Page 1

Giving a Voice to the Therapeutic Community

The Writer’s Choice

$2.95 |Spring 2018 |

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 1

4/8/18 7:10 PM

What If ? By Jose Feliciano Williams But what if, I was blessed with a vision like no other? What if, I prayed for the creator to guide me and bless me with those visions; to see things and become a part of the world like Noah? But what if, I knew the real truth on how we got here and why we are really here? But what if, all my life no matter what I do or did I always believed in the creator of the heavens and the Earths (Planets). But what if, I knew the true answer to the streets of gold? But what if, I was gifted with the visions in which I have been receiving to create and lead as a leader should. But what if, I let out too much knowledge within the vision I have been blessed to keep? Will I continue to go through persecution? But what if, I told the readers I am “He?” “He” who has been bound in confinement for 36 years. I am not Christ, nor God, nor the master, but “He.” I am “He” who was blessed with the things that I asked to be commanded to by prayer. But what if, I could show you the beginning and the ending through visions? Some of your world readers would say impossible. But, not taking heed that possibilities are thoughts created through the mind. But what if….


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 2

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Table Of Contents What If… By Jose Feliciano Williams............................................................................................................... 2 The Don of a New Era by Don Gotti III........................................................................................................... 5 The Scales of Justice: Education before Extinction by Franklin Junior............................................................... 6 The Voice of a Black Man by Douglas L. Washington, Jr................................................................................... 8 What I Wouldn’t Give by Early Muhammed..................................................................................................... 9 Motivation by Michael McKinney................................................................................................................... 10 Solitary Confinement Must be Abolished by Kabasha Griffith El.................................................................... 10 Make Examples, Not Excuses! By Anthony Billings......................................................................................... 12 Covered in Flames by Tyrell Benson................................................................................................................ 14 Forever I by Mykel Eads.................................................................................................................................. 16 You Are Not Alone by Lester Brown................................................................................................................ 17 Second Thoughts by Dennis Mintun............................................................................................................... 18 A Father’s Pain by G. Wahid............................................................................................................................ 19 Love Pang by James C. Fudge.......................................................................................................................... 21 Reality by Mykel Eads..................................................................................................................................... 22 Are You A Sex Offender? By Anonymous........................................................................................................ 23 Tradition by S.Gordon.................................................................................................................................... 26 When Bullying Kills by Julie Guirgis............................................................................................................... 27 Man Up! By Nick Seriganis............................................................................................................................. 29 Trusting by Michael McKinney....................................................................................................................... 31

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 3

3 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Letter from the Publisher Spring 2018 Hello and Good Day, This is my third issue dedicated to the Writer’s Choice. In this issue, my writers have the opportunity to choose their own topics. There are some first time writers and some veteran writers, who share their thoughts on prison, our current administration, education and more. To my first time writers, welcome and thank you for opening up to Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. We hope you will continue to share and speak from your heart. To my veteran writers, keep it coming. You all inspire me to continue to honor the voices from all communities. New topics coming out this year and through early 2019 will include: Youth and Crime, Leaving the Streets Behind, The Good News About My Recovery, Parenting, Scream, and Honoring Our Elders. If you have already contributed an article for these topics, thank you. If you have not, the deadline has already passed and you should contact me at the end of this year for new topics. Blessings to all who write for and read Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. Sincerely, Robin Graham Robin Graham Founder/Publisher


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 4

4/8/18 7:10 PM

The Don of a New Era! By Don Gotti III I open up this petition for peace with all love and respect. This is a petition I ask the whole United States of America to consider. All races, genders, and nationalities. Here I stand an African American man; a proud member of a glorious organization and movement that has been misunderstood. I’m a Black Disciple. I state who, and what I am, so you will know. I know the true meaning of Divide and Conquer. I know we don’t want to see Barack and Michelle Obama leave the Whitehouse, what we now refer to as the “People’s House.” But this is the first lesson we learn in life. Time and life moves on. This is our “Don of a New Era! The question is not what the new President Donald Trump will do to, or for America. But what will (we) as a whole, as true Americans do for our Country. Did we forget how the laws were made? Did we forget to come together as a community of people and propose certain bills to senators, and Congress to pass? If you look at the news, radio stations, and magazines, America looks like a third world country. There have been a lot of riots, and mayhem in our streets. I understand you must fight and stand up for something, or you will fall for anything. We the people are what will make our country the United States great again. We the people are the one’s who guide our country leaders on how to manage and run our Country. Our actions, or inactions dictate our future. So who will be our Country’s next great leaders, will it be the next scientist to invent a medicine that saves hundreds of thousands of lives? The philanthropist

who motivates and inspires thousands of African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, Latinos, Jamaicans, Mexicans and Indians, etc. to come together as one? We need the next person to actually stand for on his/ her own beliefs and morals while fighting for the needy, and the disabled. We need new righteous Supreme Court Judges and District Court Judges. We need more righteous doctors, lawyers, Attorney Generals, and public defenders who will make fair, just decisions. In this Don of a New Era, we are looking for Albert Einsteins, Abraham Lincolns, Martin Luther King, Jr.s’, Marcus Garveys’, Hillary Clintons, and Michele Obamas. We need more Barack Obamas! And the simple truth is this; we need more Donald Trumps’, if not for nothing else but to open our eyes and get us off the couch. If you feel like you have been bamboozled, or hoodwinked, if you want a say in how we govern, you must let your place where you stand be known. Make it felt! You must let your voice be heard. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s strength was in his conviction that he had “been to the mountain top.” Jesus Christ and his Disciples strength was in their faith in God. We must be true Americans, not individuals whose whole thought process is manipulated by jealousy, envy, greed, and hatred. But a people of one. A nation who stands as one, who stands for honor, respect, and loyalty. We must stand in this new era, as true Americans to make this our Country. And to do as the Republicans profess and help them make our Country Great Again!!! G-note: Together we stand, divided we fall.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 5

5 4/8/18 7:10 PM

The Scales of Justice: Education before Extinction By Franklin Junior It’s said that “the heart is the seat of the soul.” When I think of what’s closest to my heart, my heart begins to ache. I think of the current state of the world, more importantly the many cultures of people who are suffering from atrocities such as gang violence, rape, genocide, systematic plots, hunger, disease, and poverty. Here, the children’s education is not a top priority. Don’t get me wrong, my own children, mom and the rest of my family are close to my heart also. If I don’t care about these atrocities there will be no future for my children to look forward to. Being a man who has been around the block more times than I should have been, I know education is the key factor for a life worth living. It’s the only way we will overcome this economical mountain that surrounds us, IN THE


VALLEY OF DRY BONES. Through Spotlight on Recovery, I’m looking to always recover and redeem myself. We are in control over our own destiny so if we want these atrocities to stop and help deliver a true-education for our youth we must do it ourselves. By sitting back waiting for the system to fix itself, our youths as a whole will be destined to fail. I had to change my way of thinking to stop this by helping. It’s sad, I’m afraid to look at the news to see someone I know shot dead or killed by a cop. Being nervous when I talk to someone from home in fear of someone in my family dying. These are the fears I face in my everyday life. I made a decision I have to do

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 6

4/8/18 7:10 PM

something about it, so here I write, expressing my heart and thoughts, hoping it reaches at least one. I can’t do it alone, I need your help. If you care for your family, culture, or are thankful for your family and ancestors then take a stand with me. Let’s fight the forces that close down 10 schools, but spends 100 million to build and open a prisons in Pennsylvania as well as other states. I’m looking at the world through these children’s eyes and their parent’s eyes. Why are schools being shut down and desegregation laws taking place that effect mostly inner-city kids. Now our children can only go to certain schools because of zoning policies.

even though I knew better and was taught better by my mom, family, friends and mentors yet and still I continued in the environment. Sadness is trying to overtake me as I write and reflect on my life. Now all I want to do is inspire someone somewhere to take a stand against obstacles in the way of our youth no matter the background. Again, we know how easy it is for the youth to get off track and on the one to a collision course of life.

