TME-CHAPTER 4-THUGS & DRUGS-(Substance Abuse)

The Conscience Hardener

This week we had five new intakes on our unit.  During the interview process, all five told me that they had done “E Pills.”  Tow of them informed me that they believe the E Pills have caused them brain damage because they told me the drug has slowed down their thinking process. A former ward called my supervisor today saying, “They’re going crazy in the Bay; you can get 2 ‘E Pills’ for $10.00.”

These types of drug habits are the root of much of the new mental illnesses in our society. These individuals told me how popular the “Hyphy Movement” was in their cities. This made me think about the inevitable health care crisis coming to our nation regarding the mental illness epidemic, which our nation is being propelled into at a rapid rate.

Marijuana, Meth, Sherm and E Pills are some of the main culprits of mental illness. With these drugs being in style now by the music industry, millions of naïve youth will fall victim to mental illness which will continue to escalate the crime rate and lead the health care system into a financial catastrophe.

Drug use opens the door to one’s soul for demonic spirits to come into torment, influence and eventually take possession.  No amount of medication or treatment sessions can undo all the damage from some of these drugs. It will take the savior Jesus Christ to fully deliver and transform these drug addicted individuals back to sobriety with a sound mind.

What’s wrong with Marijuana?

“Marijuana relaxes me, it mellows me out”…“It’s a natural herb”…“it should be legalized.” These are the arguments from the pro-marijuana movement that I hear all the time at the correctional facility. Many have vowed to me and others that they will give up their gang banging, robbing, stealing, drug dealing and committing violent acts on others, and go to school and get a job, however very few are willing to honestly commit to leaving a drug such as marijuana. “I love it”, I hear a lot. “There ain’t nothing wrong with it.” They tell me that they have used it for years and they aren’t hurting anybody by doing it. They say they just want to be left alone after a hard day of work to kick back with a beer and “fire up”a joint.

To get a clear understanding and knowledge of any plant, you have to go to its root. In this case, I’m going to take you back to its historical and spiritual root.

Why is God against substance abuse other than the physical and brain damage it causes? Because, it’s sorcery. That’s right, it’s witchcraft. I know that sounds extreme, but let me explain. The Greek word “pharmakia” is used five times in the New Testament.  One time in Galatians (5:20) and four times in Revelations (Rev. 9:21, Rev.18:23, Rev.21:8, and Rev.22:15).    According to W.E. Vine’s expository dictionary of New Testament words, the word “pharmakia” refers to a sorcerer, one who uses drugs, potions, spells, and enchantments. The word “pharmacy” is derived from “pharmakia.” This Greek word does not refer to all drug use, but rather drug use which is related to sorcery.  Sorcery involves using drugs to open up oneself to the influence of evil spirits.

Revelation 9:21 states that after God poured out his wrath on rebellious humanity through plagues, people did not repent of their “murders, sorcery, fornication or their thefts.”

Dating back to ancient times, the occult used mind-altering drugs as part of their rituals. Years ago, marijuana was practiced in Shamanistic rituals in India, China and Assyria. In an ancient Chinese writing, the Pen Tusuo Ching (100 AD) noted that, “If taken over a long term, it (marijuana) makes one communicate with spirits.” A Taoist Priest wrote in the fifth century B.C. that marijuana was utilized by “necromancers (sorcerers)….to set forward time and reveal future events.”  Today, many groups such as the Rastafarians, the Tepecano Indians of Mexico, and the Kasai Tribes of the Congo use marijuana as a sacrament in their religious functions.  The Kasai considers considers Marijuana to be a god-“The Nector of Delight”.

Indians of Mexico, and the Kasai Tribes of the Congo use marijuana as a sacrament in their religious functions. The Kasai considers Marijuana to be a god- “The Nector of Delight”.

The Menninger Foundation did a study led by Dr. Charles Tart, published in Nature(a scientific journal), about the effects of marijuana. In a survey of frequent marijuana users, eighty percent said “I get somewhat paranoid about the people with me, I am suspicious about what they’re doing.” Twenty three percent said “I lose control of many actions and do antisocial things that harm other people.” Twenty percent said, “I have lost control and been taken over by an outside force or will which is hostile or evil in intent for a while” (http://sosmin.com/TRACTS/marijuana.html).

Marijuana weakens the natural moral restraints people have against engaging in immoral activities; it corrupts one’s conscience. Back in the 1960’s as millions of people were introduced and started smoking marijuana, these people who once embraced the values of the Holy Bible were now embracing eastern religion, new age thinking and occultism.

They adopted a hedonism lifestyle which has the philosophy “if it feels good, do it.” In ancient times, even today, a witch or shaman prepares these drugs. They are used to enter into the spiritual world by inducing a pleasurable altered state of consciousness that allows demons to take over the mind of the user. Today, many say they use drugs for so-called recreation; however, one can not negate its cultic ties. While marijuana impacts one’s mind and soul by changing an individual’s personality, beliefs and thinking process, it also damages the individual physically. Here are some of the detriments of marijuana reported by Parents, the Anti-Drug Foundation:

Effects of Marijuana on the Brain. (THC-Tetrahydrocannabinol)

“Researchers have found that THC changes the way in which sensory information gets into and is acted on by the hippocampus. This is a component of the brain’s limbic system that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. Investigations have shown that THC suppresses neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus. In addition, researchers have discovered that learned behaviors, which depend on the hippocampus, also deteriorate.”

Effects on the Lungs

“Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke. Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers. This may be due to marijuana users inhaling more deeply and holding the smoke in the lungs.”

Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use on Learning and Social Behavior.

