Rehabilitation is an attitude

I wrote a post earlier today which can be seen below as it is one that indirectly brought the term rehabilitation to the forefront of my thoughts once again.

#labels. Our priorities change as our years progress and I’m sure there’s no need for me to list examples. #parenthood

Over the last three years I have found that a large part of my belief system has also changed, especially in relation to labels.

I’m used to having labels attached to me, it has been a process I accepted a number of years ago. I either embraced whatever particular label or I merely played up to it. The latter diminishing the older I got.

Con, lag, prisoner, Mr or just my surname mattered not to me while I lived that side of the wall. As long as I was treated right and provided with purposeful activity I was happy with any term. “Oi!”, probably not so much.

I would roll my eyes whenever I saw threads and threads of discussions on social media about what to call prisoners. I do still feel that prisoner and therefore, ex-prisoner are perfect terms no matter what, however, there is some language being used with which I am beginning to take umbrage with on many an occasion.

I suppose because I was living the life I was and accepted the labels I was given it was very easy not to see the bigger picture.

Now I have cut the apron strings that once attached me to the criminal justice system, and for nearly four decades, my priorities have changed.’

No doubt people are aware of one definition of rehabilitation where it states it is “the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction or illness.”


Is it?

And! What is a ‘normal life’?

Or! Who determines what a ‘normal life’ is?

Let’s say, for arguments sake, you break your leg or seriously damage your knee ligaments playing football. Obviously, you will be out for a specific number of weeks or months. However, when you step back onto that pitch would you not be very conscious of your previous injury? Can you play freely with that knowledge and play your ‘normal’ game?

So, what would constitute a previously injured football player who was rehabilitated?

Is the player rehabilitated because he is back playing?

What about the trauma of being injured and the thought process of being injured again?

Or the time not playing and socialising?

Is a former prisoner who no longer commits crime therefore, considered rehabilitated?

I’d like to think that my post I shared is evidence that as a ‘normal’ member of society, and at the age of 50, I’m still learning. I’m, if you like, still training and receiving therapy. No doubt a process that will continue for the rest of my life as I look to be a better me every day.

As a former prisoner is that for me not still a process of reform I am following because of my rehabilitative attitude?

I am not sure I would even say I had a ‘normal life’ even though I am a long way down the reform process.

Can anyone after COVID say what a ‘normal life’ is?

Then again, what has got each of us through the lockdown so far?

I’d suggest a lot of it is down to attitude as we looked to adapt to a different way of living.

This is why for me and as my featured image alludes to, rehabilitation is an attitude, reform is the process and education is the key to unlocking it. The attitude that is.

Education isn’t and doesn’t always have to be academic. At the end of the day, it’s usually bedtime but, not only are we all, everyone of us, students of life, we are also teachers of knowledge.

Every day is a learning process.

Every day is an education.

I’d like to think that today you have learnt that rehabilitation isn’t a destination but it is, in fact, an attitude.


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