I call for all concerned humans not to just express your concerns and opinions but solutions, and encouragements to the youth affected. This is a social call to act, to look into your hearts and truly tell me if this is right or wrong. Therefore, from a cell I scream at There are several reasons why a nation begins this process the top of my lungs! You pay executives, and politicians of decline. The main reason is because it has abandoned millions of dollars but they can’t budget the state or its belief and commitment to the “Supreme Being.” government’s funds for education so schools close down When this happens, the values and norm of a society and prison yards open up. Who do you think will be changes, the moral life of society is gone as a whole. the occupants of these prisons? Those that didn’t get a To show no support for the unfortunate not born in a proper education that’s who. middle or upper class family is not their fault. Therefore, why treat them as such. Where is the nobility? Is it these Education; the lack thereof has a lot to do with crimes laws that cause desegregation of schools and closing and criminal lifestyles. I refuse to let this take place them down? without trying to help out our future youth. It was written in the Arkansas Gazette, “Out of 1,500 students are being affected by the closing of schools in their state due to state budget cuts, 976 of those are black, Latino, or non-white.’ This is almost 80% of the students. These are the same laws applied during Jim Crow in the 60’s in the South. The case of equality is being preached by the same people who passed these laws. This is an injustice no doubt, a real sobering moment for me. All the things I’ve done in my life that was stupid and wrong, not taking advantage of the opportunities I had in life, this is making me bend my neck in submission to force a calling greater than myself or any one individual. I will do all I can to contribute large or small no matter if the majority of the world understands or not. This is my duty as a human being because I look at this as an act against humanity.

This is what my heart desires because extinction through un-educated people leads to mass incarceration before extinction of those people. A little extreme, yeah, maybe for some, but not me. I have to look at it like this because of my yesterday’s life. I was an extremist in my folly, so now I will be an extremist in my righteousness. I was a nobody who thought he was a somebody, a deadbeat, a prisoner, criminal, lonely, confused, hated by many. Not now because tomorrow I have a chance to be a winner in life, a man, someone many love. Never give up because today seems hopeless. Tomorrow is another chance to get it right. “Injustice should not be allowed to frustrate the divine purpose for mankind, which is essentially the establishment of justice on earth.”

This sobering time for someone who has been given many alias’, murderer, marked man, pimp, just to name a few names during a time when my life reflected that

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 7

7 4/8/18 7:10 PM

The Voice of a Black Man By Douglas L. Washington, Jr. In life there are many trials in a male’s life. The biggest trial is becoming a man. Being a productive and positive role model for his son, as well as being a provider, a foundation, a cornerstone, a backbone, that rock for his wife and family.

let’s start with the dude in the mirror. Yea, so what you had it fairly rough. They say you can find a diamond in the rough, and guess what? The most beautiful thing is we have a choice. Try living in a country where there is civil warfare or a communist government system. Excuses, self-pity, and idleness will not be accepted by A male especially the African American has to society. You hold the power to either build or destroy encounter many obstacles in life, the biggest by far is your life and the life of others around you. the dude in the mirror. Drugs, fornication and violence is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait! Hold Up! I must Elijah McCoy, Booker T. Washington, and mention pride and ego, wanting to be “the man” instead George Washington Carver had no excuses, self-pity of a man. This self destructive mentality leads us to one and were most definitely not idle. They were great and or two places, prison or an early death, for some or intelligent men who never accepted failure or the easy both. way out. In the era they achieved their accomplishments. They blamed nor hated no man, they just strived to One aspect of being a man is never accepting achieve. In our era, Barack Obama and Eric Holder failure as the easy way out. Selling poison to our own made it from the bottom to platforms where their voice people, destroying our communities, with the excuse can be heard and respected, as well as make changes to “this is all I know.” No! correction this is unacceptable help the growth of our people and communities. Two because it is all you want to know. A man seeks out great African American achievers of our time that we an education with positive aspirations. Only “self ” is to need more of. All the above mentioned had a lot in blame for current and future misfortune, because each common but the most over-looked, that took them to of us has a choice, to either build or destroy our lives no the top, they never accepted failure or the easy way out. matter how the deck is stacked against us. The streets and prison or education and success, the easy way out The lack of education, no civilities, and the lack is the streets, which shows your acceptance to failure, a of drive to expand the mental capacity has to change prison sentence, and a strong possibility of death. to be successful in our modern society. The ultimate struggle and obstacles come from within, “self.” You The streets and prison take us away from our must accept the reality of any current situation and the duties to our community, family, and household. We thing we have no control over to change and use it like a leave our women to take on both roles of the household, platform to springboard into success as your inspiration. as single mothers. We add extra burdens to the mix, stress, worry and anxiety for the people who truly love My questions to you are: and care about our well being. Running from and not accepting our responsibilities makes us cowards. A Who are you going to let stand in your way? man stands up and becomes an asset to his family and community. Being a respected symbol of hope instead Who is going to break the cycle of ignorance? of a menace to society is a real man’s aim. Having set goals, ambition and the will to go up against all odds. Who is going to break the cycle of poverty?


Who can we blame? Now don’t point fingers,

Who is going to awaken themselves and

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 8

4/8/18 7:10 PM

step away from the destructive ideology to become a significant member of society?

Man up and let it be you!!!

What I Wouldn’t Give By Early Muhammad I wouldn’t give toher have a HerI had soul-mate Sharon What Ray had just taken Sharon. “I am thankful that cry on mycrash. shoulder friend. seatbelt woman off before the an athletic past. I think thatHer past After Ithink have eased herwhy suffering Many might this is she really toughened me up a little Mended her broken heart What I for wouldn’t give to kneel at a woman’s feet, was injured so badly, but the and I am thankful that.” her spirits Revering the womb that bore my children truth is, theAnd car lifted was completely her with divine intention. smashed flat where she had been Throughout this Respecting experience, What I wouldn’t give to hold a woman’s hand sitting. She would have been Sharon gained more respect for As we prayed together for God to forgive our sins What I wouldn’t give to be at home with a woman killed instantly if her son hadn’t her husband and children. She Increase our faith Paying the bills, raising the children asked her to get his game when realized her husband was capable And clear our vision Without a child support order or paternity testing he did. of taking care of many things all Obligating me to take care of my family. by himself. She often feels she What I wouldn’t give to rub the Sharon swollen exclaims, “He saved hasn’t given him enough abdomen of a woman, What Icredit. wouldn’t give to give a my life! I wouldn’t be here if I Even more importantly, Sharon Feeling the life seed inside of her body woman more than myself. hadn’t moved when I did. I’m is thankful for her children and That is destined to be born. Because it was a woman that gave me life an advocate for seatbelts, but attributes much recovery And itofisher through woman that I perpetuate life. our What accident involved I wouldn’t give flipping. to have a woman to them. I believePeel I have given a past, awaybeen the pain of my What I wouldn’t give to the Eve And heal what man say couldn’t be healed. thatany God created to help me second chance.” “They’ve never cut me that when she helped me, slack,” she saysUnderstanding jokingly. “They go have a woman,expect andEverything theIuniverse was already helping her. TheWhat otherI wouldn’t miracle give is that, against demand in that be Call me her man, all odds, she is walking. ‘supermom’ no matter what the Her husband “I really shouldn’t be,” said circumstances.”

Advertising Rates Subscriptions: Inside/Outside Cover- $300.00 $25 for 1 year 40 for two Fullyears page

- $200.00 B/W Half Page page - $125.00 1/4 Page - $75.00 Business Card - $55.00

Bulk orders are 12 copies $30.00 20 copies are $50.00 30 copies are $60.00 50 copies $125.00 To are advertise

in Spotlight contact Robin Graham at 347-831-9373 Add $5.95 for shipping and handling of all bulk orders Spring 2018


Dec 08 - Hope | 51 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 9

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Motivation By Michael McKinney Meaning the act of motivating motivation is something I get from the good and the bad. I learned right here in prison how to get motivation from the things I dislike, as well as the things I like. My motivation has always kept me going.

my survival manual, and the book called Prayer by Mohandas K. Gandhi.