” A study of college students has shown that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among people who use marijuana heavily, even after discontinuing its use for at least 24 hours. Researchers compared 65 “heavy users,” who had smoked marijuana a median of 29 of the past 30 days, and 64 “light users,” who had smoked a median of 1 of the past 30 days. After a closely monitored 19- to 24-hour period of abstinence from marijuana and other illicit drugs and alcohol, the undergraduates were given several standard tests measuring aspects of attention, memory, and learning. Compared to the light users, heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information. The findings suggest that the greater impairment among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana.” (http://www.theantidrug.com/drug_info/)

Marijuana is also known as the “gateway drug”, in the “Dawn Report” led by Dr. Harold Voth, senior psychiatrist for the Menninger Foundation. He found that 90 percent of those using hard drugs such as heroin started with marijuana. A quick foot note, a predecessor to the gateway of Marijuana is cigarettes, which statistics have proven that the majority of individuals who start smoking tobacco products go on to try marijuana. Marijuana has been proven to open the gateway to drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, methapehinimies, PCP, “sherm” and a host of others. All which are known by the medical community to be deadly and to cause a multitude of health problems, but also cause irreversible brain damage. Towards the end of this chapter you will read some bizarre testimonies from wards incarcerated who tell about their drug experiences.

A ward on my unit, who is a former crystal meth dealer revealed to me the secret ingredients in the deadly addictive drug. I couldn’t hardly believe it at first, but another former meth dealer on the unit confirmed it. Take a look at what many individuals are willing to put in their body for a cheap high:

Some of the Deadly Ingredients of Crystal Meth

·  Raid

·  Red Sulfur (from matches)

·  Ajax

·  Bleach

·  Sudafed

INMATE STORIES

“My Insight on Various Drugs”

The effects of drugs that I’ve done and taken are many: good,bad,fun, scary. I’ve explored a lot of drugs in my short life of 20 years. From weed to heroin to acid to extacy.

Hallucinogenics are my favorite drugs, but being hard to get my drug of choice is crank/meth. I was once up on meth for 1 month and 3 days. That’s burned into my memory because it was the last month and 3 days I spent on the streets before coming to YA. Marijuana was my first drug I started smoking it at the age of 11. My cousin gave me the joint to calm me down because I was hella mad. He didn’t like me getting in trouble so weed was the only option to calming me down. Every smoke after that was to mellow me out. Running from my problems? Hell yeah! But so would you if you had so much anger wanting to be released in a way that would end up with me in here a lot sooner. So weed was just a mellow me out drug.

 

Cocaine (the powder) was a drug that I would use to help me drink my alcohol and to numb my spirits. If that sounds weird to you then I apologize for I know no other way to express it.

Meth was a way to stay up and not miss out on the opportunities of the coming days.    The parties, sex, drinking, fighting and more meth. I done heroin one time as a type of experiment, I didn’t like it.

Cocaine (rock form) I’ve also tried once and it was a high to good so I’ve never done it since. Acid (LSD) is a mind trip drug that I love. Though my first experience wasn’t very nice I did it again.

It’s a drug that alters your vision, “inhances” your hearing . My second trip was Coo. I would wave my hand in front of my face or anything for that matter and would see about ten more following the original object. “Trails” were fun when you did a pass a couple of times and try to find the real thing. I could hear colors changing and blending like clashing or crashing waves.

I once seen Mario and Luigi (from the Mario Brothers) fighting to see Mario the victor and then tearing off Luigi’s head.

I like watching trees on a windy day and frying balls when it’s raining. The rain seems to slow down and when it hits the ground it’s really a beautiful sight. My worst experience was with liquid form acid. My thing was I thought I was surrounded by death. A rotten stench wading in blood. That was too much for me especially with O.J. which enhances the effect.    The trick with acid is knowing before you take it is that everything that will happen will be controlled by you and your mind. For example if you think you’re going to go and see rabbits, then rabbits are what you’ll see. Peaceful minds have good trips while troubled worried minds have bad trips it’s all in the head.

Mushrooms are weird too. They taste like crap when eaten alone, but when eaten with some food the shrooms have a little bit of flavor added to the bitterness mushrooms unlike LSD never gave me any bad trips. My cousin said it’s because the shrooms are a gentle and friendly hallucinogenic.

I’ve had the same hallucination of Mario and Luigi  (video game characters)fighting but with a slightly different ending the roles were reversed. Extacy or “X” is a drug that has you in that state therefore obtaining it’s name properly. There are many different types of “E”; clovers, pyramids, daisies. There are so many I’m sure not even the biggest law enforcement agency with all it’s evidence on drug busts would have even half! Each pill has different effects but similar sensations.    I myself like to have a baby pacifier In my mouth with a lot of Gatorade because you can dehydrate quickly. The pacifier to keep from chewing my tongue off or trying to swallow it. If you were to start chewing your tongue you probably wouldn’t stop because it wouldn’t hurt. It would feel good.

Extacy helps you to gain energy and flow with the music. House music catches my attention on “E” and it’s the most amazing sound and music that someone, anyone could have invented.

There are three forms of the pill: single double and triple stacked.    This is the thickness of the pill.    The thicker the stronger. I think this is what leads to the seizures that a first time user has. If they took a single stacked pill I don’t think it’s likely that they would O.D. as they would with a triple stacked one.

I’ve also taken a certain cold medication to get high.    The pills? Triple C Coriceden cold and cough.    The pills gave me the weirdest high I’ve gotten in my drug history. I was drunk, stoned, wired and strong as satan on steroids. I remember getting into a 1 man fight (me) with 6 guys and knocking four of them out at turns. I s@%t you not. The other 2 I beat up one at a time first then I ended my rage with my older sister by my side telling me to “be coo already” and handing me a beer, Bud Light. That’s not my choice beer, tastes like crap. Budweiser then she got pushed and I went into a rage again and was hitting the poor guy so hard I broke or fractured his eye socket and busted his ear with a rip. They took me inside and I passed out. I woke up in a cold as# shower was dried off by some hina I never met (which is good for me because I ain’t very well endowed) and was put to bed with a “guard” and ordered to keep me in the room if not in bed. I woke up and the next morning with my hands swollen, the knuckle to my ring finger pushed back behind the rest and the middle knuckle I would later come to find out was shattered.

Drugs can be enjoyed but they’re looked down upon by today’s world because of the financial aspect becoming greater than the country’s own. If drug were legalized there would be no killing, now women having sex for drugs or guys taking advantage of the addict in that way.

