ADHD, DUI, Depression, Guilt, Jail, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, PTSD, recovery, Sentenced to Jail, Therapy, Vulnerability

Reflections of probation –

My long two years of probation are coming to an end in 25 todays

In my Brain I worried, that if something happens and the un-just justice system pulls me back in for a small technicality, like a diluted test.. will it ever end?

My heart, is so tired of this fight- I have given all my energy to being perfect for a system that only looks for faults, I ridicule myself for this mistake I have made.

I have thought of my drinking and partying in the past, wondering if I ill end up right where I was prior to the DUI. Or if somehow will offer me the clarify I needed all those years to see the bigger picture.

I have been so hard on myself for over two years, developing a deep depression, increased anxiety about everyday life, crippling guilt, and an endless cycle of “what if’s” that rack my mind day and night.

I had a moment of inspiration- right after this whole thing started, I dedicated myself to healthy eating and going to the gym, I was determined to not let this take me down. But then it did. The system took me down, it belittled me, it made me feel like a bad dog chained up outside all winter long.

I know the justice system had its steps, and I completed all of them- 52 hours of alcohol and group therapy, 52 hours of community service, substantial fees, attending a MADD panel, monthly meetings with a probation officer who could really care less about me as a human. All the drug tests, once a week for two years…. and then the steps I had to follow based on what the system declared of me…I wore an ankle monitor for sobriety because I got 3 diluted tests. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke weed, I simply drank too much water before my drug tests. I have a breathalyzer in my car, which goes off every 30 minutes when I drive, and costs $65 a month, and requires a 30 minute recalibration test every month. Of course they are only open M-F 8-5 requiring me to go during work.

Probation isn’t as simple as “not drinking and doing drugs” its so much more. The system makes you go out of your way to prove you will jump when they yell jump. If not they hold a 2 year jail sentence over your head for any small infraction, and it’s based solely on what my paper provides to them, not who I am or my current circumstances of life.

I now had to ask for permission to go on a camping trip, anything that required me to be out of the city for over 24 hours in case I needed to take a drug test that day.

But I went beyond the requirements and started going to therapy again, I started off once a week, and have recently moved to every other week. It started when they put me on ankle monitor after I got a few diluted tests.

The ankle monitor crushed me. I had to wear it for a month, they take your social security number and base how much money you pay based on your un taxed salary.

– you are required to go get it installed, it weighs about 4 lbs, and has to be uploaded to the probation office 2 times a week. They are also open M-F 8-5 requiring yet again another trip outside work to get it done and pay your fees.

To me it seemed they were doing everything to keep me as a cash cow for them, when people with less money or more unstable lives were let off a little easier.

So I started cognitive behavioral therapy. She has helped so much! I cannot express how much she means to me, she saw me at my darkest moments, when I was contemplating suicide, she helped me change my outlook on life. She helped me so much in turning these negative thoughts into more realistic and less “catastrophic” thoughts.

I also started seeing a psychiatrist who works with me to develop a medication plan to help me make it through each day without panic attacks, depression medication that allows me to get out of bed daily. And medication for insomnia as I suffered through panic night terrors about my time in jail.

While I feel like half of my life was stripped away, leaving me naked, afraid , alone and embarrassed. The other half of me embarked on a journey of self discovery. One without weed, without alcohol, and a lot of the time without friends. I secluded myself, I would’t let anyone see me with an ankle monitor on, I stopped going to events because I worried so much about what people thought of me, but I stuck it out….

No matter what they threw at me, no matter how unfair things seemed, I made it through. I never thought about what it would feel like to have 25 days left of probation, I was always in a mindset it would never end. But there I am, and I have no idea what comes next, how am I supposed to feel, what happens when I’m allowed to be spontaneous and adventurous. What happens when I don’t have to call a phone line every single morning to find out if I need. Go pee in a cup. What happens now?

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