- Mental Health»
Recovery: The True Fountain of Youth
How old do you think I am? This is a question I love to ask people whenever they ask me how old I am. I love it because unless they’ve been given hints, like knowing how old my kids are or that I have two grandchildren no one ever guesses even close. They usually guess about five years young and sometimes even ten years younger than I am. I’m blessed or just lucky right? This is what I used to think before I went to prison. It was there that I discovered the true secret of my youthful appearance.
Two men I met in prison
When I first arrived in prison I was placed in RDU. I don’t have a clue what that stands for but RDU is basically maximum security holding that they place every new inmate in until they’ve had a chance to review his case and him personally to determine what level of security he can be placed in. So naturally RDU in Kansas is at Eldorado Super Max facility. While I was in there I met a porter (Inmate janitor.) He would come by my cell while he was cleaning and talk to me. A cool guy, always smiling and looked to be about 23 maybe 24 years old tops. He would tell me stories of his life in prison. It dawned on me one day that he had way too many stories about prison for someone as young as he was so I asked him how long he’d been there. He told me that in the last 30 years he’d only been out for one year. This really threw me for a loop so I asked him “How freakin old are you dude?” He said he was 53 years old. I promise if you saw the man I was talking about you would not believe that he was that old. I told him this too. I said you couldn’t possibly be 53 dude you look like 24 tops! He said, “prison preserves you.”
They reviewed me and luckily based on my case and my psychological profile I’d been placed in minimum security prison. While there I met another man that had just recently come to prison as I had. We all called him pops. We called him that cause he was just that type. The grandfatherly type that everyone gets along with. You know the silly old dude type. He looked about 70 possibley 80. I was curious so I asked him one day how old he was. He said he was also 53 years old. I’ve never been one to hold anything back so I told him. “Dude you look bad for your age!” I couldn’t help it. He looked down at the floor with a face full of regret and told me he’d been smoking Meth since he was 12 years old.
“Prison preserves you.”
That’s when I realized why it’s been so easy for me since I was 30 to pass for someone up to 10 years younger. Prison didn’t preserve my friend the porter, clean living did it. He’d not just been in prison for most of the last 30 years he’d been in Super Max security prison.
Everyone knows (or at least thinks) that you can get dope and booze and everything else in prison just as easily as you can on the streets. If that’s true though it must be really hard for most people to get all that on the streets. Because in reality unless you’re well connected or got some serious money on your books it’s really not that easy at all to get ahold of anything like that in prison. Especially in supermax. Take something as simple as a ciggarette for example. Tobacco is illegal in prison here in Kansas so even in minimum security it cost’s anywhere from 75 cents to a dollar just to get a skinny rolly ciggarette. Then you have to share it with at least 3 of your friends cause if you don’t they wont share with you when they get one. That’s minimum, in Medium the price starts at 2 dollars. The higher the security and harder it is to get something inside, the higher the price.
Back to my friend. He was in Super Max so for the last 30 years and hadn’t been doing any partying whatsoever. So he looked 30 years younger. My other friend was new to prison and had been partying for decades so he looked decades older than he really was.
When I was 20 years old I decided to give my life to God and quit drinking and smoking for 10 years. So I looked 10 years younger. Before I relapsed and started partying again no one ever guessed my age within 10 years. Then I spent 3 years getting high until I went to prison for almost four years. I don’t look 10 years younger anymore but fortunately I can still pass for about 5 years younger than I really am. Thank God I went to prison when I did lol! by now I’da caught up in appearance to my actual age and as hard as I was doing it, would probably look quite a few years older than I am now.
Another great benefit of recovery
My addiciton ruined my life so just looking young isn’t the only reason I stay clean now but it’s definitely in the top ten. If you wanna stay youthful the secret is simple. Take care of yourself. Don’t poison yourself with drugs and alcohol and expect to stay cute. It just doesn’t work that way.