I’ve dealt drugs and have been offered sex with women and their kids for a 20 sack which ain’t very much at all. That’s enough for one hit of meth maybe 2 and 1 very small line of Crystal meth which is more expensive. There would be less robberies for fixes and less everything that a drug addict analysts connect or blame on the actions of addict there’s my view and my explanation or insite on drugs I’ve experienced.”

 

“I Started Doing Drugs to Stay on My Feet”

 

I had to maintain on the streets because I was wanted by a lot of enemies, because I always robbed them and was taking dope and money from them. Every time the dope dealer saw me they would shoot at me or they go to my house looking for me. But I was never at home, it was one time when these dope dealers went in my house with guns and pointed it at some of my family members looking for me. They told my people that, “If we don’t get your son we are going to kill you”, but then I start doing drugs to stay on my feet, because I never know when they going to come to kill me. I always snort cocaine because it makes me stay up. I never got to sleep because the people who I robbed could come any time. Sometimes at night I would walk around on crack because it makes me stay up and in the daytime I be on the corner nodding my head.

My mom always told me to turn myself in to the police, she always tell me she can’t sleep at night because she is worried about me, she told me one of these days I am going to give her a nervous break down. I love my mom, but I never tried to put her in my mix. One day I got so tired of all this sh*% and the streets and I was stressed that my mom was depressed. People wanted to kill me, so I had to do something. I was walking down the street and the police rolled up. I was like, I’m glad this sh*% is over with, I told them to take me to jail, I was kinda happy in a way, because my mom did not have to worry about me, and I did not have to watch my back or duck from cars any more, but I have to still keep my head up, because it was a tough war. To this day, my mom and grandma still happy that I am in jail and I love them for it, because they know I’m safe.

 

“I wish to never use it again”

 

When I was 13 years old I used meth which wasn’t a good experience and I wish to never use it again, but I remember we would use it so much we would be up for days and after a while of using it so much no matter what I would always feel paranoid and dirty. So one night around 2 or 3 in the morning, I was in my room with a friend who was also using it, we heard something out the window or at least we thought we did but anyway we began to think someone was out there watching us so we went to take a look and all we seen in a distance was shadows behind cars, bushes, houses and we thought we were being watched by cops and thought they were trying to bust us, so we went in the house and started flushing all our drugs down the toilet breaking all our pipes and getting rid of any evidence that coulda been found and after all that come to find out there was nothing even out there at all it was us just us tripping out off of the drugs which made us do that and I ain’t gonna lie I really seen those shadows but that was a bad experience for me on drugs.

 

“Meth Trip”

 

When I was high on meth I didn’t sleep for two and a half weeks. I was taking rests here and there, wake up, try to eat, like a candy bar or something. For those two weeks and a half I was hallucinating people and animals.

This hallucination of people scared me. People that I saw in my hallucinations are described as aliens. Aliens that I thought that were trying to take my friends to tell them or do some type of experiments.    These people that I was hallucinating on, they looked as any normal people. 5 fingers on their hands, clothing, driving, the only different thing was their face. Big eyes, small mouth, it looked as if they were wearing masks.

On animals, they were normal, bears, deer’s, quails, but didn’t belong in the environment that they were in.

 

“Doing crime gave me that rush”

 

With women such as my mother, the things I did and the attitude I had stressed her out. We weren’t close anymore and my life had to do a lot with the things my mother did and went through. Then my relationship with my grandmother got worse. I had no love for her anymore and it seemed the other way around also.    I also started acting more disrespectful towards women in the way I treated them and talked to them.

I grew up in Hawaiian Gardens (South East, Los Angeles) during my younger years, where I started hanging around older gang members during elementary school.    It felt good having big homies, but it was even better knowing that they were gang members. I felt the love and protection. As I grew up it got more serious.    Just about all my friends were gang members, and that was who I rolled with.    During those times I was neglected, hurt, and abandoned, and I thought that I could never do good and satisfy my family. I had nothing to go home to.    After a while I felt there was no family.    There was no Christmas, and we never did anything.    Doing crime gave me that rush, the sense of power made me think that I could do something good and instead of being looked down for it, my friends did the same thing. Since I had no family at home I felt that love around the homies felt like family and felt like control, because of the love and all the things we did and went through. I kind of felt obligated and that was the only thing separating us, me not being in the gang.

“I careless about my mom and dad because my anger won’t let me feel for no strangers.”

 

Growing up as a Hispanic male in a family of 8: 4 males, 4 females, I was in between of all of this, my mom was a drug dealer when I was a baby, back in 80’ she got busted for manufacturing crack cocaine in an Oakland residential area.    She left my life for 3 years, I was put in a foster home. In the mean time out in Modesto, California my grandmother was staying out there at the time so I was able to stay with my grandmother after a year or so. I grew up with no father figure. During the time I was always at the foster home I experienced a lot of drama. The foster care lady would mistreat us and call us degrading names. She fed us powder milk, powder eggs and other food of that nature. I was relieved when I finally left the home.

Living with my grandmother now, I was eating right, and felt comfortable and safe with no worries. My grandma’s house burnt down just a few months before my mother got released on parole from prison.    During that time I was living with my great grandmother until housing authorities found a place for my grandmother to live.

When my mother was out of prison we returned to her.    She was on parole and still selling drugs so she can provide for the family. She completed parole with a honorable discharge. 8 weeks after her completion of parole the Modesto Police Department raided our house on suspicion of drug deals, they found nothing. After that, my mom discontinued selling drugs, and started using them.

When this started, life started to get even more miserable. Things started to come up missing and slowly but surely we went from having stuff to having nothing. Mom use to do the drugs in front of my face, also she would make me go by the drugs for her. At that time I was 10 years of age when this started to occur. Shortly after this I began to runaway from home.

