I m deep in the bowls of the rehab wing – By @13samuels

Sam Markham

By Sam Markham


I’m deep in the bowls of the rehab wing


I’m deep in the bowls of the rehab wing of a north London prison, it’s two days before Christmas. The man sitting next to me leans in close and asks…
‘Are you a prisoner, are you one of us?’
‘No I’m not’ I say looking around at the others in the room. I look to my left,my fellow volunteer is not there. I look around the room making eye contact with everyone, I am painfully aware that I’m the only outsider and there is not a guard in sight. The moment passes and the other volunteer returns.

My friend to my right leans in close…
‘ Give me your hat… It’s Christmas …
Oh come on please!’
He jumps up and bounces out of the room. I am relived, not really for me but for the few prisoners who genuinely want to be there. This is the second time in a week they have been let out of their cells. Their options they could have chosen were exercise, phone calls, or showers so the fact that they choose to sit and listen to me is fucking nuts, honestly! But that’s why I m there to tell my story and how up to today have abstained from the use of drugs and alcohol.

Have I been to prison ? No.
Should I have? Yes.

All blind luck really, I could quite have easily been sitting in their chairs. I explain my experience that once I start I can’t stop and it’s a crap shoot as to what happens… The details are not something to be aired here, but we all nodded in identification and discussion followed.
The hour ended and we all shook hands …
They each came up to me
‘ Thank you, Sam’
Shit! They ‘re thanking me… They remember my name… I can’ t really say what I m thinking…
‘No , thank you! I m so grateful I m not in here, thanks for reminding me of where addiction can take me.’
I just smiled and wished them luck.
It says so trite to say but when I got back outside I had a spring in my step… I had a glimpse of my nightmare, certainly makes things taste sweeter. The experience was worth it and I pray those guys can break the cycle.

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