I now have motivation to study the Handbook for Writers in Prison. I am also motivated to study a meditation manual for prisoners called Doing Your Prison has been one of my biggest motivator Time with a Peace of Mind and another manual called ever. Some times I can’t help but love the fact of being Self Development in the Penitentiary. The Founder in prison because being in prison is like having your of The Spotlight on Recovery Magazine, Ms. Robin back up against the wall. It is going to bring the best out Graham motivates me when she sent a letters that of you or it is going to bring the worst out of you. thanked me for my article in the Bonus Round issue. She stated to me that my article was well written and Now I’ve learned to not be so angry about a great piece to help others who have similar journeys. having a life time in prison because I can use this same life time I have in prison to find my true self. Everything That gives me so much great motivation when I hear starts with self, and that is the kind of motivation that is words like that coming from Ms. Robin Graham. To me always needed throughout the whole prison system. she always gave me so much motivation that just when I am in thought of writing an article to the Spotlight on Motivation is the key to doing time and not Recovery Magazine . letting time do me. Staying prayed up gives me that everlasting motivation and being locked down like this I thank God for all the motivation! give me motivation to study my dictionary, the Bible,

Solitary Confinement Must be Abolished By K. Kabasha Griffin-EL I imagine that it must be difficult for those that haven’t actually experienced it, to understand the ills of solitary confinement. I’ve endured it, so I know that it’s a cold, cruel, inhumane, and torturous methodology that must be abolished. It directly assaults the very being of men and women, often creating mental illness in those victimized by the callous—if not sadistic—practice. It had that horrible effect upon my younger brother, Jerome Griffin. I had the experience of witnessing what has become of my brother as a direct result of solitary confinement, it compels me to use my words to expose the terrible consequences of that dehumanizing practice, as it’s used deep within the dark, hopeless hideaways of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections (PDOC).


It took several months of diplomacy—making my request to visit with my brother known to a Psychologist, Counselors, Lieutenants, Captains, a Major, and Deputy Superintendent. I found myself super excited, anxious, and even a bit worried once authorization was granted. I didn’t know what to expect next. I wondered how my brother would respond to me, if he would be angry for my absence from his life. I just wanted things to go well, so I did my best to prepare for the big day. Soon it was painfully apparent that there was no way to prepare for our time together. No more so than a person could prepare to drown. Once I entered that room, I was in too deep. I chocked, and

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 10

4/8/18 7:10 PM

gasped on every sight, on every scent, and nearly every – the first time that I had heard his voice in at least word beyond his initial, “Hi brother… Hi brother.” twenty-three years. Immediately, I knew something was wrong…his words although beautiful, sounded as if You see, on the morning of March 20, 2014, they were flowing from the lips of a young child. But at approximately 9 a.m., I experienced …endured… this was a “grown man,” speaking through extremely and survived one of the most difficult emotional dry, flaky, painful looking scaly lips. Politely, I returned bombardments of my life. Until that time, I hadn’t seen his greeting, but I didn’t recognize him… standing my younger brother Jerome, for approximately twenty- there with his would be afro, that was nothing more three years. At this point, I’m three months shy of my than mounds of foul smelling , filthy matted hair. His nineteenth year of my own imprisonment. So although face too was full of wiry patches of hair, un-kept, and “warned “ by prison personnel, that it might be a very merely sprouting from his face like wild weeds. The difficult experience – seeing my brother in his present huge smile on his face revealed at least three missing state of mind – I thought that there was nothing that upper teeth, dead-center of his mouth. His bottom would be too much for me to handle, but it nearly teeth were obviously rotting away. The rotting ones was…too much for me to handle. slightly darker than the other orangey, yellowish brown, darkly stained teeth that survived whatever happened As I entered the room, smiling on the opposite through the years. side, a frail, hairy man stood wearing a bright orange jump suit with a thick, brown leather belt wrapping I recall the fleeting thought that perhaps I was his waist. A large metal loop attached to the front was in the wrong room… “This brotha couldn’t be my somehow connected to his handcuffs that securely brother,” but he was. As our conversation continued, clutched his wrists, locking his hands in front of him, I quickly realized my brother wasn’t all there, but he right at his lower stomach. A customized cage separated wasn’t all gone either. He remembered much from our us, splitting the room horizontally, evenly cutting across childhood, (the names of neighbors, family members a table of sorts that was off to the left side of the room. and childhood friends). It was apparent that he had A single dirty beige plastic chair sat on each side of consumed and digested much from books, letters, and the dimly lit…depressing hole in the wall. There was stories that others had shared with him through the a small cutout in the cage (likely used by Attorneys to years. Like a mental alchemist, he mixed each of those pass legal documents through during legal visits). “ Hi experiences with his imagination, creating his very brother! Hi brother!” Those were his first words to me own version of reality. He spoke of his Chinese wife

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 11

11 4/8/18 7:10 PM

and child – a wife and child he never had. He spoke of his expensive clothing, houses, and cars he never had. He spoke of his days in the Marine Corps, which was another impossibility since I was the one that served in the Marine Corps, and he (now at age forty-one) has been in some form of lock up since the age of thirteen. The terrible truth is that for the pass twenty-two years, Jerome has been subjected to the agonizing cruelties of solitary confinement—kept locked in a prison cell for at least twenty-three hours each day… Seeing my brother in his present state of mind…I wanted to run out of that room. I wanted to scream and yell, “WHAT HAVE Y’ALL DONE TO MY BROTHER?” I wanted to destroy something. I wanted to tear down that cage between us, grab my brother and run out of that hellish place. Yet, I knew that wasn’t possible. I resisted the urge to correct his fantasies. I didn’t dare tell him that he was never married, that he had no children, and that he never owned a house or a car. I fought back tears; choked on my emotions, and nearly gagged on the stench of his body. Outwardly I remained calm, strenuously hiding my outrage…my pain, until he started muttering, trying to seemingly out of nowhere, he cried out, “Oh my God, Jesus f---ing Christ.” It happened a few times as if he had Tourette’s Syndrome. The storm of emotions that I fought so


desperately to suppress, swelled in my chest, rose up and before I could catch myself, escaped my lips as a whimper. Rationally, I was fully aware of the appalling truth that what I was experiencing (the joyous moments, pain, anguish, outrage), all of it was due to grace. No one had to allow my brother and I to visit with one another. My request could have been denied. Fortunately for us, on that day we were graciously granted two hours to express our loving concern for one another. I spoke with my brother, hopeful that he could fully understand as I opened my heart saying, “I love you brother. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there to support you earlier.” “It’s all right. It’s all right. I’m fine. I’m fine. It’s about me and you. I’m happy. I’m just happy.” Those words rushed out of his mouth as if they were prepared in advance and waiting on the tip of his tongue. We were locked in each other’s eyes at that time, and nearly throughout the entire visit. He watched my every move, just as I watched his. Before we parted – just as I had done several times during the visit – I reached through that small cutout in the cage. “Let me touch you brother.” Once more he smiled at my request, leapt to his feet, and did his best to shove his bound hands in my direction. Reaching further in, I grabbed his hands, and held them.

