Ex-Cons Reveal The Prison Habits They Had Trouble Letting Go Of After Their Release
_Prison is a no joke, no fun situation, and surviving prison is a miracle unto itself. One's life as an inmate is not their own. Your every second is monitored, accounted for and controlled. Each person who lives has to figure out ways to get through and survive and if possible, thrive. There are a ton of daily quirks and routines you pick up along the way. Some you don't even notice until you breath free air again. _
Redditor _\KimJongChilled _**wanted to know **Ex-cons of Reddit: What was the hardest prison-habit to break after being released? **_Some of the answers will surprise you. _**
ONLY PLASTICS FOR YOU FRIEND!
Staring at sharp things. Like there is no desire to use them inappropriately but you are just kinda shocked they're there and available for use. You might be surprised what qualifies as a sharp object. I remember whenever someone tried to hand me a knife or something to cut veggies I'd be afraid to touch it. Glass was the biggest thing though, just mirrors in all the bathrooms. real ones. I could smash that shit and have a big jagged weapon, i cant believe this italian restaurant has such a dangerous thing in their bathroom. stopping thinking of objects as weapons is hard.
THANKS FOR SHARING...
Going to poop with my underwear up to my thighs to hide my junk. It took a long time to go back to pants around the ankles.
YOU MAY HAVE SECONDS AND THIRDS...
One of my foster sons came to us from juvie. Every meal his arm was around his plate and he woofed down his food. My mastiff couldn't keep up. He always ate back to the wall hunched. Took my wife and I a month to show him no one would take his food and we had plenty more. Funny part is he went in the Marines and did 8 years got out honorable and is now working in corrections.
HOARDERS: PRISON EDITION.
I don't smoke, but every time someone offered me a cig I would pocket it. on the inside thats a bartering chip, took me about a month or two to break.
NOTHING WRONG WITH A NEVER NUDE.
Not wearing shoes in the shower. Eating with forks and knives. Having salt and pepper for food. Not always having to watch your back. Being able to get food when you want it, and just get up and leave to go for a drive or something.
THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE...
Constantly looking over my shoulder. By far the hardest conditioning to break, which I haven't and doubt I ever will, is the constant pessimism and cautious optimism. You see, when you're waiting to work your way through court, get a deal, and get sentenced, you will have your dates changed 50 times, hope for certain things only to be disappointed, and any time you are told something hopeful it doesn't work out.
As a result, I never get excited for something until it actually happens. When my wife told me we were pregnant (I already knew from her symptoms that she was but still, you never know for sure till you take the test), I was obviously happy, but because I'm always cautiously optimistic and rarely show emotion, I couldn't feel comfortable or excited until I knew that my developing daughter was healthy. Even then, it didn't really hit me till she was born.
You can apply this to anything especially big events. Getting engaged, planning the wedding, buying a house, ANYTHING. I still hear from my wife how i wasn't crazy surprised or excited to be having a kid. I was, I actually was the half of the relationship who was dead set on a kid when my wife supposedly could've gone either way.
You just can't get your hopes up or look forward to anything until it is here or has happened. I've been home over 7 years now and with my wife for 6.5. She's truly the catalyst that motivated me to truly change my life and to not give any more of my life to the system, but she'll never know how happy she makes me because she misinterprets my cautious optimism/realism for pessimism or indifference.
I didn't use a fork for a few weeks. Ate everything with a spoon without thinking. It's not the most interesting thing but I hadn't noticed it posted here.
NECESSITIES ARE VITAL...
Hoard feminine hygiene products. We were super limited on the number of pads or tampons they gave us. They didn't give any to the women in holding cells. There was dried and fresh menstrual blood on the floor and concrete benches, and a drain in the middle of the rooms like they intended to hose down the room, but if they did it was not often enough.
JUST CHANGING LIFE IN GENERAL.
I eat fast.
I don't sit with my back to the door in public.
I always scan crowds constantly.
I question WHY people are nice to me.
I carry extra clothes, water, and various other things in my car in case I need it. (Not a hoarder but harder to get rid of stuff)
I don't like being away from home overnight.
I also quit eating boiled eggs, I over season my food, and I refuse to drink Kool-Aid anymore.
LIVING WITH THE SILENCE.
Not an ex con but my step dad has been in and out of prison for the majority of his life, he always said that whenever he gets out of prison you're so use to to it being loud all the time that when he got home he couldn't sleep because it was so quiet.
