The Uncut Truth, Volume 5

As a former drug trafficker, I’ve faced many challenges incarcerated. I had a cell partner, for example, who sold narcotics throughout the prison compound. He was anti-government with a rap sheet that screamed “career criminal.” No matter how discrete or respectful he “thought” he was, there was no way he could hide all of his business from me.

Everyday he brought bags of canteen into our assigned cell. His customers would pay him a visit just to say, “It’s done!” – which meant the Cash app was sent. With the prison administration denying my request for a cell change, I had to put my fate in God’s hands.

There is an old saying that goes: “If you hangout in a barbershop long enough, you will eventually get a haircut.” Despite there being different geographical contexts of that saying, the general concept remains the same: “If you associate with someone or something for a long period of time, you might adopt the characteristics of that someone or something.”

In my experience, the dangerous money comes faster than a 9 to 5. When you’re not financially stable and have been exposed to the drug trade, you consider distributing drugs to get on your feet. “I know I can’t do this forever. I will stop selling drugs after I reach my monetary goal of $100k,” are your thoughts. Although the fast money doesn’t really belong to drug dealers, the idea of making a minimum wage, two-week paycheck in one day is handsomely tempting. Earlier in my bid, I would’ve more than likely fell victim – likewise many at-risk teens – to the common “sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do in order to get where you want to go” type of thinking error.

With no food in my locker, no money on my books, no minutes on the phone, and repeated urges of a recovering addict, most people would’ve seized the opportunity to use or sell a sack (drugs). However, I stayed focused – I didn’t fall into the devil’s trap the entire year I was cell partners with a drug dealer.

God gave me the strength back then to combat evil temptations. Today, my desire to say “no” has been the result of a beautiful, painful healing journey. In the process of me correcting my then distorted mentality, I realized why I wasn’t succeeding in life. I was unsuccessfully wasting my time on get-rich-quick schemes. It wasn’t long after that I made a promise to myself: “I will no longer take the easy way out; either I work hard or have nothing. Since that revelation, I slang ink (pens) instead of drugs for every penny I make.

What daily challenges do you face?