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Take Your Time

Eddie | Graduated December 2021

Brothers and sisters, if you’re considering what to do next, let me share a little about my personal experience.

I feel elated given this opportunity to speak to you about the time I got to write in New Freedom’s Navigator newsletter. I sat right where many inmates sat where those letters were the only mail we got inside. In that issue, our theme was “Full 360°” and every story was from individuals that have participated in mentorship on the yard, released to New Freedom, Graduated, and then became employed at New Freedom. They blazed the trail for me to follow and we have the pleasure today to keep that path open for the next guy or girl looking for something with depth and weight.

In prison, I started reading books. I felt I had a lot to catch up on as far as obtaining knowledge, especially about myself. I came across a writing by Socrates at one point and a specific quote resonated with me; “He who cannot master himself, is condemned to find a master for himself” It wasn’t easy to face but that was me. For example, due to my self-imposed imprisonment, Department of Corrections had become my masters. I could say the same thing about drugs and alcohol.


At 45 years old, I didn’t have a clue who I was or why I was there once again.

This compelled me to explore my truths. In conclusion, I learned that most of the things I thought, believed, and were taught, were falsehoods. When sharing my insight with a friend of mine who happened to be a lifer, he reached down into his box, and handed me the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. He also gifted me with some wise words, “Take your time” he said. I read the book looking up every word I did not understand. I chased after the concepts in those teachings with the same zeal I pursued in my addiction.

“Every time I walked through these doors, I received the same kind of love I felt on my first day here. That in turn, has been what has compelled me to be that love for others.”

One day, someone posted on the bulletin board a flyer for RSS classes being offered.

I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about addiction and myself. While in the class I heard about New Freedom Project from my mentors and peers. When I first heard of it, it sounded too good to be true. The more I heard, I was pretty sure it was B.S. I graduated the RSS class in the midst of the Pandemic and sent out a letter to NFP to learn more about the mentorship program. A guy named Carlos wrote me back, and we continued to exchange letters back and forth. I began to look forward to the lessons and the newsletters. I dug into the lessons, those questions made me think hard about myself and that was what I wanted. I figured from New Freedom’s perspective; the lessons were a vetting process to see if people were a good fit for New Freedom. I wanted to be a good fit because I wanted to do something I had never done before, to get something I never had before.

That something was peace, love, and an overwhelming sense of purpose. In 2021, the dust began to settle from the pandemic, and I was approved for a Senate Bill. I was released with roughly 100 others all coming to New Freedom at once. It was an amazing day, all the stories I heard on the yard about New Freedom were true. They accepted me with open arms of love. It was something I needed and yearned for. In turn, it created a new social and spiritual standard for me. I wanted what they had and I was willing to go to any lengths to get it. I knew exactly how If you’re ready for change, if you want to find love peace and a flowing sense of direction, here we are, ready to serve.

I ended up achieving all sorts of things while at New Freedom I never thought possible.

I learned that my service to others is proportionate to my rewards on this planet, period! That is the truth as I know it. With that kind of motivation, I just kept coming back to serve, even after my graduation. Every time I walked through these doors, I received the same kind of love I felt on my first day here. That in turn, has been what has compelled me to be that love for others.

Now that I am an employee at New Freedom and have the opportunity to tour new members just arriving, I always like to inform them; they have just won the lottery of reinvention. I explain by saying, “Now, you get to be anything you want to be, you have 90 days to figure out what that looks like”. I take them to their beautiful room which has pillow top beds and flat screen T.V.s which are much larger than the 13’ we were used to. I ask them for their net bag, pause for a moment, and say, “no disrespect intended” while dumping all the contents on the bed. My goal is to show them that these are all of the things that have been provided for them because even if nobody else cares, we do! We offer clothes, hygiene, and assurance that all their immediate needs will be taken care of, day one. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what love is.