When I was on the run at 11 years old I experienced going to juvenile hall for 1st Degree Burglary, 3 days later I was released on probation back to the custody of my mom. Shortly after I was released I skipped probation school and court after I left home again.    I was out committing more crimes for the greed of money and excitement of doing the crime.    I started using drugs not only weed and liquor, but smoking crystal meth. It got bad, so I started using all my money to support my habit, so that meant more crimes.    I got busted again for car theft. Released once again back to my mother.    I was rebellious to probation so I did it moving again.    Back on the run again I experienced the same lifestyle over again, but this time it got worser I started committing crimes with weapons. I needed the drugs so I could cover up the pain, when I was high off drugs I felt problem free and it felt good. Back in jail for another burglary, a car theft along with a firearm in my possession. So now I’m on my way to come to the Youth Authority with only 18 months and end up doing 7 years. I involved myself in fights, group disturbances, and in possession of drugs and prison made alcohol. I’ve been careless about life and don’t give a fu** about what goes on because I only got one life to live so I’m a live to the limits. I careless about my mom and dad because my anger won’t let me feel for no strangers. They say I’m wrong and I’m heartless, but all along I was looking for a father, he was gone.

 

“I use to love the name ‘Hot Boy’”

 

The anger in my heart, hurts real bad every time I think about my childhood, sometimes I wish that I never was born in this life, because it hurts me every time I think about what I did to my family.

This is how my life started: I was born in Oakland, California with my mother and father, with my little brother and me. As I remember when I was two years old my father had rollin’ stone jobs, and my mother had welfare and every time of the month for rent, she would pay rent and use drugs. She smoked “coke” and my father used heroin. They were drug addicts, we had food in our house enough to last us the next month. As I got to go to school, I use to act out, because I could not get much attention as when I was at home. When I got older I use to run away from home at age 8.    I use to sleep outside in the “cuts”, beneath the house. My mom used to look for me, but I never want to go home, because she always use to hit me with her fist and my dad use to tell her to stop. Then the next thing you know, my mom and dad started to fight, I used to hate to see my mother and father when they used drugs, they do it in my face, sometimes when I used to run away from home, I go to the store and steal food for myself, because I had to make it on my own.    When I turned ten years old, I told my father on the phone that I am not coming home no more and said that I was going to call the police and say that I was a runaway, when I called home I could not take the pain anymore so I never came back until I went to jail, I went to jail because I was so angry that I beat somebody up real bad. Then people call the police on me, police took me to juvenile hall, I spent one month in there then they sent me back home. When I went home my parents beat me real bad. After that, I start to run away again, because my mom and father start it again, now my brother use to always runaway too. Sometimes he use to get in trouble a lot, just like me, we always use to talk about the pain in our heart, but sometimes me and my bro use to go out and rob people, because we had to make it on our own.

My mom and father did not care about what we did because they always used drugs and got “high” and then it started to get worse, because I start to get guns and drugs when I was 13, that’s when everything started to begin. Now it was time for me to get money fast, quick and smart. I started to sell drugs and make fast money, my brother used to rob people all the time, now we start to have lots of money, we always make victims and take they money and I never use to feel sorry for nobody because I use to have a lot in me that I never care about.    My brother shot somebody, because he had lots of anger in him, he did not care and he got away with it, the person he shot did not die only he got shot in his leg.

Me, I was to go home and get beat up for no reason, because my mom and dad had a lot of anger they self, I will go back outside and rob more people and take things that do not belong to me.    I always use to love to rob people because I get a lot of money doing that, people use to tell me that you a “hot boy” people looking for you “hot boy”, I use to love the name “hot boy” because I was known for that name when people see me and they ask who I am to say “hot boy” and they belike all that’s you always robbing people, you got heart, I respect you, that made me feel good, because people knew who I was, “hot boy”, then I caught a dope case and I went to jail, then when I went to jail people used to know who I was, so I used to fight all the time in juvenile hall, because I had a lot of pain in me. I was sent back home from juvenile hall, I got out feeling good because people knew who I was, but I still had anger in me everyday, I did not care about nobody.    I keep on catching case after case and the judge sent me to CYA, then I start to fight because people use to test me and now they still do and I want to fight everyday, because I want other people to feel my pain, because I always never feel sorry for nobody, now every time I wake up I feel angry because of my family’s habit, and it still hurt from this day.

Since I was young I always had a lot of hate in me because , I always remember my past. I been hurt it’s hard for me to stand up and be a man about it, because I can’t take the pain away of what I been through. People always say leave the past behind me, but it’s hard to let go, if you was in my shoes, what else would you do?

I always tell myself to let things go, but it’s hard for me to let go, now sometimes I wish that I can change the way I think, but now I can’t change, people always use to tell me to be more good than bad, but it seem that I do more bad, because that’s what I am use to doing I always do more bad than good, my family always did drugs and got high, so I look after my dad a lot and I did drugs because my dad did it, and now drugs kinda messed my brain up and I can’t think straight. I always try to let things go out of my way, but I seem to adjust to the bad things, it seems at night time when I go to sleep it haunts me in my sleep, if I think about my childhood, it’s always give me flash backs and it hurts me real bad. If I try my best to be positive it seem like the devil always give a flash back when I was doing something bad and that hurts, after that I start doing bad because that flash back always try to haunt me and it does every night.    So now I am just going to have to deal with it everyday , so I am still keeping my head up and try my best to be positive.

“The most scariest and darkest day in my life”

