Confusion Is One of Your Worst Enemies and How to Beat It - by William Sultzer

First off, I write you from experience of having been in prison myself, and for 7 years running half-way houses for former inmates after they were released. This information is not commonly known, but it is critical for you to understand if you are going to be successful on the outside.

1. What happens to so many paroles is that they experience disappointments--then get discouraged--the discouragement leads to confusion--and confusion leads to depression.

2. Everyone experiences disappointment after being released from prison. You will experience disappointment in yourself, in others, with job interviews, from rejection, from unfulfilled expectations, and from wanting things to happen faster, to name a few.

3. The Reasons to go slow: People make hundreds and hundreds of decisions every day; whether right or wrong, they are making them. But when you're first out of prison, you can't do it. None of us can. And it has nothing to do with being stupid. While in prison, we only get to make about 20 decisions in a day, things like whether to brush our teeth before or after breakfast! We are simply not used to making decisions yet and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and not even know why. This is critically important to remember.

4. If you are not aware of this decision-making syndrome, you can easily get disappointed with yourself and get discouraged in a short while, not knowing what is wrong with you. And in actual fact NOTHING is wrong with you. It is common to all ex-offenders. But if your discouragement isn't turned around soon, it leads to confusion. It's not anyone's fault, but family and friends expect you to pick up where you left off, making 200+ decisions every day. And it just isn't going to happen instantly.

5. So what is the answer? The Number ONE most important thing is to find someone you trust that you can talk to as soon as you get out of prison. As you are talking out loud to someone on a daily basis, you start answering your own questions and plans are formed with the other person's help. Decisions are made, both big and small.

6. Always remember--A PLAN DISSOLVES CONFUSION! You have to keep yourself from becoming confused, because confusion always comes before depression. Depression will rob you of any motivation. You will not even care what happens but you will remember the street drugs that used to make you feel better. But if you take drugs to come out of depression, it only creates more confusion, and then maybe even parole trouble.

7. Finding someone you can really trust to talk everything over with is not easy. You need to choose someone who truly cares. Someone of the SAME SEX who will really listen. Someone who will not condemn you if you say something wrong. Someone who can offer advice without preaching.

This someone will help you make a plan: where/how to find a place to live--where to get clothes--how to obtain I.D., SS#, Cell phone, job or SSI. And if you can get on SSI, find a place to volunteer your time. You need to make sure you have no idle time--and little to no TV time.

8. And most importantly, give up trying to do it all yourself. STOP trying to pull yourself up with your own boot straps! Ask Jesus to help. God does not help those who help themselves, but He does help those who ask Him. YOU JUST HAVE TO ASK HIM! He is an ever present help in time of need.

Psalm 146:7 Prison Ministries, PO Box 7175, Buena Park, CA 90622