My name is Reginald “RaRah” Bratchett, and I am a drug addict.  I have had a long struggle with the truth of this affliction. Until recently, I have depended on stimulants and hallucinogens to compromise the deficits of my two life-long illnesses: Mental Health and Neurological Disorders.

As a teenager I didn’t experiment with much more than the superficial party drugs like marijuana, alcohol, and pills. Later on, in my early adulthood, I was soon abusing over the counter pharmaceuticals as well as prescription medication. I also acquainted myself with LSD, ecstasy, cocaine and mushrooms. I used recreationally, and was a well functioning independent workaholic. At this time I was a father of four.

In my line of work I put in many strenuous hours. It was hard labor with very little rest or sleep. Sleep was just something I didn’t do much of, whether I had a long day or not. I could go work an 8 hour shift, go home, sleep two hours, wake up and bang out another shift. I lived like this for the greater part of my twenties. All the while -unaware of the underlying problem: narcolepsy.

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 12. The lack of sleep coupled with my psychological issues was quietly tearing me down. I always pushed myself beyond my limitations. I took pride in my extraordinary stamina, and would brag about it at times.I was now battling short term memory loss, hallucinations, blackouts and self-medicating seemed like my only option if I still wanted to continue supporting my family.

The earliest and most memorable incident I remember was in fall of 2012. I lived in a rural township about 75 miles outside of the city. Work was plenty back then, and my body was quite fit and fairly stocked. I pulled as many clients as I could. I would work 7 days a week and come home once a week to be with my family. Many weeks when money was good I would commute daily and I was always driving long distances. I was driving my brand new Hyaundai Sante Fe early morning after just finishing a 14 hour moving job in Janesville, Wisconsin. I was traveling at first light north on Highway 26. For those who don’t know, it can be a pretty busy highway. I was not tired and didnt want to spend half of what I earned for the day on a hotel. I wanted to just make the drive home.

As I’m driving down the highway, I begin to dream about fishing and starting a campfire. The air smelled like home and the fire was really warm then …bang! I woke up doing 70 mph off the shoulder of the road and feeling mailboxes bust open underneath the bottom anatomy of my Santa Fe. My dog, Magik, who I almost always had with me, flies forward from the passenger seat and cracks my windshield as I slammed on the brakes. His yelp was what jarred my consciousness to realize that I had been dreaming. The dream was now over, and I was awake, flying to my Death! END OF TEASER Read the rest of Reginald’s story in Peers Pages and Pencils. 

Peers Pencils & Pages Cover 300dpiAvailable November 25, 2019

Peers Pencils & Pages is the first installment in a series of short stories and memoirs written by men and women working to successfully complete probation and/or parole.  Peer support programs throughout the US have shown to increase the successful completion of probation or parole supervision from 30% to 50%, through the use of a “credible messenger”, an individual that has been part of these systems.

Peers Pencils & Pages was first developed and successfully piloted as the Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Peer Support Program through a partnership with Texas ReEntry Services. Together, we offered the program as a realistic criminal justice strategy aimed at safely reducing the State’s costly reliance on incarceration– creating stronger families, less taxpayer waste, and safer communities.

Peers Pencils & Pages empowers those willing to share their story to become a “credible messenger” helping to connect with a peer, connect the peer to recovery and so much more. The numbers show us that we have to do more to reduce the impact of incarceration on our society and economy.  That’s why for every paperback I sell, I’m going to give one away to men and women on probation and parole throughout Arkansas and Texas.

Eric Jones, Editor-in-Chief, TGIM Digital Publishing

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