December 20,200# was the most scariest and darkest day in my life. It’s hard to explain it to everybody, but I’m going to do my best. I was given some trees(weed), and not knowing what it was laced with I just accepted it from a person that I called my homie. So me and my other partner started smoking and off the first hit I was already high, but at the same time I was like, trees(weed) Don’t suppose to hit you that fast.    So I thought it was just some good as* trees(weed). So I kept on smoking and when I felt I was too high I put the rest of the tree(weed) out and then I started to feel like I wasn’t off no trees.    My movement was a hundred times slower than usual. I felt a little bit paranoid. Then my partner that smoked with me he was in the room next to me, he start to panic so I told my partner that smoked the weed with me to call staff I got up ran toward the door, and I started to bang on the door, and as I was baning on the door I said, a staff man! A staff man! (ward’s name)! Up here tripping out all I could see was pitch white and every thing that moved froze. At that point and time the only thing I remember was a staff man! (ward’s name)!up here tripping out and what I heard other people saying that sh#t replayed over and over and over, then I seen staff and I was telling him something but it seems like he didn’t understand me or something like I was from a different planet or something so then I layed down on my bunk and just thought that this is the end of my life I’m dead now but I thought life was suppose to be the other way and which way was that, however everybody die in there own way. As I was laying there staff came to my door called my name like five or six times before I answered them and when I did I felt relieved because I was still alive. So they handcuffed me and took me to this classroom where they called the M.T.A.(medical technician). They started talking and I thought they was trying to kill me. Then that’s when I seen that white light again and as I started to blink my heart started to blink at the same rate and as it was slowing down my heart started to slow down that’s when I realize that I was running out of time and life so I fell to both of my knees and started to pray cause I knew I was dying my soul felt funny like it was waiting to jump out on to something I wasn’t ready and then I blacked out and then I came back but scared as hell to move they took me to the hospital where they checked my blood pressure and they said my blood pressure was 240 that was passed a stroke and a heart attack rate. I kept on asking who was God and kept on saying I need God then I started to get weak and I started to lay down and I took the easy way out and my eyes rolled in the back of my head but for some reason they wouldn’t close and the staff kicked the gate and told me to get up so I go up started to watch tv but didn’t understand. Then they put me in a camera room and watched me from there.

I would like to thank my vent mate cause If it wasn’t for him I’ll be dead, I would like to thank the staff, M.T.A. , but the person I would like to thank the most is God. I understand that God is real now. He is not a joke . Take it from somebody that almost experienced death. I see life as a whole new meaning now. And the devil will try to get in any way he can everything might seem all fine and dandy, but he just waiting til the time is right. I’m straight now, I don’t do drugs no more never did like drinking, I’m not selling no drugs when I go home.

If I would of died it would have been fxxx up because I only had 15 days until I go home. So that is my almost encounter with death, but God saved me from that and I appreciated my Lord.

 

“Vent mate’s Story”

 

The other night I got some bad marijuana, but anyways what it had done to me it was a bad feeling, I almost died off of it. It really had me going crazy and my friend almost died himself when the nurse came to get him he was passed out. When they came and got me I found my friend was almost gone. They wanted to take my blood pressure so I wouldn’t have a heart attack in my sleep. So when they did my blood pressure it was 231 over 130 so they take me to the hospital and they said I had to stay overnight until my blood pressure went down. When I got there my friend was praying to God and he was shaking and that had me really scared, I really didn’t know what to do, but me and my friend got released from the hospital the next day. He is alright and I’m alright. We just happy we living.

But to tell the truth I really don’t know if I’m going to stop smoking marijuana, I probably just won’t smoke in jail and just do my time and go home. To experience death isn’t cool at all, so for the young ones that’s not smoking now, don’t never start, cause it’s not good for you, it will kill you.

might try to kill me for that. They’ll say I’m a “sale out”. I have kids that I love dearly, that’s why I want out. See where the gangs got me? And jail doing hard times, not knowing if I’m going to live or die.

A gang member recently told me that he utilized drugs on the street to quiet his conscience of all the evil deeds he had done. He stated, “It keeps me on point (sharp),” when asked why he had to use them. He went on to say that without drugs he walks around paranoid. When he uses, he believes it calms him and gives him a boldness to continue his gang banging activities with little or no fear.

This is part of Satan’s plan, to create a desire of evil and boldness in individuals so they can either do his sinful deeds or meet dangerous opportunities for them to be killed. Ancient worshipers of pagan gods did marijuana for the purpose of communicating with the spirits (demons). During the state of their “high”, these demons gained access to their soul, in order to place new desires in them. The desires placed inside them were sinful. This is why there are so many youth living rebellious lives. So many individuals love the feeling of the “high” (which is a spiritual sensation, created by demons entering the soul), therefore an addict continues to crave a fill up which creates more sinful desires, because of the feel good sensation.  You wonder how a gang member can kill someone by showing no remorse.  The desire was cultivated in  them through a process of drug use and music over an extended period of time.

Moral desires are God’s instructions for us, sinful desires are Satan’s. In other words, drug use gives an individual, instructions from Satan.

 

“Cult Leader”

(This ward convinced six other wards on his unit to join him in a suicide pact.)

“I guess my words are so strong I can kill you.”

Brain washing or as I call it mind fu*%#ing. What I do is make someone feel bad and tell them they’re no good and pretty much keep it up for a long time some time’s weeks months and then you become their friends and keep it up even when you become their friend. Because people are more willing to believe someone they trust and sometimes someone with a weak mind just wants someone to listen and that is when you tell them about death and how it could all stop the problems that the victim is going through.

And what I did on ——- is just this, they thought I was their friend and they were wrong because they were wrong, because they wanted to die and when they were hanging, I was asleep. I guess my words are so strong I can kill you.

One out of the five became my friend and I knew he was dying as I faked being asleep, so I kicked the door to stop his death and I did but he almost died from the bleeding, from cutting himself and the loss of blood. I guess I have a heart and it’s for the best that I do because I saved all six of their lives. And why I wanted them to kill themselves? Because I wanted to see how far I could push a person until they break.

 

“For the Rush”

Occasionally when I confront an individual for breaking an institutional rule, I often hear, “It doesn’t matter Johnson, I got 30 days to the house” or “go ahead write me up, I max out next week.” Those that are “short timing it” (getting out of prison soon) are excited about their second chance to get out in society. When I ask many what there plan is, some will respond, “Get drunk, kick it with my girl, spend time with family and then hit the clubs with my homies.” Many of these wards re-offend in less than a year, sometimes months or even days; some end up dead. Their state of mind is to live mindlessly day by day.

They crave immediate gratifications, and have failed to develop the skills of patience and self-discipline.  They are blinded by the horrific consequences that are to come.There behavior makes  them a magnate for law enforcement and rival enemies. What is sad is that many wards are being released from our correctional facility to “death row” and they don’t even know it.

