Did you find prison or “real” life less free/more painful? How much time did you serve btw and what for (if you don’t mind my asking)?
I served over 5 years of a 90-month sentence. I was convicted of distributing cocaine and being in possession of an unregistered firearm. I found the beginning of my prison sentence, the first year or so, the most painful. Adjusting was difficult and I never want to experience that again. Locked in small rooms for days or weeks, very little human interaction, being transferred in the most uncomfortable situations possible, learning how to live in a place where you can trust nobody. But after I got used to doing time, it became a routine and I just put my head down and churned through the days. Life outside of prison is difficult. There are a lot of expectations in the U.S. to make tons of money, and we are all judged by social standards. But, freedom cannot be beat. I’ll choose that over captivity 100% of the time. I don’t concern myself with little worries as much and concentrate on letting others live their lives however they want, and me just minding my own business.
So I used to be terribly fascinated with prison documentaries, particularly the MSNBC ones…how realistic have you found them to be if you’ve ever watched any? I also notice since we follow each other on Goodreads that you also read memoirs of others who have served time. Why?
Much of what you see on documentaries or TV is sensationalized as it must be interesting to watch for ratings. Most of prison is just extremely boring, sad, filled with anxiety, frustrating, with a bit of anger and defending yourself against people always trying to take advantage of you. Mind games. Those shows are interesting to watch because they show what really happens. The danger, the power struggles, the gangs, the people taking advantage of others. But, the excitement comes in spurts. There is a lot of down time between a few minutes of action. Then the pressure cooker of thinking in between.
I read books by those who have served time to see if they are conveying a good message for people to resonate with. The good ones are the books that share a story with a lesson learned. The ones that are more braggy about being a criminal are not as interesting. I am not impressed with people who don’t evolve in life and mature/learn lessons.
Let me ask, were you in and out of prison your whole life? What was it about this time that changed you? As opposed to serving your time and just going back out and doing the same thing?
I had never been in any trouble, really, before my arrest. I had no interest in getting back into criminal activity the minute I got arrested. It was a good wake-up call for me to get my life back in order. A good jolt. Never imagined I would be in prison. I have a college degree, worked in corporate America, father a doctor, mother a dental hygienist, played sports in high school. Prison was a wake-up call that I needed. Being around all these different types of people humbled me. Now, I don’t live a life to impress others. All that matters is helping those who are close to me and keeping my life simple.
You mentioned when I initially contacted you that you had just spoken at a college and appeared on a spiritually-based podcast. What was the talk at the college about? What did you discuss spiritually on the podcast?
The college class was studying a section about drug abuse and its effects on mental health. I write about this in my book since I had a drug habit for years, but felt it was more of a mental health issue for me instead of a true physical addiction. The talk with the college went very well as they asked tons of questions and were engaged for the entire hour. I felt like it helped them academically and personally. I was encouraged to see young people showing interest and getting involved in the conversation.
The spiritually-based podcast will be released in November. I talk about connecting with my spirituality while I was doing years in federal prison. She wanted to interview me about my different perspectives. I am very involved in connecting with a higher power as I feel that so many things in this world are fake (especially in the mainstream news), so I concentrate on truth in life…this has led me to be more spiritual. Truth feels good and natural. To keep myself living at a higher vibration I meditate and pray regularly. I visualize what I want in life and appreciate nature. I also enjoy your blog posts because they are not grounded in following the herd. You write about people thinking for themselves. My beliefs are not so much politically left or right as I really believe in the inherent right to freedom of choice for every human.
Here is a link to a short clip of the podcast. It will be released in its entirety sometime in Nov. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VycD9pNjRk
“…but felt it was more of a mental health issue for me instead of a true physical addiction.” This is an interesting statement. Could you clarify this, between a “mental health issue” and a “true” physical addiction. What is a “true” physical addiction?
So, a physical addiction is that craving to always alter your natural state of mind. Through alcohol, sugar, smoking, drugs, etc. Especially with drugs like heroin, meth, or crack a person has serious withdrawals. The only way to not feel sick or depressed is to do more drugs. Some people feel physically sick without drugs and doing them doesn’t get them high anymore, it only removes the sickness. I felt this at times, but was able to eventually stop when I wanted to. It was more of a way to deal with social anxiety that I chose to do drugs. Thinking I was more interesting if I was high. The mistake of being out of my mind distanced me from people instead of drawing me closer…so it had the wrong effect on me. I really haven’t had trouble quitting drugs; mostly I still struggle with anxiety, so I do other things like meditating, fasting, exercise, and reading to help with anxiety. It is still a struggle, but by not doing drugs and doing healthier activities it is so much better. The idea of doing drugs now makes me feel ill. I still am around people who drink and smoke pot, and for some reason that doesn’t bother me. Probably because they are more socially acceptable these days.
A true physical addiction develops after doing drugs for an extended amount of time. Pain meds can give a person flu-like symptoms when a person stops taking them, thus people crave the pain meds to keep the flu-like symptoms away. Stopping meth after extended use can make a person extremely sluggish, and often they cannot keep consciousness. It can take several weeks to get back to normal after stopping prolonged meth usage. Quitting drinking after extended daily use can make a person sick in a way that is hard on the heart. Smokers get short-tempered and hungry after stopping. Quitting caffeine brings on headaches. These are just a few examples. My mental health struggles consist more of how to fit in. Please people, to seem interesting. I foolishly thought doing and selling drugs would give me higher social status, as people would be impressed if I had good drugs. A very immature way of thinking.
Thanks for the compliment about my blog, and yes, you are absolutely right about truth just feeling good and natural. That’s beautiful. Because God is the truth, and the truth is God; God is good all the time. Unfortunately, fake feels natural to the world and most people and that’s why they’re in hell, and it’s hell.
How did you get started with your memoir? (I haven’t read it and don’t know if I will, but I enjoy your writing when you do post on Goodreads from time to time) Were you writing before?
I got started on my memoir when I was locked down for 7 months in a federal holding facility. It was a mental strain to be confined in a small room all day, one of the hardest things I have ever done. Writing really helped me mentally, and eventually spiritually. It was at that time when I decided to make some major changes, do better in life, and keep track of those changes over the years I was going to have to be in prison. I was sentenced to 90 months and it was all I could do to keep my sanity. Keeping track of the mundane day-to-day helped make sense of what I was going through. Also, I got a degree in journalism and have worked for several media companies, both in writing and marketing. Unfortunately, I have less respect for the media than I had 20 years ago. It is mostly propaganda now, not truth.
Corbin Bosiljevac’s memoir On to the Next Thing: A Memoir on Crime, Choices & Change is available on Amazon here and Barnes & Noble here. For media inquiries, please contact Corbin Bosiljevac at 620.794.8147 or 913.343.5299, or firstname.lastname@example.org.