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 12

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Make Examples, Not Excuses! By Anthony Billings There’s been an issue that I have been wanting to sorry for myself and thought that I should just be given talk about for a long time now. It is becoming rampant everything I wanted in life. But then I grew up. and I’m convinced that it’s contagious. I’m going to call it the “Give Me Complex.” To be honest, I think that’s a big part of growing up. You come to realize that the world does not owe Let me give you an example. Just the other day I you anything, and that if you want something in life, was talking to someone who was interested in becoming then you have to earn it. Because, when you make a a published poet. I read some of his poetry and was very habit of earning what you want in life that false sense of impressed so I told him the best way I personally know, entitlement transforms into a sense of accomplishment. to get his writing out there in the world. Of course, it involved him putting forth time and physical effort in You want to know why this Give Me Complex order to get that done. He didn’t like the idea and said, makes me want to yell out? It’s because of people like “what’s the easy way?” Stephen Hawking. Even he is almost partially paralyzed from Lou Gehrig’s disease, he does not just expect Are you kidding me? There has to be an easy things to be given to him. He has authored books. He way for you to get something done? Good thing it has appeared at many charity events. He travels and does not take a concentrated effort to breathe oxygen teaches around the world. He has been the focus of because otherwise this guy would probably be in a lot documentaries and movies. He is probably five times of trouble. smarter than I am. He has accomplished all this, even though he is severely disabled. I have another example for you. This one happened a couple of months ago. Someone asked me This man did not make excuses in life. There how I stay in real good physical shape. So I told him, are many others among us who are at some sort of exercising on a daily basis and eating healthy food is the disadvantage in life like him and yet they don’t make key. This guy seemed about as interested in that idea as excuses. They make examples of what the rest of us a great white shark would be in becoming a vegetarian. should be doing. I can’t help but be inspired when I see determination like that. His next question was, “can’t I just take some amino pills and get buff that way?” I wanted to tell So don’t be a part of the population that feels him, “yeah, as long as you take amino pills and drink a weak and discouraged when times get rough. Because protein shake then you will get buff, even if you sit on you are what you feel. So now is the time to feel strong your behind all day,” but I was afraid he would take it and able. literally. So stand with me today to yell and scream, Two examples of what I call the “Give Me “Make Examples, Not Excuses!” And while we’re at it, Complex.” Some people are so used to having things since we are yelling already, let us give a shout out to the given to them that they forget how to earn them. one’s in life that give us reasons to be inspired and the strength to persevere. Has there ever been a point in your adult life when you felt the same way? I know there was for me. I used to have a huge sense of entitlement. I felt so

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 13

13 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Covered in Flames By Tyrell Benson Fire blazing, I’m choking, lungs bombarded with smoke; Walls close as the sun fades, I’m close to losing hope. Would love to say I have visual fantasies of a united people; Living in a conquered land with our enemies as equals. Who am I kidding? Got to be real as blood spills because of deep rooted anger; On the nightly news, the cop kills then says his life was in danger. A black mass united together; fighting for a life pass or just some greener grass. The other side is too far away; crippled minds and broken souls are the ingredients of the day.


Pain is consistent as the struggle takes its toll To survive what else is there to do but stop, drop, and roll. Smoke is getting thicker and the flames are getting hotter; An entire generation of children is begging for some water. Coast to coast we roast; While behind closed doors you hear the cling from a celebratory toast. Ashes left in the rubble, blown away by the wind We constantly fighting, holding out hope just to see the sun again. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide One tear drop falls for my people Buried alive by institutional Genocide.

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 14

4/8/18 7:10 PM

For over two decades, ​Ask​ the ​Workplace Doctors​, the site developed by William I. Gorden, Ph.D., of ​Kent State University​, School of Communication Studies, has been a ​workplace​ communications resource for thousands of people from around the world.This is a ​FREE resource to help you find solutions to workplace communication problems. ​Your name and email will not appear in our posted answer. An immediate response will be sent you via your email as soon as possible–usually within two days. If you scan our recent posted Q&A and Archives, you will see that all submitted questions are anonymous. Readers of Spotlight are invited to submit questions.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 15

15 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Forever I By Mykel Eads I missed your phone call, I was detoxing That’s a horrible excuse I know But it is the truth, I miss you man I swear I never meant to diss you man Now I’m sitting in a cell reminiscing It’s like I’m detoxing all over again But there is nothing to get you out of my system Flesh and blood, Forever I miss you! Beating myself up, man I’m stuck I swear Forever I Love You I never thought I’d wake up to her screaming your name Ever since that night nothing has been the same Forever I never forget that what you did was stupid But I hold no grudge Who am I to judge? But Forever I Hurt Every now and again I get a little loopy But I have to stop and think of my devotees And the little ones closest to me. Life. Inside your darkness I found light. Life. Forever I Thank You. From throwing the football across the yard When I was a kid to big red trucks Dirt roads and long talks Yeah, forever I remember the good old days I wish I could go back and bring you back But I can’t so Forever I Miss you Forever I Love you Forever I will never forget you


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 16

4/8/18 7:10 PM

You are Not Alone By Lester Brown As you fight your daily struggles and problems that seem to be overwhelming in the course of holding you back and holding you down, to you I say hold your head up and remain strong. Feel assured in your mind, heart and soul, know that you are not alone. Even when it seems all hope Is gone stand firm and hold on, for you are not alone. No matter how many storms may rage their way in and out of your life continue to hold fast and hold on tight To that mustard seed size of faith. And always keep your spiritual ears open to these comforting words coming from a heart- warming voice within telling you to be encouraged and just know you are not alone. Sometimes life and its test may seem unfair, seem difficult, and seem complicated Do not give up, nor give in because from the first day of your creation, you were called good. In those words alone, you should know you are not alone. As the firm believer I am now I say to you my friends Keep the words of this song in your heart “You Are Not Alone.�

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 17

17 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Second Thoughts By Dennis Mintun I never want to grow up. On second thought, being an adult does have its perks I never want to go steady. On second thought, it’s nice to have a partner to count on. I never want to get married. On second thought, there’s much to be said for wedded bliss. I never want to have kids. On second thought, nothing beats the sight of a newborn baby. I never want to grow old. On second thought, wisdom and experience have their advantages. All my life has been ruled by second thoughts. But, without them…. I’d know the pleasures of being childlike; But not the joys and learning that maturity can bring. I’d be relaxed alone, in my solitude. But never have the fun of going on a date with one I enjoy. I’d enjoy the parties of the single life. But would not have the comfort of wedded bliss; of true love. I’d have peace around the house; But not know the feeling of a warm embrace from a loving son. As for growing old, I suppose it wasn’t really a second thought. As if I had a choice in the matter. It just happened – in a second, or so it seems. Looking back now, though, it’s plain to see… It was the second thoughts That made every second of my life worthwhile.


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 18

4/8/18 7:10 PM

A Father’s Pain By G. Wahid Your choices and decisions all have a trickledown effect. As I made moves blind to this fact, I hurt the ones I love most and lost so much precious time in their lives. I went through so much agony and pain having to live with the fact that the very thing I didn’t want to be and happen, happened and it all seemed so wrong! Growing up my mama and pops had called it quits when I was a little boy. Pops use to be a big-time dealer in his street days when him and my mama was together. Pops had a control problem and my mama did too, so she wasn’t with all the petty games men play while running the streets. She spoke her mind, which the truth cut deep and my pops couldn’t stand it so he lashed out and beat my mama like a guy in the streets. Mama fought back hard. I had to witness these things as a young child and I use to try to help my mama and my pops would get mad and push me down and call me a punk. So, you know I grew up angry with my pops for the disappointments, the absence, the abuse and most of all the lack of support I needed from him. I vowed that I would be there for my children, to raise them right and never leave them like my pops did me. I wanted to raise mine up in the way they would go and let them know that I’m in their corner 110%. Being a husband and father was a tangible dream that I held dear to my heart when all others seemed to fail. I remember, I wanted two daughters and two sons, a nice house and a few cars as well as a successful career. My wife was to be a Goddess, so beautiful and unique. I was going to love her and only her. I was going to give her all the things I could to ensure her happiness. We were going to die together in this life and find each other and do it all over in the next.

someone, you put them first and you think of all that love has bound you to before you make life changing decisions, before you take any chances I ask you for the sake of love, if you would always consider the loss of love while you do what you do. My dream was realized yet taken away. I left four children and a wife on their own because of my mistakes. I brought into my marriage my son and my wife brought a beautiful daughter. I raised her daughter like my own. She was only 9 months when I came into her life and we both fell in love with each other. I always wanted a daughter, and was blessed with my first one. She was my “Little Class” as I would call her and she knew I had her back. I took good care of her and made sure she knew I loved her. I never made her feel less important or less special. She had my love and loyalty and nothing could take that away. My wife conceived two more children with me. I got a chance to see my son being born and we had seven months together before my incarceration separated us. At the time of my departure, my wife was five months pregnant with our daughter, so I never got a chance to be there while she was a baby. The very thing I always wanted which came of my blood, was stripped from me as I turned to travel another road. What can make a man cry and release some of the most devastating wails, as he sits in his cell heartbroken, frail from constant hell of not being there for the ones he truly cares for, scared hoping he will get back and still be able to connect to the hearts and souls of his flesh. He gives his best daily constructively using his time cultivating his mind in order to further refine all of the errors behind, visualizing the day when all things reach completion and love has come to meet him again.