 

The Unhealthy Lifestyle of the Thug

 

Watching a “gangsta music video”, you’re almost always likely to see attractive and shapely women and muscular pumped up men with “ripped” abs. This is the appealing picture the entertainment industry paints of the “gangsta paradise.” But this picture of health doesn’t align with the lifestyle that they teach through their music?

You have mega Hip Hop performers like Jay Z, P-Diddy and Tyrese portraying a godfather to crime boss figure profiling with cigars in their videos. Hard liquor being consumed at party scenes, mixed in with high- speed street car racing and reckless sex escapades promotes the scenery of the thug. Reckless driving is being promoted at an all time high in the entertainment industry, such as in the “Hyphy” and “Crunk” movements, along with recent hit movies as the Fast and the Furious and Waist Deep. These movies are purposely being marketed to the youth and young adults. Many have tragically met their fate attempting to emulate the car stunts in movies such as these.

 

With obesity at an all time high, especially with American kids, you have many of these gangsta entertainers proudly parading their glutton and lazy lifestyles. They refer to their excessive overweight frames as a status symbol of wealth and prosperity. Therefore, you now have young obese kids who identify with there overweight idols taking on the same mind-set of them.

The medical profession and statistics relate the following consequences to the thug life style:

·  High Blood Pressure

·  Diabetes

·  Rapid Body Aging

·  Heart Disease

·  Mental Illness

·  Suicide

·  Kidney and Liver Failure

·  Cancer

·  Emphysema

·  Brain Damage

·  Fatal Car Accidents

·  Sexually Transmitted Diseases

·  Paraplegic

·  Prison

·  A Violent Death of Self or a Family Member or Friend

The Adrenaline Rush, the “In-House Drug”

I remember engaging in a conversation with a small group of wards on a lock-up unit about their past drug use. We were discussing their hallucination trips and weekly and daily usage amounts, when one of the wards spoke out and said something very profound. He stated “You haven’t talked about the most powerful drug”, the ward said as his eyes lit up with excitement. “What is that?” I asked. He responded, “The adrenaline rush.” He went on to tell me that the adrenaline rush is the most exciting drug of them all.

I’ve been familiar with the definition of the adrenaline rush is sometimes a good thing, which can boost our physical or mental ability to accomplish difficult tasks.  However, I never looked at it as a drug. That night I went on the Internet to search some medical sites, and discovered that our adrenaline is a chemical which actually produces the drug dopamine within our body which gives an individual somewhat of a narcotic “high”.

 

The article went on to explain how the “adrenaline rush” can become a serious and sometimes fatal addiction. The addiction guides many into substance abuse and other criminal activities. The “thrill”, “adventure”, “the rush” of living on the edge, is an exhilarating high that many can’t get enough of.  These are often the A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) individuals who find it difficult to sit still, or concentrate on a task which extends longer than a few minutes.

Music is a great instigator of the Adrenaline Rush. Just look at “slam dancing” on the punk rock scene or the emotional hype stirred up by the entertainers at a rock or rap concert. They can emotionally stir the audience to get them tapping, rocking, bouncing and sometimes escalating into a frenzy: fighting and rioting.  You just read about the “Hyphy Movement,” must I say any more?

Those who self-mutilate, are exhibitionists, are sexually promiscuous and are gang members fall into this category of the Adrenaline Rush. It is the “in house” drug which can provide them a temporary coping intervention from a painful feeling.

What cultivates the Adrenaline Rush Disorder?

Victims of Abuse– Those who are victims of past abuse, often crave the excitement of the adrenaline rush, because it provides a temporal fix to alleviate the pain of the memories and emotional hurt they suffer from. On a psychiatric unit that I worked on, many wards would cut themselves and bang their heads against hard objects; some would go to the extreme of spreading and eating their own  feces.When I asked them why they did this,the majority would say to me that their bizarre behavior brought them temporary peace from the hurt that was going on in their lives. Abnormal behavior was an escape from their reality.

Guilty Conscience-Those who feel great shame from their past deeds use the adrenaline rush to escape their reality. At the correctional facility, many say they can’t stand it to be quiet, because that’s when their conscience starts talking to them. They must engage in interaction with their peers or enemies to drown out the voice of their conscience. Verbal disrespect and physical threats are a “high” for them, because they know that it might lead them into something even more exciting, which will give them an even greater “high” for them, because they know that it might lead them into something even more exciting, which will give them an even greater “high”, such as a fight or riot.  If it doesn’t, just the mere fact of them believing that they have created some fear or agitation in someone, will give them that adrenaline rush. As they say, “misery loves company.”

Boredom– Those with no worthwhile goals or vision, who go through life aimlessly seeking a thrill to rid themselves of their boring existence, often gravitate to the adrenaline rush.

Insecurity– Those who feel a need for control or seek attention get a high when they feel in full control and obtain attention from others. Outbursts of anger, lying and “needy” codependency are methods some individuals use to control others.

One of the most dangerous and destructive methods in stimulating the “Adrenalin High” is anger.

   Anger in itself is not a problem; it’s how we manage it and the mind-set it derives from, which can become the problem. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. was angry over the injustice in America towards minorities, yet instead of acting out in hostility, he utilized his anger through non-violent peaceful demonstrations and in doing so, he accomplished more than any other civil rights activist in this nation’s history. So we see that the emotion of anger can be a positive which can motivate us to take appropriate action against injustice or a negative circumstance.

Unfortunately, there is a significant portion of our society that equates out of control anger as power. The “Thug Mentality” culture is fueled by unhealthy anger which utilizes and transforms it into a weapon of intimidation. This weapon is used to intimidate others to supply their intimidation.  This weapon is used to intimidate others to supply their immediate gratification.  It is also used as stimulant or emotional narcotic, which works the individual up through a temper tantrum, until they’re into a state of euphoria to where they feel invincible. In the Thug Culture, music is the method of choice to stimulate the dopamine high.

