Posts Tagged ‘substance abuse’

Returning to School – The Other Side of Fear

Written by Todd Bates

After withdrawing from high school, incarceration, and overcoming alcohol abuse, I assumed my fears were under control.  You will discover in this paper, how I learned to manipulate fear, and return to school. The purpose of this paper is to inform you of the major obstacle of fear, which I needed to overcome before pursuing a college education.  Returning to school requires discipline to conquer your fears and obstacles to earn a college degree. Although intimidating, you can achieve your goals.

We begin my personal journey with a small word called fear.  The word fear is a common word and one with many individual meanings.  I have several fears such as, heights, wasps, and loneliness, but never imagined I would fear returning to school.  I have always enjoyed school for the most part, but found difficulties keeping up with the other students.  High school was an enjoyable experience. However, due to a physical confrontation with another student, causing the loss of my senior credits, I withdrew from high school.  With the carefree mindset of a young teenager, I had little understanding of what a diploma actually meant to the workforce until several years later.  Was I afraid of never finding decent employment?  No, I worried about other selfish wants such as a girlfriend, and moving out of my parent’s house.  Fear was an illusion to me that would quickly appear, and then disappear. Nevertheless, this would quickly change several years later when fear poked its dreary head around every corner.

After relocating my wife and young daughter to Illinois, I obtained a newfound career working for a state prison.  The profession paid very well, but also came with a hefty price tag of stress due to working long hours, and hostile inmate environments’.  While working one evening, an inmate approached and threatened me.  I felt a knot in my throat when he mentioned the names of my family members.  At that moment, his plot to extort me began.   The extortion scheme plotted by the inmate, led me to perform an unspeakable crime to save the lives of my family. Due to a forced decision, I was fully intent on trafficking narcotics into a state prison system. Before I was able to enter the prison, I was discovered, arrested, and then incarcerated for my crime.  You may ask yourself, “What does this have to do with returning to school?” The response may surprise you later in the paper.  Approximately one year later, I returned to humanity a rehabilitated man, so I believed.  The confinement experienced in prison altered me.  I was not cheerful, outgoing, or adventurous any longer. Panic marched into my lifetime once again.   I was fearful of people and what I thought they did to me by conviction.  I shunned the community, and created a personal incarceration within.  The isolation forced me down an entirely different path. The route directed me to a new obstacle I was about to encounter, called alcoholism.

My existence had been difficult to maintain after my release from prison.  I began alienating loved ones, or any person for that matter, around me.  The relationships formed with selfishness, self-pity, and guilt were my only friends that I trusted to support me.  Little did I know, but this dysfunctional relationship was a turning point in my life.  I was terrified to confront life on its own terms.  I created a false sense of happiness with alcohol use.  The substance quickly dissolved the pain inside, only for it to resurface like a fishing bobber of guilt the following day.  Fear had escorted me, hand in hand, down the lonely and dark path to alcohol abuse and the alcohol abuse piloted me to fear.  The road formed an immeasurable circle and quickly became a vicious cycle.

Reaching my all-time low in life, (more…)