Welcome to Troy’s free monthly electronic newsletter, developed for people interested in overcoming adversity, adapting to change and pushing oneself to realize their full potential.
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IN THIS ISSUE
- Feature Article…Awakened within The Walls
- Read a letter from a recent client
- My Partnership with DrugTALK…. Finally, an answer to Drug Abuse for our Young People!
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- Download the Pref^ce Chapter of my Book!
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“It is not important How we come to the events in our lives, but how we Deal with those events”- Troy
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AWAKENED WITHIN THE WALLS
Hope is a powerful thing. It has near euphoric qualities, but hope alone cannot get you to your goal. That is what I found out during the next few days. The days that I knew I was going to prison but had no idea what to expect.
I had spent the last eight months waiting for sentencing in a federal detention facility while going through the trial process. “Federal Detention Facility” sounds a lot like prison, but there are a few integral differences.
Within the walls of a federal prison, drugs are more easily obtained than they are on the streets. Heroin overdose is a regular occurrence, bloodshed over drug deals gone bad take place routinely, and stemming the drug flow into the institution is a constant battle for the staff. I wasn’t ready to face that availability on my own. That eight-month period within the detention facility gave me a chance to clear my head, to think rationally, and to make a conscious decision to turn my life around without the persistent stream of drugs that the prison system would have to offer. That was the best and only leg up that the system gave me.
Without the drugs, I gained clarity. With that clarity, came some of the scariest moments of my life. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at my permanent facility. Faced with a 13-year prison sentence, I’m sure you can imagine the apprehension and fear that I felt. This was pure, unadulterated reality, no drug haze to stifle the fear. My brain cells were operating to full capacity and, for the first time in years, I knew true fear. My son had given my life value again. In the short period of time I had within the relative safety of the detention facility I went from being a suicidal drug addict to a man with too much to lose and I was facing the legends of prison.
I, like everyone else, had heard stories of the terrors that take place inside prison walls, the beatings, the rapes, and the murders. The funny thing was that it wasn’t any one of those things that kept me awake at night. It was all of them and none of them and various combinations. What would it be like? Would it be as Hollywood portrayed it in the movies? Would I be beaten, stabbed, forced into a gang? All I knew was that I wasn’t looking forward to fresh meat orientation and whatever that might have implied. Then it dawned on me. My greatest fear was not simply that I would have to face all of these potential threats, but that if I were to carry through with my promise to my son, and myself I would have to do it without the drugs.
During that time, I thought about drugs a lot. I craved the numbness. I wanted that familiar switch that I could flick and make all of my worries go away. Throughout the majority of my life, I hadn’t faced a single challenge. I had used drugs to escape them all.
But somewhere a certain knowledge came with my newfound clarity that told me that this was a challenge that I needed to face head on if I was ever going to be able to come out of it the man that I wanted to be. So, on the day that I first entered the Florence Federal Correctional Institution, that was the way that I approached it. Head up, with a brave face. Was I scared? You can’t begin to imagine. But since then, I have learned that the only way to face change is to embrace it, welcome it, and learn to love it with your head up and a brave face.
There are of course several dangers within the walls of prison, but one of the greatest terrors to a person’s soul and the society that inherits them upon their release is what I call “dead time.” It seemed to physically hang in the air, as though it were something you could touch or feel around you. When I first arrived in prison I would sit in the common areas and watch guys play cards, play dominos, and watch TV. Some of them would spend their entire sentences doing the same thing, for up to 16 hours a day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Some of them doing this in five, ten, fifteen, even twenty year stretches. I watched them and made a decision that this was not the way I was going to spend the next eleven and one half years of my life. This was not going to keep me on my path and it certainly wasn’t going to help me pay the bills once I was out. That’s when I realized that being inside walls and razor wire was not the prison, dead time was.
While inside, I could see the emptiness in the eyes of my fellow inmates and I knew that dead time was not good enough for me. The irony is that I had been serving my dead time before I ever got to prison. I just never recognized it.
Having spoken to so many people who have had drugs affect their lives personally or through a loved one, my greatest wish is that I could for one moment let every person, every teenager, every potential user, experience what it was like to live the life of a drug addict. It is the epitome of the definition of dead time. I wasn’t living my life. I didn’t have a chance. Every thought, every resource, every second of my time was spent trying to feed a habit that knew no satiety.
Whether I ate depended on whether I had money left over after buying my drugs. Even if that was the case, I also had to decide whether it would be worth it to try to keep the food down. I was poisoning my body on a regular basis and even it did not trust me with the things I consumed, food or otherwise.
Whether I worked depended on if I could perform the task while in a drug haze and if there would be sufficient enough breaks throughout the day for me to sneak to the parking lot to stay high. Even if that was the case, it was only a matter of time before I was fired for calling in “sick” too many times, not calling in at all, or because I was so incompetent that they could no longer afford to have me around.
Planning for my future meant looking around in any given instant to see what I had to sell, what there was to steal, which family member still let me into their home. Long-term security meant that I had enough drugs to last me for three days.
I can look back on those days now with clarity and wonder how I ever even survived like that, how I could have chosen that. From a sober standpoint, knowing how bad it was, I can’t believe that I chose that dead time day in and day out and I wish that every child had the benefit of being able to see, with such clarity, the devastation that drugs have on a person.
Of course, as bad as it got, the truth is, the alternative just seemed way worse. You have to remember that pulling myself out of the mess I had lived for a good portion of my adolescence and my entire adulthood meant two things – 1) I would have to face up to what I had done; and 2) I would have to do something I had never done before.