I have seen wards in this state in their rooms attempting to lift bolted down beds and desks, banging on metal doors with their heads and yelling out challenges to their enemies and sometimes correctional staff. They have worked themselves up to an illusion (through the dopamine high) of a super power state, such as how the “Incredible Hulk” would. They are high off the emotion just as one under the influence of PCP or meth.  They deplete most of their logic believing they can lift bolted objects and bang their head and fists against metal doors with little or no injury. When they come down off their high, reality quickly reminds them that they have been fooled. I have observed wards displacing their verbal abuse and threats on innocent bystanders in an attempt to hook them into returning an insult or a threat back at them. The slightest reaction from someone would escalate their anger, simultaneously giving them a feeling of empowerment. On-going verbal combat keeps their fuel line in tact to maintain the high. This is the mind-set where bad decisions are made which can negatively impact a person and others for a life-time.  The first principal I teach students in my anger management group is to stop, relax and think, it is vital to make this a habit.

Great coaches instruct their athletes to relax, because it is a proven fact when the muscles are relaxed we are quicker, stronger and better focused than when we are tense. In sports we often see players given fouls for mental mistakes made when they are angry after being frustrated by a past play or a foul that they feel was unjustified.  Out of control anger causes us to become unfocused, which results in mental mistakes, which can have lifetime detrimental affects. The best thing we can do when we feel the emotion of anger is to relax, so we can plan a successful game plan.

7 Steps to Overcoming Hostile and Impulsive Emotions:

1. Practice viewing the positive and humorous side of every situation. Remember it is the challenges in life that build strong character, if we react with the proper response.

2. Associate with positive peers and get involved with positive activities and organizations.

3. Obtain counseling from a wise Christian counselor for any unresolved feelings from past abuse or unpleasant experiences or memories.

4. Read, listen and watch positive materials, eliminate the negative. Remember we must watch what we download into our mind, “junk in junk out.”

5. Make a list of positive interventions and coping skills with a counselor or mentor and utilize them when your anger and negative impulses are triggered.  Test them out; find out what works and what doesn’t until you find your niche.

6. Visualize over and over a variety of scenarios where your anger is triggered and role-play in your mind giving the proper response. Visualize yourself being disrespected or tempted or in an undesirable situation. Then rehearse in your mind giving the appropriate response.

7. Recite positive self-talk; tell yourself, “I’m doing this because it’s best for myself and my family.” Remember the big picture.

INMATE STORIES

“The game was to see who can pass out”

Well I was about 9 years old running around my neighborhood with friends looking for something to do we were just little bad kids, you can say we were little outlaws and disobedient with our parents. Well one day we were just chilling at a spot we usually hang out at it was a bunch of us and one of the cool kids brought to our attention a game and the game was to see who can pass out quicker. You breathe in and out 10 times and lean against a wall.    Well your buddy is putting pressure on your neck and once you pass out they let you go and then catch you before you hit the ground. It’s like a drug it makes you feel cool cause your dizzy and laughable, like you just want to laugh a lot and you just want to keep doing it over and over, it’s fun because well there passing out they make funny looking face expressions, so it’s fun to see that. We’ll I’m 19 years old now it’s not good to do that stuff because it kills brain cell. I know better now, but youngsters don’t know they just want to get excited off of passing each other out, well that’s it.

“I have met and cheated death twice”

My story begins with my first battle for life in August -th of the year 197# when I came into this world and soon after into my mother’s arms. I am originally Mexican born, but was raised on the east side of Los Angeles. I came to the south side of California from what was once know as the beautiful city of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) at the young age of two where I then became a street warrior. I had two elder brothers who were no more than strangers in my trials of a young life. However, I had a wonderful loving mother who worked too much and too hard to pay me the undivided attention she would’ve liked to. Not having much homely attention at home, I took to the streets where I learned every crooked trick in the book; as well as how to survive which I have done just fine so far, although I’ve had some reeeeal close encounters. I have met and cheated death twice.

You have to respect death in order to understand life. Death is part of living and will one day come knocking on our door, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. Everyone will one day take that walk with death, everyone! Though some with that ol’ bag of bones sooner than later. In my instance death came at the age of twelve. Death came and left without my company on it’s long journey to the land of the dead, which according to my Mexican indigenous culture is in the underworld known as Mictlan.    I like to imagine death as an attractive, voluptuous spirit woman dressed in the dark clothes of mourning, picking me up at the age of twelve on a street corner headed to Mictlan.    I on the other hand, construct a lie believable enough to keep that ancient woman waiting for me on that East L.A. corner while I flee to leave her standing for eternity, or until she finds another poor fool to take my place. However, it isn’t as easy and it didn’t happen like that. My encounter with death happened on a sunny day of October, 19 . Dressed in my full street warrior regalia I took to the street of East Los Angeles, after a strenuous day of school. I should’ve known something was amiss, now that I think of it. After all those undetected subconscious hints I got from homies, teachers, and girls around school. “Be careful”, they told me “look what happened to Spooky” or “don’t be out on the boulevard too much, it’s hot right now, ese.” One school counselor asked me, “What are you gonna do with your life Dam? Life’s too short to keep doing what you do.    Look at you  you are a walking target with all those tattoos and gang attire. Do you want to end up dead? Or in a wheelchair? Oh, I know: how about doing life in the pen? That’s what you really want, huh?” Boy, was I in for the ride of a lifetime! I found myself on Whittier Blvd. Being the hardest cholo I could be, throwing up gang signs and announcing to everybody in earshot my affiliation to the barrio ——–gang.    Like every superhero has his consort, I couldn’t go without mine. After a while of no activity on Boulevard, I decided to call my “Baby” on a nearby payphone down by the corner on Whittier Blvd. After a short conversation of sweet nothings with my “Baby” a green 85’—(car) materialized full of havoc and chaos in the form of gang members – rival gang members. Hard, murderous looks were exchanged, as well as insults.    Insults not an up and coming courageous cholo can ignore; insults that were blasphemous to the gang protocol; insults I would avenge no matter the consequences – words that almost cost me my life. As the brave, young street warrior I believed to be, I had to react as one. Having neither fire power nor a knife, much less a sling shot, I threw a 40oz beer bottle at my estranged enemy arrivals. My intentions were to provoke these guys enough to make them get off and fight me; or should I say jump me. I was outnumbered two to one, but that didn’t bother me. As long as I’d prove my point and show these intruders they couldn’t just come around my territory without any static, nor even a word said. To my surprise and relief they just kept going. I wasn’t really up to the idea of being severely beat, but I couldn’t lose face, which I didn’t ..It wasn’t too bad a day after all. Yeah, right! My girlfriend advised me to leave and call her from home; she was afraid they might come back. I gave her a macho reply of some sort in disagreement, but she won me over and I left. I didn’t go far though. I guess they had just left to load up, because they came back with intentions to take me out the game for good. As I walked around the corner and up the street, I heard a car motor, I don’t know exactly why, but I remember everything else in slow motion. I turned around and spotted the same car approaching, I noticed the car door was slightly ajar and the passenger sitting shotgun was concealing something from view which I knew to be most likely a gun. My first reaction was to run, however my conscience told me to stay put and ride it out’ this is my neighborhood and I shouldn’t run in my neighborhood. This is where I’m from and nobody’s going to chase me off! Is all I could think about.