WHY JUST ONE LEG?
Dude I work with said for the first little bit after getting out he would take a leg out of his pants when he'd poop. Not sure how common that was, dude's a fighter though, so maybe that had something to do with it.
I was only locked up for four months in total, all things considered I got off easy. Hardest habit to break was just doing something without telling someone else. Hard to remember that there's no authority figure once you're out.
LUXURIATING IS A GIFT...
Taking as long as you want in the shower. For the longest time after I got out, I took less than 5 minute showers.
EVERY MOMENT COUNTS, USE THEM WISELY...
I had to completely change my sense of time. I agree with all the people who said they ate super fast, but then we would slow walk back from the chow hall- any excuse for a few minutes more outside.
I made sure I never consolidated enjoyable things. If I had a snack- I ate it and concentrated on it. If there was something good on TV, I watched it. Now, I'll snack while I watch a movie because there aren't enough hours in the day- but on the inside I was trying to make hours and days go away.
I've got a good job now, and nice respectable friends, but I still react to confrontational situations more quickly, decisively and... efficiently than they do. I'm able to pull back at the last minute, but it's pretty clear that violence is not a tool in their arsenal.
JUST GO ABOUT YOUR DAY.
I spent 72 months in prison for a tragic car accident that I had caused. After I was released I kept telling my wife exactly what I was doing without her asking. She thought it was funny at first but after a few weeks of it she was starting to get bothered.
THE MENU HAS BROADENED.
Making prison commissary-only food. Everyone around me thinks it is gross as hell to throw summer sausages, pickles, cheese, doritos, cheetos, and such into my ramen noodles, but good lord, I can't stop, and I have been out for five years.
STOP THE OVERLAPPING!
Doing laps. In prison, every time you get time on the yard, you do laps. Seriously, almost every single person does it too. When you get out, it's hard to break that habit.
GOOD NIGHT SWEET PRINCE...
My ex would sleep a certain way all the time. To me it seemed like he was sleeping as if he was in a coffin,his arms crossed and wouldn't move the entire night for a couple months. He eventually broke that habit.
JUST GIVE SOMEONE A CHANCE.
A somewhat-friend of mine did a few years and the one habit he couldn't shake was distrusting people.
He said that people in prison are never nice, if they're nice it's because of a hidden motive. Up to this day he still doesn't trust people who act nice / generous / helpful / .. towards him.
SOMETIMES YOU FIND GOOD HABITS IN THE STRANGEST PLACES....
I did almost seven years. Been out two years. I'm 35. From Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a law called "Truth in Sentencing," _you do 100% of your time. There are multiple head counts where the guards make sure that all of the inmates are accounted for. Every morning at 5:00 a.m. I felt like I was doing something wrong if I slept past 5:00 a.m. It took me almost six months before I slept past 5:00. Even now, 6:00 a.m. is sleeping in for me. It has allowed me to never be late to work, and show up everyday. I was a drug dealer with no work ethic, and I slept until noon. Ironically, I am more successful than I ever thought I would be because of this habit. I actually just got poached by another company who offered me a 150% salary increase. Nice to see you, new tax bracket. In two years, I have become a model parolee. My life is great. I married my wife last September. I go to therapy for a multitude of conditions that manifested while I was a guest of the state. I was diagnosed with general and social anxiety disorder, and PTSD. I was out a few months and I had a panic attack. I had no idea what was happening to me. I was literally paralyzed and afraid. I thought prison ruined me. It made me a better person in general. I am not praising Wisconsin DOC by any means. The guards dehumanized the inmates and treated us like pure garbage with no hope. They always told people _"You'll be back."I won't be back. People that go back produce job security. They want people to come back so they do what they can to steal your dreams. I changed myself. Prison allowed me to step back and really look at my life. I saw who I hurt. I saw who was there for me. I saw who abandoned me. I became focused on change after my third year. I contemplated suicide because I wasn't even half done with my sentence. After I seriously thought about hanging my life up I committed myself to being the best human being I could be. I revolted by behaving, teaching myself things, and being positive. My life is now amazing. I'm surrounded by people who love me and support me. All of the \_"ex-cons" _reading this, and people just interested in this thread, that label is bullshit. We are human beings with feelings. We can change. Stay positive and stay hopeful. Never give up. All of my fellow Redditor's, one love.