Fifteen years ago, on April 28, 2008, I surrendered to federal prison to begin serving my 18-month sentence. Fear, uncertainty, and shame consumed me. At the time, I didn’t know my prison experience would be one of the most transformative of my life, leading to personal growth and a newfound appreciation for freedom, family, and health.
In this video, I share 11 ways my life has changed after going to federal prison. For clarity, I learned many lessons–these are some that come to my mind this morning as I reflect.
11 Ways I Live Differently Because I Went To Federal Prison:
- Reflecting on what I lost versus what remains in my life.
- Developing a respect for money and understanding the actual cost of earning it.
- Gratitude for the struggles and challenges I faced.
- Appreciation for my parents and the support they provided.
- Embracing my felon status and using it as motivation to succeed.
- Making a daily commitment to reading or listening to a book and finding ways to implement that knowledge.
- Cutting back on television by 90% and using that time for more productive activities.
- Committing to exercise, regardless of circumstances.
- Avoiding the temptation to use food as a way to cope with stress.
- Always be mindful that the FBI could listen to what I say and do.
- Taking a stand on my beliefs and not being afraid to speak up.
I am grateful for the lessons I learned. I am also thankful to all of you who choose to learn more about our prison system and how people can succeed despite some difficult circumstances.