I come to believe that family and the way of love is all that really matters. That bond and that unity can take you to forever. I cried many times for the absence of my wife and children. I suffered many days and “Progeny”: nights because of my selfish ways. I want America and “OUT OF SUFFERING HAVE EMERGED THE every country in the world to know that when you love STRONGEST SOULS, THE MOST

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 19

19 4/8/18 7:10 PM

MASSIVE CHARACTERS ARE SEARED WITH SCARS.” Kahlil Gibran The aura of my progeny is so captivating, Cute as they wanna be with a warm smile, making a mess, having fun, just being a child. I like to pay attention when they think I’m not. Because those moments give or take are so amazing. It kills me when I’m not around and have to keep them waiting, missing them every second when I’m gone away, Thinking and planning on our future together striving to make a better way. Every time I see their faces, I rise to the best in me, they are my motivation. Mya, Mina, Gio, and Jr., the greatest gifts to my world. I thank their mothers most importantly,

you brought reality to my once dream-world, I’m building daily staying focus on the free-world, I did it all for us my Progeny, because truly your love is the recipe.

I have enjoyed every chance I’ve gotten to reconnect with my children, whether by phone, visits, pictures or hearing about them through others. I asked God to keep me forever in their hearts and minds knowing that they have a father who loves them unconditionally and awaits for all that will be when we meet again.

Until then, I’m patient, educating myself so I can feed them all of the knowledge I have and what they may need to help them grow. I LOVE YOU and can’t wait to show you life as we continue to grow closer together.

This issue of Spotlight on Recovery has been designed by:

design 20

Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 20

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Love Pang By James C. Fudge A Love Pang did exist with mother water, glory, mercy and bliss Take a moment of time to envision this When God our Heavenly Father began to create living things He placed within us all, A love crazy pang. Every bird of the air, every creature of the sea Every cattle on land Including you and me. Most mothers I’ve have known Voices have said, “childbearing is a woman’s job.” The love pangs pushing pass the crown and shoulders being the hardest part. But that bright warm shiny July day My one and only begotten daughter was born I wanted to provide, protect and give her my all As I held her tiny full eighteen inches length in one of my arms. My heart leapt with joy. Happy and glad she wasn’t a little like me looking boy. What a beautiful baby girl she was.

where I must start to dry the tears of my baby’s eyes. A Love Pang twisting – turning hurting deep down within my heart. Not being able to soothe or calm my baby girl made me grow scared. So, I did the only thing I thought best and true, and my greatest option too. Dashing-rushing in break neck race, my little girl and I arrived at my momma’s place. A wiser-older grey-haired mother who knew just what to do. I watched my mother’s hands work to bring my child peace and relief. Thank you Lord! for the cease in my own love pang in hearing her cry and holler so. Today my daughter’s wind and air is steady and strong. She is a mother now, of tiny little ones of her own. Love pangs still ache the same as my memories drag on and on.

She was tender and sweet Never, ever did she fuss or weep. Barely did she fret, whine, or bawl. except that one time. She did cry out, bawl, scream, and holler My ears could barely stand to hear her What’s the matter with my child I wondered? What’s wrong with my infant daughter? Love Pangs chilled my very soul To hear her sob and scream For the worst part, not knowing what to do or

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 21

21 4/8/18 7:10 PM

“Reality” By Mykel Eads Reality, the only check that never bounces though it might not be what you want or it may not go your way it always balances out, it never comes up short. Reality, it has never been anyone’s favorite song yet it’s always on the top of the charts. It is never requested, no one ever wants to download it but it is always there playing loud and clear whether you want to listen to it or not. You can try to drown it out with drugs, alcohol, sex, sleep, or with whatever you want, but it is always going to be there set on repeat play. Reality is your own worst enemy and at the same time it is your best friend. Reality is there with you through the worst of times and the best of days. Reality is accountable it is tried and true. Reality does not misconstrue nor does it pretend. Next to death, it is the only thing that is unavoidable but even in death, there is a reality you have to face. Judgment, you can run, you can try to hide, but reality is always there right in your face. Reality is a love and hate relationship, it is bittersweet. There is no escaping it, there is no way out. Reality is the only one compromise, to face and overcome. Running from the reality of what things are only makes things worse by having to face it through the worse time than when it presented itself to you. Face the realities of life and be an over-comer. Reality, your reality will then be peace, and joy, courage and kindness and gentleness, and above all love, love for life and the things and people most important to you.


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 22

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Are You a Sex Offender? By Anonymous I am not a malicious person. I am not mean or cruel to anyone. So, how did I get to where I am today? When did that pivotal moment in my life occur when everything started going to hell? When was that moment when everything began to change for the worse? The answers to these questions, we may never know.

behind a building, or who had consensual, legal sex (between two adults) in a public setting, or possibly someone who paid a prostitute for sexual favors. In most jurisdictions, these are considered to be only misdemeanor or minor crimes. Most of the times, these offenders never receive any jail time at all, just a small fine and then out the door. However, along with the fine, they are required to register as a sex offender and will be “Who am I?”, you might ask. Well, at one time required to follow the same rules as if they themselves in my life, I was an attorney or a firefighter. I was a school had actually physically raped or harmed someone. teacher. I was an engineer for NASA or an engineer for a railroad. I might have been a corporate executive or a There are also the “Romeo & Juliet” type of college student who was simply trying to make his way offenses who are also considered to be sex offenders. In in this world. So, who am I? I am just like you. I am a these cases, usually a boy or a girl, who is over the age of son, a daughter. I’m a brother or a sister, a mother or 18 years of age, has consensual sex with someone who is father or maybe even a husband or wife. But whoever I just under the age of 18 years of age. once was, no longer matters, because according to our Government and some people in society, I am who they The solicitation or enticement of a minor want me to be. I am a sex offender, and for the rest of is another type of sex offense. This offense is where my life, that is all I will ever be. someone is engaged in a conversation with someone under the age of 18, that is considered to be sexual in But exactly who is a sex offender? The term ‘sex nature. This could range from discussing the book “Fifty offender’ is thrown around so casually these days that it Shades of Grey,” to role playing with someone who only has become difficult to understand its true definition. ‘pretends’ to be a minor. However, in most situations, It seems that most people believe it means a rapist, a the person on the other side of that computer screen is child molester or a sexually violent predator. This is the an undercover law enforcement officer. There is no ‘real’ perception most people have when they hear the words minor involved at all. ‘sex offender.’ Do these people strike you to be dangerous While it is a fact that there are people who are criminals? indeed violent, sexual predators, a vast majority of those people who are labeled as sex offenders are not among It may surprise you to learn that not all sex those crazy monsters you sometimes learn about from offenders are adults. For example, a 15 year-old girl the news. In fact, and unfortunately the label of ‘sex takes a topless photo of herself and e-mails that photo of offender’ is applied equally among everyone when the herself to her 17 year-old boyfriend. This is commonly fact is that most offenders today have never had any known as ‘sexting’ and has become very popular among form of illicit contact with a minor. Their crimes were teenagers these days. One way or another, the parents not deemed as a ‘hands-on sex crime.’ Very few ever are. of one of the teens discovers this photo and contacts the authorities. The picture itself may appear to be So, again, “Who is a sex offender?” In today’s harmless, but since a minor created the image of a world a sex offender can be someone who urinated minor, even though it is of herself, law enforcement

