Blair found who she was when she went to prison.
Blair grew up fast. She didn't have any other choice.
Her parents divorced when she was young, and her step dad was emotionally abusive. She felt responsible for her two brothers, her mother, and herself.
"I felt like I was a mother to them," Blair says about her brothers. "I was responsible to them, for what they saw; and I felt like I needed to protect them from what was going on in the home."
She spent so much time taking care of everyone else that she forgot to take care of herself.
GROWING UP TOO SOON
For a while, it looked like things were getting better. Blair met someone and started a family of her own. She had a job as a certified nurse's assistant and a daughter with her husband.
But when things took a turn for the worse and her marriage fell apart, Blair wasn't sure how to handle it. Following in her parents' footsteps, she turned to drugs.
"Growing up, I didn't have those values; I didn't have those coping skills because I had never seen those demonstrated in my home life," she says. "I resorted to drug use—to numbing those emotions because I didn't know how else to deal with them."
Drug use lead to losing her daughter and her home, along with her husband. In order to make ends meet, Blair started stealing people's identities and credit cards.
"I was completely lost, and at the end of myself," she recalls. She used the cards she stole to pay for hotel rooms to have somewhere to stay for the night, or "to buy materialistic stuff to make me feel better while I was stuck in this dark hole."
Soon the drugs and theft landed Blair in prison for eight years.
At the end of her rope, Blair found prison to be the answer to her struggles.
"When I reached prison, it was like a breath of fresh air," Blair says. "At least I couldn't be as self-destructive as much as I [once] was."
Besides her physical situation, Blair was broken spiritually too. She was angry at God for what had happened to her. She didn't understand why her life had unfolded the way it had. Hitting the bottom helped her adjust her thinking.
Blair explains that she had an "adolescent" understanding of who God was and how He worked in her life. "Everything was His fault. [But] when I came to prison it was as if He was there with me. And I felt Him."
Not long after Blair arrived, the Prison Fellowship Academy™ came to her prison. Determined not to let her time behind bars be wasted, she signed up right away.
Here, Blair’s past started to catch up to her—she was denied entrance into the program because of her substance abuse treatment. But Blair knew she needed to be in the program.
"Normally I would take no for an answer," she said. "Something pushed me, it was like 'no, you have to work for this.'"
Instead of giving up, she asked the warden to advocate for her to get into the program. And it worked. After the warden explained the situation, Blair was accepted into the Academy. Nothing has been the same since.
The Prison Fellowship Academy changed everything for Blair—how she thinks, how she handles her emotions, and how she sees herself.
"Throughout this journey, [the Academy] has taught me things I didn't even realize were a problem," she said. "It helped me to get to know myself. I can say now that I truly love myself when I have never felt that way in my entire life."
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