Our thoughts create our feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. Because of this it is important that we pay close attention to our thought life.
Growing up I had an addict for a mother and stepfather and was severely neglected. I began to think I was unloved because all of their attention was on drugs. I was eventually sent to my father’s house who I hardly ever seen except every once in a while, on the weekends and this was only if he had money to give my man. This made me feel cheap, worthless, and unwanted by my own mother.
The neglect continued with my stepmom when I was sent to my fathers. It actually got worse because I was verbally and emotionally abused on top of the neglect. My dad and stepmom would both belittle me, and my stepmom would not allow me to play or hang out with my sisters. All of this, from my mom to my dad’s cemented these core beliefs about myself that would last for decades, that no one cared for me, that I was worthless and unloved.
I began to cope with it all by looking to drugs and gangs. The drugs numbed feelings _and the gang gave more I acted out the more esteem I got from peers. This went on for years until I was sentenced to life in prison for almost killing another gangmember. I felt hopeless with life in prison. I thought I would never get out; I would actually tell people I was sent here to die. I blamed everyone else for my defects of character. I was in such denial that I didn’t even think I was a gangmember. It was a miserable state of mind to live in. I cared for no one or nothing because I didn’t care for myself.
In 2014 1 found hope through another person when I was told that lifers can get out of prison, but they have to change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I realized then that I was not an island. This was huge for me because it began to check all my thoughts and beliefs that I was sent here to die, and I began to look to the future with hope. All my behaviors changed when I finally believed I could get out of prison. That I don’t have to die in here. I quit looking to drugs to numb my feelings and I left the gang behind. I began to affirm myself rather than let others say who and what T was. I began to care for myself and in turn I began to care for others by sharing the hope I had found and how they could get it too. This was important to me because of the radical transformation it had on my life. All because my thought life changed. I went from thinking I was worthless and sent here to die, to the fact that I am priceless and will get out of prison.

I am proud to say that In November of 2018 1 went in front of the parole board and was found suitable for parole. It was a testament to what I have to say here. That our thought life is important to pay attention to. Our thoughts will lead us into destruction or productivity. The decision is yours.

By: Dustin Jeffries