Let’s Be Honest

The  chapter title, “Let’s Be Honest”, is the first chapter in the book entitled “Remember the Prisoners: He Came to Set the Captives Free”. You may recognize some similarity between the book title and this blog’s title. . . That is because they are one and the same. “ok, you caught me,” I am promoting my book. It had to happen eventually that is what this blog is about, reaching out to the families and loved one(s) of the incarcerated by sharing insights from the book. I will attempt to articulate the heart of the matter in chapter one.

If I could choose one word to define (honesty), it would have to be, (integrity: the quality or ability of conduct to remain the same whether under scrutiny or not, with a high moral standard.) In other words, what you do behind closed doors is the same as what you do out in the open. I might suggest that there are few who have achieved this pinnacle of perfection, but try we must. The importance of this principle can be appreciated when we are raising our own children. For example: “Susie, do you know what happened to the cat to make her tear out of the house screeching so?” Little Susie responds with a totally straight face and a hand full of fur, “why no Mommy I don’t have a clue.”

Seeing your child lie straight to your face is no less heart breaking at any age. I suppose confronting an alcoholic who is obviously plastered, with the accusation, “have you been drinking again?” can only produce disgust when they knock you over with their booze breath, replying, “No, how dare you accuse me of drinking!” We already know they are drunk as a skunk, but it sure would be refreshing to just hear them admit it just once.

Why is it so difficult to tell the truth? Shame, guilt, denial and fear of consequences are some pretty good reasons but terrible excuses. We just want them to admit they have a problem and maybe even ask for help. But a fiend who is entrenched in their addiction whatever it may be, is incapable of truth, (at least the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.) But there is hope! You see the incarcerated have one good thing going for them; time to reflect. You can forget trying to talk sense into someone who has just walked out of the dope house with an eight-ball of dope and convince them to just throw it on the ground and stomp on it. Equally, the person coming down hard and on the hunt  will not stop his or her pursuit until they have scored. But. . . the incarcerated are forced, even if it’s just for a few days, to dry up and reflect.

Reality is a hard thing to escape when you’re straight and sober; of course this is why folks get high to begin with, to escape reality. But, a sober reality brings to the surface the futility of additions and their unwanted consequences. Incarceration provides an opportune moment to present other options in the life of your loved one. This is the time when they can sit still and listen to the beat of their own heart. It is a serious time of reflection for everyone. The mind of the incarcerated is racing with thoughts of uncertainty and all hearts are filled with loss. Now is the time to fill the void and answer life’s toughest questions. There is a freedom that comes from being brutally honest with yourself.

Here is an excerpt from chapter one: “Lets Be Honest”

If you are reading this, it’s because you’re unsure and scared. Your freedom has been taken away from you, and you have no idea what the future holds. For some of you, it’s your first time in jail. For others, you could be facing prison time—time away from your family and friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, or wives. This is time you can never get back. For the rest of the world, things go on and continue day in and day out. But for you, time stands still. Some of you are lucky enough to make phone calls and receive mail. Others aren’t so lucky. Their people won’t accept the phone calls or are so fed up with them that they won’t write, cutting them off altogether.

Those of you who are lucky enough to make phone calls and get mail get a boost of hope by connecting to the outside, but the end result is always the same—and that hope nevertheless fades as doubt and fear come creeping back into your mind. Is he or she really being faithful to me? Who is taking my place as mom or dad? Who is with my girlfriend or boyfriend, or husband or wife, while I’m stuck rotting in here?

Yes, fears and doubts always come creeping back in because you know friends and family have asked you time and again to stop drinking, drugging, doing crime, and cheating on them. Oh yes, doubt and fear will certainly return because, quite honestly, that is what you deserve—and you know it.

So why are you still reading this? I’ll tell you why: because you’re looking for hope, searching for something to give you peace and assurance in your time of need and separation. You’re looking for something that can change your circumstances and grant you favor—something to plug that ever-widening hole of despair. Good, then. There is hope for you after all. Keep reading.

Everyone who ends up in jail says to himself or herself, “How did I end up here?” Some of you will cast the blame on everyone and everything else around you. “It’s the cops’ fault. The judge has it out for me. My probation officer doesn’t really care what happens to me. The system set me up to fail. If my lady wouldn’t have called the cops … Blah-blah-blah.” Yeah, I know; it’s everyone else’s fault but yours, right? So ask yourself these questions and be honest with yourself. After all, it’s just you reading this. No one else knows what you’re thinking but you.

Questions: Who is the most important person in your life? Who means the most to you? Whose feelings, wants, and desires take first place in your life? We’ll get back to these questions shortly.

So you have to admit that right about now you would do or say just about anything to get out of jail and out of trouble, but would you do what it takes?

Right now you are heartbroken and hurting. Everyone around you is too. Happiness is far from you, and the hope of a normal life seems unreachable—a distant, blurry vision that seems to get further and further away the harder you try. You need and are searching for someone to speak hope and encouragement into your circumstances and give you something to hold on to.

That is why I’m sharing my journey of hope and deliverance. There is a way out. There is hope. You can make it. What if I told you that you could put that drink down? What if I told you that you could be strong enough to resist the needle and spoon? What if I told you that crack or heroin would no longer have power over you? What if I told you that you could find peace? Wouldn’t it be worth it just to hear me out? After all, if an alcoholic and a junkie with twenty-seven years of hard-core drug abuse and the lifestyle that goes with it can make it, so can you.

But first, you have to be honest. You have to truly want to stop. Let me ask you this: Right now, where you are, look over in the corner. See that steel toilet and sink combo? How about that really nice mattress they gave you? Do you like sitting on that toilet? Do you like sleeping on that mattress? Oh! How about the food? Do you find the food and how they dictate when you eat a particularly pleasant experience? And let’s not forget that ever-present, sinking feeling of despair, fear, and uncertainty—yeah, that one you just got.

Sorry that I have to keep doing that to you, but I want you to realize how totally messed up your situation is and that what you’re feeling right now is necessary to bring you to your next level—and one step closer to freedom.

I hope that this excerpt and perspective from someone who has been there and made it through the other side will at least cause you to visit my Author Page with curiosity. Please feel free to engage with me either here or at: http://www.amazon.com/Reverend-Joaquin-R-Larriba/e/B01GBEQ4N0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465243491&sr=1-1

May the blessing of The Most High be upon you, in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.


Rev. Larriba




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