One of my friends on facebook who follows my “Gusto” page sent me a private message saying she has family members whose husbands are abusive alcoholics and that she would suggest they take a look at this site. She also mentioned she was sure it wasn’t the only thing to be discussed among us and she’s absolutely right. That’s my hope and intent as well, very much so. That’s why I’m encouraging you to share of yourselves.

Having said that however, it should be obvious now that many of the emotions and the way that I live today is driven by my experience with an insidious disease. So, I ask for your patience and understanding. I’d like to think I’m not one-dimensional; I adore music, love a good joke, or just to talk about silly mundane things that happen in our daily lives.

Even so, allow me to describe what the word FREEDOM means to me. I remember a young man, can’t recall his name now, but he was about 20, a fellow “cell-mate” for about three months, tall, very intelligent, and was from a well-respected and wealthy family in the Dallas, TX. area. His Dad is a top-notch lawyer, his mother a deeply spiritual lady, he had one brother and I could tell he came from a family of wealth and influence. He was about to be released from jail, after being charged with felony possession of nearly a pound of cocaine, felony firearm possession, fleeing & eluding, etc. I also remember he read a lot and he was one of the very few people I encountered there and afterwards that I found I could connect with from an intelligence perspective.

So, I asked him the day before he was “getting out” after we talked about what it had been like in jail. I asked him point blank, “What is the very FIRST thing you will do when you walk out of here?” I’ll never forget what he said. “I’m going to ask my Mom to take me to McDonald’s.” I stood there and just looked at him in complete disbelief for the longest time. So I said, “That’s it? That’s all? Just go to McDonald’s?” He said, “yep.” I said, “are you fucking kidding me!?” And he replied why Gus? What are YOU going to do when you get out? The first thing that popped out of my mouth was this. “I’m going to walk outside, look up into the sky all around me, then go to the courthouse lawn, get down on my hands and knees, and smell freshly-cut grass as close to my nose as possible.” He looked at me like, “dude, what planet are you from?” That’s when I smiled because I knew. He didn’t know the value of freedom. To this day, I’m convinced this young man likely ended up right back in prison, probably for many reasons. But the SINGLE most important one was this: He hadn’t lost enough “blood” yet and didn’t have a full understanding nor appreciation for the word FREEDOM.

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