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 23

23 4/8/18 7:10 PM

will often consider this as child pornography. And since the teen ‘communicated’ the image through electronic means, ie: e-mail, instant message, etc., the female who took the photo could also be charged with distribution of child pornography, even if the 15 yearold girl consented to the creation of the picture to begin with. As for the 17 year-old boy, he could face charges of receipt and/or possession of child pornography, and face serious consequences with the law as well as society. What is also disturbing is the fact that many sex offenders today are actually children themselves. It is estimated by the Department of Justice statistics, that close to one-quarter of the people on the sex offender registry were convicted of their sex crimes when they were minors. Many of these same children are penalized by engaging in what some consider as ‘sex-play.’ This could be something as innocent as playing ‘doctor’ of the ‘show-me-yours, I’ll –show-you-mine’ type of activities. Many of us did these same things when we were growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s. These innocent games are very common among children and usually do not cause any long-lasting harm.

grow up. So, who do you really think is a sex offender? Could it be that you are one? What exactly classifies anyone as a sex offender? Have you ever attended a wet T-shirt contest at a night club? How about a Spring Break celebration when the breasts are flowing as freely as the beer? How many of you have ever got hot and heavy with your significant other, in the backseat of a car? Then, by today’s standards, you too could be considered as a sex offender.

Do you truly believe that a one-punishment model fits for every sex offender? Is this really reasonable justice? How is it fair to punish a child in court for exploring his natural given right to curiosity about the human body? Why can’t a teenager be free to express themselves to others in any form she chooses, so long as no one else is harmed? Do you truly believe that every sex offender out there, regardless of the conduct of the nature of their offense, deserves to be locked up for long periods of time then have to be placed on a public registry for the remainder of their lives. You may or may not agree with these policies, but this is exactly what is Here is an actual case from Pennsylvania, for a happening in today’s society. While our communities good example. Two nine year-old children were caught attempt to welcome back citizens returning home from in the act of playing the ‘doctor’ game with one another prison, sex offenders, regardless of what they did are by an adult. The parent became upset over the behavior treated as permanently toxic figures. and contacted the local police before contacting the other kid’s parents. The kid was prosecuted, and Yes, I am a sex offender, someone who is paying charged with a misdemeanor offense and taken to for the mistake that I have made in my past. But does court. The kid received some form of punishment but my mistake make me any less of a human being? Did was also required to register as a sex offender, meaning we, as sex offenders, do so wrong that we deserve to be his information would be available to view by most of placed in public shame for the rest or our lives, as Hitler the public, the same as an adult offender who had gone tried to do with the Jews in the 1930’s and 40’s? Do out and brutally raped someone. Do you think this is you feel it is acceptable to jeopardize the safety and well fair? being of my entire family, including my own children? Is it alright for my children to endure the bullying and In fifteen states in the United States, juvenile humiliation for most of their childhood because one of sex offenders have their names and photos posted on their parents’ looked at a few images on the computer online, and public registries. In addition, there are that they weren’t suppose to? We all make bad decisions, thirteen states, who lock up offenders indefinitely, but there comes a time when we must all stand and say under civil commitment, for those who had committed that enough is enough. their offenses when they were minors. For many of these children, their lives are ruined long before they are old Next time you see ‘me’ in the news, try to offer a enough to decide what they would like to do when they little compassion. How would you feel if you discovered


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 24

4/8/18 7:10 PM

ey were clothed). However, the District Attorney been yelled at or beaten. But, in my heart, I believe it that it was your own mother or father, brother or sister, an important part.offender registry, ‘punitive’. By: s able to makeorthis case that were for youplayed significant other the was apictures sex offender? Would then *Kansas Judge finds own sexual gratification. thatawas not exactly try to look atWhile things from whole new perspective? Try Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press July 17, 2013 looking atgrateful ‘me’ as youthat wouldI look yourself. According Try not to focus on the times your child misbehaves. e case, I am actually wasat arrested to our government, I am a sex offender. Are you a Sex on *Our childdoporn law do little themisguided times they something goodto - protect and give en I was. I loved those boys dearly. At that point, Focus Offender too? children. By Jacob Sulum February 11, 2014 (online) ere was only what I felt were beautiful images. But, them a hug of appreciation. For that matter…do not just do something HugMitigation your children new what I was capable of. It is quite possible that I wait until *Thethey Changing Landscape ofgood. Sentencing In and often. A little affection that is proper uld have done things which would have been much today, Possession of Child Pornography Cases by Marcia G.and REFERENCES AND RESOURCES Shein 2011 loving homes will make the May future (the children) better. re damaging, in time.

The following references and resources , along with personal experience, were used in Dale. the preparation *A Method for Careful Study: A proposal for Reforming dly, my sister married a man very much like the Child Pornography Guidelines – Troy Stabenow this minor composition. ection plays a of very role in their lives. Their 2011

ns, my nephews,*The looked to me for the affection they Role of Media in the Creation of Sex Offender re not getting Hysteria. at home. It wasLake traumatic them (online) Monroe, for Florida – April 17, *Ex-Senate aide who face child porn charges found dead by Shimon Prokupecz – CNN January 24, 2014 en I was arrested. 2014 *In Defense of Rational Sex Offender Public Policy *9- year old boy charged with sex crime by Marsha andyour Laws children. by Christopher Zoukis,know in summary: hug Let them that Bonhart – WDTN May 31, 2014 October 17, 2013

u love them, and are there for them. I am not saying sure that I would have turned if I had not *REGISTRY – Is itout fair better for sex offenders to stay listed *Operation Flicker – CNN, Yahoo News, July 2010 on a registry for life? St. Louis Post –Dispatch, August 26, 2013 by Kevin McDermott

*The Adam Walsh Act

*MY VOICE: Treatment, not prison, answer for sex *Former executive agrees to pleas in child porn case by offenders. Sioux Falls (SD) Arqus Leader, Georgina Helen Freund, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) July 2, 2014. Schaff, June 16, 2014.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 25

25 4/8/18 7:10 PM

TRADITIONS BY S. GORDON The sun has risen today A morning tradition since The dawn of time And egg-yolk which weaved it’s Golden-yellow ribbon through my window. With a yawn I fall out of bed Drag a comb through entanglements Of my life Pulling out a smile I picked From the briar patch. A little jewel left over From the year before, Stroking it’s ego to keep the Dimples in my cheeks and an Imaginary window I open. The day’s fresh breath upon my face Adorations to Ra, A bit of love to a God I once Paid tribute to.


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 26

4/8/18 7:10 PM

When Bullying Kills By Julie Guirgis There is nothing more tragic than a young person feeling as if they have no other choice than to end their own life. When we hear about these types of tragedies, we are puzzled as to why a young person whose life is filled with potential would feel their life isn’t worth living anymore.

*Part of forgiveness is undertaking an assessment of what you think might have driven this person to bully. Bullies are cowardly and insecure––bullying is a way of coping with things in their own lives that aren’t working well for them. Perhaps this person has been the subject of abuse, has lost a loved one, or doesn’t feel that he or she has made a success of life as you have. It’s Teen suicide prevention never an excuse but it’s a way of helping you to have One of the most important aspects of teen greater understanding that people are motivated by suicide prevention is support. It’s important that they personal reasons. know you support and love them, and are willing to *Read books about improving self-esteem, help them find hope in life again. One of the most praise yourself for the good you contribute to the world, effective ways to prevent teen suicide is to recognize and leave yourself positive notes that remind you why the signs of suicidal thoughts and feelings, and seek you’re a good, worthy person. professional help. Some of the most effective teen * Many people who have experienced bullying suicide prevention programs consist of identifying and find therapy, counseling or spiritual guidance helpful treating the following problems: in working through the experience and building self· Mental and learning disorders confidence again. · Substance abuse problems · Problems dealing with stress · Behavior problems These issues can be difficult for a teenager to cope with, leading to helplessness and discouragement. This can lead to self-destructive thoughts to make an escape from the seemingly insurmountable pressures of life. Getting help for underlying problems, which almost always include teen depression, can lead to more effective teen suicide prevention.