Homeboy in the car, for reasons I don’t understand, asked me “where did you say you were from, ese?” After our previous encounter, I told him again I was from the Varrio ——— Gang Anyway, to which he then leveled his gun and fired his first shot, the thunder sound echoed in my ears while I was shocked motionless to the point of not feeling the bullet strike me on the right side of my twelve year old belly. The second deadly slug missed me, but sure as hell snapped me out of my initial shock making me realize this ordeal was way too real to just stand there dumbfounded.    I ran and ducked for cover behind a curve side car, but it wasn’t enough because my rival had just got out his car to finish what he had started. We played a deadly game of “pickle” around the car for some very, very high stakes and I ended up losing. Six shots were fired and five of them were now part of me. After my assailant emptied out the gun’s magazine, He fled the scene, leaving me for dead. I stood up and inspected the damage while walking to my homeboy’s house, not noticing the overall destruction he had caused me. To my knowledge only my left arm was wounded and bleeding. As I took a few steps towards my homeboy’s house my legs gave away and I collapsed to remain there immobile until help came.    People seemed to materialize out of nothingness while I laid there in a battle between life and death, in a haze of confusion and disbelief. I had always heard of things like this happening everyday, but I never thought it would actually happen to me.

 

I was aware of the possibility of it happening to me, of one day being face to face with death. I just didn’t realize how real it could be until I was laying there with death reaching a hand out to me, laying there a bleeding mess. My homeboy “———” and my home girl “——–” made their way up to me with a gun in their grasp ready for war and to annihilate any intruding force. As they noticed who I was and what had happened they asked who they were and which way they had fled. I gave them all the information I could, and sent them on their way telling them to “get them fools for me, dawg! Hit’em hard, ese.”    My homie promised me they would, and told me not to worry, I’ll be around to hear about it and will get my chance to go too. Under the circumstances it was hard to believe. I knew he was as scared as I, and was just boasting about a future that might never be.    Before he left though, I stopped him to tell him to tell my mother “I loved her” and to take care of her. To which he angrily replied, “f@#% that s@#% ese! I’m not doing s@#% you’re going to do that dawg, you’re gonna take care of her and tell her whatever you want, fool!” Meaning I was going to be alright.    He fled and left me to what I believed to my last thought, which were filled with my mother’s hardship and anguish. All I could think about was her anger and hurt at the realization of her baby being fatally hurt. Boy, was she going to be upset! My present situation became distant during those pensive moments filled with thoughts of my precious mother. All I could think about was her and her pain, not mine, but her pain.

The paramedics and cops arrived at the scene moments later – right on time! Everything had begun to go dim, and sounds became distant, sort of like when you get up too quick and experience one of those quick dizzy spells. Although I didn’t feel much pain, I knew I was in grave danger.    My breathing became labored and my body grew tired. The cops and paramedics began to ask questions and began their death fighting techniques. It became a real battle between life and death, where only one would win. This is also where fantasy took place Fantasy? Yeah, lies began to form about the whole ordeal. Green cars became red, two armed gang rivals became one unidentified assailant,’ 5 Buick turned into ’9 Honda —-, eastbound became southbound, etc,..”Why?” you ask; well, simply because that’s the way people in the barrios are raised, and because it is an important rule in the gang culture.    Never snitch people off.    Times might have changed since my incarceration, but I remember the old days when a Mexican mother would scold her young for “telling” on people and their doings. It was a tradition. Protocol. Not to mention the fact that vengeance is in order and one cannot bring vengeance while the perpetrator is behind bars. Cops will sometimes bring justice, but such act of disrespect can only be brought to justice in the proper form by the law of the streets. Police know this fact, but cannot do anything to stop it.    The police at the scene asked their questions and proceeded with their wild goose chase, while I was lifted onto the ambulance.    On my way to the hospital I experience an overwhelming fatigue which my whole being revolved around. All I wanted was to fall into a deep sleep, but the medic guy just wouldn’t allow me to at least close my eyes. He badgered me with annoying questions that I am now grateful for.    We reached the emergency room of the famous East Los Angeles “General Hospital” where USC medical staff prepared me for surgery “Go USC Trojans!” It was chaos in that ER people screaming, yelling, crying and most likely dying. I made it to the operating room where tubes and machines were everywhere. I was strapped on and ready for the ride. Some type of mask was placed over my nose and mouth and I was told to count to ten while some powerful over head light beamed down on me one two three..four five six sev eig   I    passed out and didn’t wake up until the next day or so. What followed was two and a half months of blood tests, x rays and looonng lonely days of hospital life. My mother, my homeboys, and even some girls from around the neighborhood came by frequently, but my life had been touched by that ancient woman who was full of death and sorrow. You would’ve thought I’d change my ways, right? .naw, I was nearly killed a second time by bullets now lodged in my neck and back. One was directly headed either for my spine or throat, and the other one was bound to penetrate my right lung. What’s funny is that you would’ve figured all the hardship would’ve slapped me in the face and woke me into realizing how precious life is. Instead, I am now deprived of my freedom, doing what somebody did to me.

GO TO CHAPTER 5

 

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