Already I'm seeing how much this changes things for me. This law means that I could be able to go before the parole board by 2018 and get a chance to go home. A chance to start over, maybe somewhere new, with all of the skills that I've learned in the past fifteen years. Even just this past year I've undergone another transformational process, through an experience which very few prisoners ever get, and half of it was in a clinical setting. The other half happened in rigorous classwork where I studied and talked about things like the alcoholic family system, childhood trauma, co-occurring disorders, mood disorders, different types of psychotherapies, the characteristics and skills of good counselors, law & ethics, problem-solving, the addiction cycle, criminal behaviors, self-defeating behaviors, triggers for use, high-risk situations, warning signs, CBT skills, managing denial, and relapse prevention.
At the time when I was learning everything I secretly wished I could use all this knowledge in society, helping hard-to-reach at-risk youth. Now that secret wish is looking more like a possibility. It's still not a fact, but it is much closer to the realm of reality than it was before, and that's good enough for now.