* Read books about dealing with anxiety, trauma and depression. These books, provided they’re self-help oriented and have worksheets or exercises to work through, can help you to undo negative thinking that has probably taken over your life. * Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Understand until you’re able to cope with any future bullying behavior, it’s best to avoid any places where it might occur. Over time you will grow stronger through your own courage and reflection, but you must allow yourself this space to heal first.

*Keep in touch with someone you trust who knows and recognizes what you went through. This Let go. Although difficult, if you don’t let go of person can serve as your rock if you start having worrying the feelings of anger and hate toward the bully, you let feelings or doubts, or if you think that someone might this person continue to hold power over you. Forgiveness be trying to bullying you again. Make sure this person can free you from constant thoughts of revenge, hate or is reliable and can be contacted quickly and to help you anger, which will only consume you. Your final victory stay calm. as a survivor who will go on to thrive is to not let this *Read all that you can on bullying, to become bully continue to bully your inner thoughts. more informed with the issue and the ways in which

Recovering from Bullying

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 27

27 4/8/18 7:10 PM

people experience it. This can help you to heal because it can open the pathway to greater understanding, both of yourself and of the motivations of other people. Learning in greater depth about the challenges and issues surrounding bullying might even lead to lifechanging decisions, such as a career change or writing a book about your experiences.

experience to others, they too can learn more about the impacts of bullying. * It’s recommended that you don’t get into a role of helping others until you feel healed enough. Before you have healed, any small incident can tip you back into the emotional pain of the original experience. You must feel strong enough first.

*By making yourself an expert on the topic, you * Be patient. It can take months and even years will feel stronger and more in control when confronted to overcome the pain of bullying. During that time, by similar situations in the future. You will also gain the you will likely continue to experience some real lows strength to help defend others properly. amid the steadily increasing confidence you’re regaining * Read stories about bullying survivors to learn and you may not trust people as you did once. By how they coped; you may be able to draw inspiration recognizing your feelings as normal and accepting that from such experiences. Ask your librarian or book you need more time, you allow yourself the slow road to store for help finding such books, and search online for permanent healing. articles written by such people. *Do something relaxing. When you feel constantly threatened, you are on constant high alert. Instead of staying tightly wound up find something that will help you unwind in a peaceful and caring way. Suggestions include yoga, meditation, deep breathing, swimming, aromatherapy, massage, learning a musical instrument, painting, writing, or spending time in nature.


How to Heal After a Cyber Bullying Experience www. Teenage Suicide articles3.html


Melbourne mum tells of daughter’s gang rape and suicide to warn bullying ‘costs lives’ by Emily McPherson *Get involved in helping others who have been mum-speaks-of-melbourne-high-school-bullyingbullied. By spreading awareness and offering your own which-led-to-daughters-suicide


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 28

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Man- Up! By Nick Seriganis Hello fellas, this article is focused on what it takes to be a man. Now being a man doesn’t mean how many females we “hooked up” with nor how many fights we won or been in. Being a man means taking care of our families, by providing and protecting them.

age, I dropped out when I was 16 in the 9th grade. I was held back three years, once in the second grade, twice in the 8th grade. I could blame it on my parents or my teachers, but no, I only have myself to blame, wanting to cut class, smoke weed, trip out on LSD, sell drugs in the streets, gang bang, drinking and chasing girls, but Now, let me ask you guy’s something, how many what do I have to show for 36 years of living on this of you sitting behind bars have children? Yes, a touchy earth, nothing! subject, but something that must be laid out on the table, we must open old wounds and scars. How many All the stuff I own can fit in a small locker, yes of you have your mother, brother, sister or grandma it’s a sad thing. Now let’s talk about what can we do to raising your children? How many of you if your child Man-up. How many of us have a poor relationship with was right in front of you at this moment would know our families? A lot why not pick up a pen and write a that you are their father? letter asking for forgiveness and apologizing for the bad things, we have done to our loved ones, how about for When was the last time you seen your children the ones that still have legal contact with their children or remember their faces and most important, how many and want to be a part of their life. Write them. Tell them of you still if ever loved their child? Don’t get mad, ask that you will always love them no matter what. Fellas, yourself what can I do today to Man-up; be the man you still have a chance to be a role model/mentor in God made you to be? Be the father I never had, be a their lives. Ask yourself this; do you want your child to loyal, faithful husband to my wife? make the same mistakes you have? You see, many of us suffer from an illness and that illness is called laziness! We don’t want to go out and find jobs, we always make up excuses. I have a crime record, no one wants to hire me because I lack the education, when one place turns you down, you are already ready to toss in the towel. You rather be in the streets selling drugs, robbing, killing for what, the fast money? How many of you reading this is in prison doing five years or better, chasing that fast money? How many of us blame everyone else for our short- comings or crimes we have done, blame the system or other people in our lives? We have no one to blame but ourselves!

Why not write the mother of your child and tell her you’re sorry for not being by her side in raising the children you helped bring into this world. Now for us that’s locked away from our loved ones, what are we doing with all this free time on our hands? I know a lot are doing nothing! Just sitting back watching T.V., chasing drugs or homemade wine, telling lies to the next man.

The system is not set up to help us, but lock us way, granted, there are programs set up for us, but we got to take the first step to get into these programs. No matter if it’s a GED Program, faith-based, self-betterment, a Now my father beat my mother and I for over trade program, A.A., N.A., Anger Management etc. etc. 10 years, does that mean it’s alright for me to beat a Shoot, even a Bible Study by mail could make a big female? Does that mean it’s alright for me to beat my difference in our lives. children (if I had any)? Hell no! Now think about this, guys I’m in a site where they Yes, some of us dropped out of school at an early don’t pay us for the slave labor we do, not one penny.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 29

29 4/8/18 7:10 PM

I’ve been in going on 9 years now. Look at all the money I lost out on, let’s just say I would have made $20,000 a year, that’s $180 grand, what’s even more crazy, I didn’t learn the first 3 times I came to prison. Now, here I sit with life in prison without parole. I’ve been in and out of adult prison since 1999, but I will not let this time control my actions. I’ve MannedUp, I will not let drugs control me, I won’t act without thinking and I will not let anger get the best of me, for the ones that are getting out, please change your life because if not you will be back. Find a support system, family, friends, or church, etc. This is not a life you want

to continue to live and for the one’s that may never see freedom again, please keep your head up, don’t let this place or people you live around dictate your actions. Keep yourself busy, get into programs, stay away from drugs and read a book. Keep your mind active and always remember to reach one you have to teach one, school the young guys coming into the system, show them that this life is not cool, sit back and think what can I do today to better myself as a man, what can I do today to Man-Up?

