Friday, September 17, 2010

Update On A Friend

Back on June 16th I posted a character reference letter I wrote on behalf a young friend.

Joe begins to repay his debt to society today. He will be spending about 3 months in the county prison, if he behaves himself there and I am certain he will, he will be transferred to a rehab center for another 3 months. He will be spending the weekend going through tests and orientation and then enter the facility full time as of Monday. Joe will not be placed with the general population but rather with the work release group during his time as a guest of the county.

A few weeks ago Joe told me that he did not think that he had a drinking problem, I just stood there glaring at him as I started to wave him off and just walk away he tried to explain. He said he knows he has a problem but he just does not think that the drinking is the core issue and he is hoping to spend his time away getting to what the real problem is He has some serious anger issues and the reckless behavior he has exhibited is a result. He is looking forward to working on his demons and knows he is going to come out of this a changed man. He is determined to close the book on this chapter of his life and begin anew.

I have warned his friends that the Joe they are saying goodbye to this week will not be the Joe they greet this spring when he is released. He will be sober and if my past experience is any indication it is all he is going to want to talk about. He is not going to want to do the same things he did before and some of them may feel some rejection as he puts some distance between himself and those who empowered his previous behavior. They may not like him very much and he may not like them in return. If they truly love their friend Joe they are going to have to accept the new guy and support him as he faces his future or they are going to get pushed aside. I hope they really are his friend.

Here is the e-mail he sent me at 2:30 this morning:

I will write you about getting me a book. I do not know too much about the details yet and probably won't for sure until I am in population Sunday or Monday. I am partially dreading the morning and partially relieved to finally be getting this out of the way so I can get on with my life. I am most concerned not with myself but my loved ones who will be stressing over me the entire time I am away. I somehow feel like this ordeal will be harder on them than it is on me. So I will write until my hand falls off and keep myself busy with letters and visits and phone calls as much as I can. I am even toying with the idea of writing about my experience throughout this. Might make for interesting reading years from now. At any rate, my long year of waiting, speculation and hoping for the best while dreading the worst is finally over. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your support Donald; you are a very good friend.

One of the things Joe and I have in common is our love for what used to be called Social Studies and as you may imagine I have a ton of books that fit into that category. I am going to be spending the next few weeks hitting the bargain bins to find some other books that I hope will teach, inspire and entertain my young friend. I cannot send him any books that involve pornography, violence, drugs, racism or any other antisocial behavior. If you have any suggestions please share them with me.

I will think about Joe every day and I hope that he comes out of this ordeal a better man. He is one of the brightest young men I have ever met and once he pulls it all together I don’t think anything will stop him from becoming a great success at whatever he chooses to do with his life. If you get a chance give a thought to my friend and wish him well. Note; Joe is not his real name so when speaking to G-D, Buddha, Krishna, Mother Earth, Karma, Bruce Springsteen or any other higher power you can refer to him as Donald Flad Jr’s friend.


  1. Dear Joe...I am certain "good Things" will come to you. Out of all the bad expierences you have had, only good can prevail. My thoughts & prayers are with you:) My opinion of you now is so much greater than it ever was. You are a true Man, in every sense of the word.Its unfortunate we all learn differnt lessons , different ways, some hader than others but a lesson learned good or bad, is...a lesson learned. Just remember, there are lots of people standing behind, you & next to you when you feel darkened, we are there.! Until then Joe, my prayers are with you & your family & I look forward to meeting you again. The real you! Good Luck seems so immature, but I wish you all the very best....With Love ,from Donald Flad Jr's friend K.R.

  2. I wish the young man all the best. As long as he does what he is told and follows all the rules set forth, he should be okay.

    As for books, you might want to stick to the classics. I picked up Moby Dick the other month and was reminded of how well it was written. The short stories of F Scott Fitzgerald are very entertaining. Sherlock Holmes I always found to be a good read as well. Short story, science fiction is a good escape read: try Frederick Pohl, Ray Bradbury or Isaac Asimov. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land is a favorite of mine. There are scads of inspirational books that may be useful. For helping him think beyond his own plight, try Why Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner.

    You can probably pick these and other books up very cheap at a local used book store or get them used at Amazon and have them sent directly to him. I've also sent inmates a cash card good at Amazon so they can select their own books if they have access to a computer.

  3. I too wish the young man all the best. I know there is a really good man inside that must work out his issues. I hope this time of "reflection" and being away from the "demons" out here will allow him to find that good man and be the best that he can be when he is set free. I also believe he can be whatever he wants to be!