you hate every second and every person, but it can also be just another opportunity to educate and improve yourself, and to give yourself whatever tools you need to move on. I’m being released in less than 6 months, after 19 years, and looking back, that’s how I’ve viewed the majority of my time in here. And I feel like I’ve added amazing amounts of control to my life (and pride and self-esteem as well), even while behind bars. I can’t wait to see how much that grows starting in October.