Looking for programs or Services to assist you with: $Money Matters, Starting a Business, or Housing-Readiness, We can help! Call today! 718.385.6700 The Local Development Corporation of East New York empowers low-to-moderate income women and minorities with programs that promote economic sufficiency, build assets and improve their lives and those of their families. 80 Jamaica Ave., 3rd Fl. | Brooklyn, NY 11207 | 718.385.6700 |


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 30

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Trusting By Michael McKinney Trusting is something I will never stop doing because I was born into this world to be trusting. Trusting the ones who brought me into this world, my mother and father. Trusting the ones who love me and trusting the ones I love. Trusting that God would wake me up each and every day. Trusting that He would always lead my way. Trusting that He be on time when I pray. Trusting all that is good. Trusting even when I am misunderstood. Trusting when all odds seems to be against me. I’m trusting on each and every breath I take so I can live and see another day. I’m trusting that the higher being would always show me the right way. Trusting on each and every word the higher being say. I’m trusting in the roads that lay ahead so when I walk down them I would have no reason to be scared. I’m trusting on the rain drops that fall, because they nourish the ground that feeds us all. I’m trusting the walls, that I sit within because they give me time to build within my mind. I’m trusting in my one and only soul, God knows it can never be sold. Trusting that I will keep living to grow old. I’m trusting that I will be living to see the day God opens the doors. I’m trusting that I cannot be held forever. I’m trusting that I will have it all together. I’m trusting on what all that is unseen that’s dealing with nothing but the truth. I’m trusting in fresh air because I know God will always be there. I’m trusting that the sun will rise above and shine it’s light of love to the entire world. I’m trusting the teacher that’s with me to show me all the right ways to live. I’m trusting on the past to correct my future. I’m trusting Robin Graham and her magazine called Spotlight on Recovery, Giving a Voice to the Therapeutic Community.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 31

31 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Contributing Writers Anthony Billings Anthony C. Billings was raised in a small town in Northern

California called Susanville, where he attended Lassen College to pursue a degree in business. Currently enrolled in courses, he splits his time between his writing, his education, and his enjoyment of life in general. He has been writing since he was a young teenager and he has plans keep writing for many years to come. If you would like to contact this writer you can reach him by writing to the below address: Anthony Billings #G -50184, Pleasant Valley State Prison, B-2 #244, P.O. Box 8500,Coalinga, CA 93210


Tyrell Benson Tyrell Benson’s love of writing came from the need to escape

the struggles of life. He desires knowledge from every corner of life, religion, and political perspective. Raised by a single mother, everyday he wakes up to embody integrity and to be a better person than he was the day before. Incarcerated since the age of 17, he’s discovered the meaning of manhood on the 15 years of incarceration. God saves his hardest battles for his strongest soldiers.

Lester Brown About the Author: This is Lester’s third poem for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine.

He submitted poems for “Rock Bottom” and “Bearing the Cross.” I believe in his passion as a writer and in the words he writes. I am looking for more poetry from this young man in the near future.

Mykel EadsMy name is Mykel Roshawn Eads, I am 30 years old. I was born and raised in Riverside, CA. I have been in and out of recovery since I was 12 years old and have now been sober for five years. I started writing when I was 15 in foster care and group homes. I have been a contributing writer for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine since 2017. I’m currently serving a 15 year mandatory prison sentence in Florida. I’ve made some reckless decisions in my life. Most people dwell on regrets, I use to but now I’ve learned that through all the good and the bad it had to happen to make me the man I am now. Even though I’m in prison, I am stronger and healthier than I have ever been. I have five beautiful children who make me happier every moment of every day. My recovery has been a wild and beautiful journey. It is my prayer that my writings are helpful to those who read them. I believe God is using me to change the world one word at a time, one person at a time. If anything that I’ve written is of benefit, it is from God and God alone. May God keep us in the Spotlight of Recovery.

James C. Fudge This is James C. Fudge’s first poem for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. He will also appear in the upcoming issue “Youth and Crime.” We welcome James as a new contributing writer.

S. Gordon This is S. Gordon’s first poem for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. Spotlight encourages her to spread more of her thoughts through the written word.

Don Gotti III Mr. Don Gotti, III “The Voice of the Ghetto!” was born Deverick Scott out of

North Little Rock Arkansas. He’s an inmate who is now focusing on teaching youth. He is focused on using his voice to keep the black youth from falling asleep again. He just signed his first contract for his book, The State of Mind of a Convict’s Conscience. In addition, he is also working on a new book called, “In the Midst of the Struggle. He currently resides at the Arkansas Department of Corrections and he is willing to work with an


Spotlight on Recovery

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 32

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Contributing Writers agency that believes in helping our youth. It is a better way because prison is not the place for anyone. If he can change his life from behind prison bars, so can they. The new freelance writer and author Mr. Deverick Scott #131042, P.O. Box 600, Grady, AR 71644

Kabasha Griffith El This is Kabasha Griffith El’s first article for Spotlight on Recovery. He appears to be a passionate writer and I look forward to hearing from him again in the near future.

Julie Guirgis Franklin Junior This is Franklin Junior’s second article for Spotlight on Recovery. Yes, we will

hear more from Franklin in the future. What a powerful voice he has, he reminds me of our leaders in the 60’s.

Michael McKinneyAbout the Author: Michael McKinney has been writing for Spotlight on

Recovery Magazine since 2014. He has been featured in “The Day I Grew Up,” “Children Are the Future,” “Nobody, Somebody,” “Bonus Round” and he has written an article for the upcoming issue titled “Youth and Crime.”

Dennis Mintun Dennis Mintun has been a regular contributor to Spotlight on Recovery Magazine

since 2013, under the pen name of “Cougar Newquist.” Because he uses the mistakes of his own past to help others overcome theirs – everyone knows who “Cougar” is. Dennis runs a thriving chapel group that focuses on personal empowerment. He has written articles, stories, and poems for various magazines, and has fiction and non-fiction books at

Early Muhammed This is Early Muhammad’s first poem for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. We look forward to receiving more poetry from Early in the near future.

Nick Seriganis Nick Seriganis is a 36 year old writer serving a life term in the

Florida prison system. He spends his time studying religion, reading books, writing poems and articles. If you would like to reach Mr. Seriganis, you may by writing to: Nick Seriganis #R11311, Apalachee C.I. East Unit, 35 Apalachee Drive, Sneads, Fl 32460

G. Wahid About the author: G.Wahid has been a contributing writer for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine for almost a year. G. Wahid has been featured in “You Are Not Alone Part 3” “Bonus Round” and “Rock Bottom.” We look forward to hearing more from him in the near future.

Douglas L. Washington, Jr. I am the only boy and youngest of six born on June

21, 1990. I am a 6’5”, 215 pound African American male. I am a high school grad of the class of 2008 where I played varsity football. My hobbies are working out, reading, writing, listening to music and watching movies. I am single and never been married. I have no kids. I have an ambition to become an entrepreneur and a famous writer.

Jose Feliciano Williams

About the author: This is Jose’s first poem for Spotlight on Recovery Magazine. We look forward to hearing from him in the near future.

Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 33

33 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Spring Savings - Now through June 30, 2018 - Take Half Off from all Advertising Fees. Purchase three ads and get the fourth one free. Full color Back and Inside Cover - $250.00 Full Page Ad - B/W - $175.00 Half Page Ad -B/W - $127.50 Quarter Page Ad - B/W $87.50 Business Card - B/W - $49.50 For more information, call 347-831-9373

Giving a Voice to the Therapeutic Community

Giving a Voice to the Therapeutic Community

Bearing the Cross

Bonus Round

Giving a Voice to the Therapeutic Community

$2.95 | Summer 2017 |

March 2017

Spotlight on Recovery Summer 2017 issue.indd 1

8/29/17 11:01 PM

$2.95 | May 2017 |

April2017issue.indd 1

4/30/17 1:39 PM

In the Line of Fire

$2.95 | Fall 2016 |

$2.95 | June 2017 |

Fall 2016 June2017 Issue.indd 1


You Are Not Alone -Part 3

Spotlight on Recovery

$2.95 | March 2017 |

March2017issue.indd 1

Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 34


5/22/17 10:19 PM

24 Adar 5777 8:56 PM

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Fall 2016


Spring 2018 Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 35

35 4/8/18 7:10 PM

Coming Soon: Youth and Crime

Spotlight on Recovery Spotlight on Recovery Spring 2018.indd 36

4/8/18 7:10 PM

Spotlight on Recovery The Writers Choice Spring 2018  

This is an annual topic where our writers choose their own subject matter to share with you. Emotionally driven, many of these articles reve...

Spotlight on Recovery The Writers Choice Spring 2018  

This is an annual topic where our writers choose their own subject matter to share with you. Emotionally driven, many of these articles reve...