I was serving the same dead time as most of the cons in prison. Ask them what they did to be sent to prison, they’ll tell you they’re innocent. It’s better than facing up to what they’ve done and taking responsibility for it. Ask them what they’re going to do that day, 99.9% of the time, it’s the same thing they did the day before and has nothing to do with self improvement.
Ask if you can apply those two criteria to your own life.
I first noticed my own internal prison by watching my fellow prisoners, but now that I’m on the outside, I see that these prisons have nothing to do with confinement or lack of opportunity. I see people, who are perfectly free to take their destinies in hand and create the lives that they could choose for themselves, instead choosing dead time without ever knowing that they are doing it. We sit on our couches, trudge into jobs we don’t like, live as people that we don’t want to be, and we do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We construct our own prisons and they are not made out of bricks and mortar or razor wire, but of fear of change and the excuses it breeds – the little voice.
What is stopping us from having the things that we want? 1) We don’t want to admit our own culpability in the problem; and 2) we fear the change, the “what if.”
It’s funny, I have to be one of a very few people in this world who can make a statement such as this: The very worst thing that ever happened to me in my life, going to prison, is at the same time the very best thing that ever happened to me. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not been caught, convicted and incarcerated, I would be dead. There’s also no doubt in my mind that if I had not been forced to confront great changes and the overwhelming fear that was associated with them, I could never have become the man I am today. I would never have been awakened from my dead time.
The fear of the unknown keeps us from reaching out, from taking chances, from exploring new possibilities, from pushing ourselves to realize our full potential. After all, we might not succeed. We might lose our comfort zone. We might CHANGE! …Or, we could succeed. We might benefit. And, we might be one step closer to being the people we want to be.
I had help thanks to the officers who arrested me without allowing me to forfeit my life. Only by being forced into this harsh environment was I finally going to make some changes, finally going to face my past. Once I did that, I learned that facing change head on and learning to love it made it possible for me to do anything I set my mind to. It is not enough to have hope, that is just the first step. It is the courage to face and embrace change that helps you make the second step and then what you have is something very powerful – momentum.
Read a letter from a recent client – Click hear to read!
I am approached hundreds of times a year either immediately following one of my keynote speeches or through my website by p^rents, aunts, uncles, brother and sisters who are concerned about a young person in their lives who is either using drugs or is about to enter that age where drugs will become accessible.
I often had a hopeless feeling knowing that all I could offer were words of encouragement and support and the sharing of my own downfall….that was until I became partners with a company called DrugTALK.
DrugTALK is a v1rtual life coach dedicated to helping families, parents and young people overcome the threat and dangers of drugs through the privacy of their home. They do this by delivering the insight, tools and activities needed for parents to protect their children by putting vital protection principles into practice, often without parents even realizing it.
Their programs and tools are based on decades of research and supported by a dynamic team of communication experts, family intervention specialists, treatment professionals, narcotics intelligence officers, life coaches, parents and—most importantly—teens who have faced the world of drugs first-hand.
The CEO of DrugTALK happened to attend one of my speaking engagements and after talking I skeptically took one of his Drug Reference Guides and a DVD. Having lived through the hell of drug abuse I had my whole adult life been conv1nced that nothing short of expensive in-patient treatment centers could break the hold that drugs have on our young people. After thoroughly studying what DrugTalk has to offer I was blown away- I can honestly say that h^d these tools been available to me during my teenage years that I most likely would have avoided the hell I put myself and family through.
I have agreed to partner with DrugTalk and encourage anyone who knows of an individual that is either us1ng drugs or is reaching that critical age where drugs c^n be a lure to visit their site at www.drugtalk.orgPlease also pass this on to anyone who may benefit from this unique program.
One of the stipulations I made in agreeing to partner with DrugTALK was that they needed to make what they offer afford^ble to anyone- drug use does not discriminate by class and it is important to me that these tools are available to anyone…therefore if you enter the promotional code TEG123 when ordering you will receive a 10% discount. This d1scount is only offered to those who I refer to DrugTALK.
Thanks as always for your time and let us as a community and nation finally make a dent in this plague that effects us all.
” From Desper^tion to Dedication: Lessons You Can Bank On”…Click here to order
- E-Book– From Desperation to Dedication: Lessons You Can Bank On
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- CD– From Desperation to Dedication: The Success of an Educated Ex-Con
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- Book- Serving Time, Serving Others– A book in which I am a contributing author
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Subscriber opinions and impressions of this electronic newsletter: I invite subscribers to write me with their quest1ons as well and I will answer them in the next issue. Also readers, I invite you to send in profiles of yourself and how you have used the inform^tion from my electronic newsletter, products or speech in your personal and/or professional lives. Once a month I will feature one individual for all others to read about!
- An article in which I am fe^tured this past month-Click Here!
- A chapter of my first book- The Preface
- Top Seven Steps to Better Public Speaking- Click Here
- Health Tips- http://www.5aday.gov
- Article on winn1ng the fight between you and the clock- Click Here
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- Goals- http://www.markvictorhansen.com/goalrush.pdf, go^l setting and achievement suggestions from one of the all time greats.
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About the Author- Troy Evans is a professional speaker and author who resides in Phoenix, AZ with his wife Pam and his dog Archibald. Troy travels the country delivering keynote presentations, and since his release from prison has taken the corporate and association pl^tforms by storm. Overcoming adversity, adapting to change and pushing yourself to realize your full potential- other speaker’s talk about these issues, Troy has walked them.
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