“I’m not just an addict. I’m so much more.”

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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Removing Chains of Child Abuse Book Review

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The collective voices of this anthology rise up as a rightful specter over the insidious realities of child abuse in all its forms. Thank you to its authors for finding the courage to speak to child abuse’s immediate and long-lasting effects. Whether you are a similar victim – or not – the take-away from this worthy effort is one of great emotion and necessary education. Only through the later, can we cause change. A must read…

Removing Chains of Child Abuse

The short stories, art and poetry collected in Removing Chains Child of Abuse are from survivors of human trafficking, child abuse and bullying.

This project was made possible through our Community Partnership with Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through various programs. This includes our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program.

These powerful stories allowed those who submitted them to experience writing and art as therapy. They give hope to the survivors reading them that they are not alone and they too can recover. This book is packed with resources  for those still suffering, as well as signs to look for if someone suspects that a child is being abused. Book includes a journal at the back. Proceeds from book sales benefit Ark of Hope for Children.

Buy The Book $16.99Download The eBook $11.99

Life is hard.  Life is not fair.

Forward from Stories of Hope

Life is hard.  Life is not fair.  We’ve all heard these phrases, spoken them ourselves about our own lives, and helped family or friends through circumstances where these phrases apply all too well.   Some of us, if we are lucky, don’t have to endure the heartache these simple words bring with them until we are well into adulthood and can somewhat deal with them in a healthy way.  Some of us too, have these fantastic support systems of friends and family to help us through times that challenge us.  But then there are those of us whom, for unknown reasons, get thrust into challenges and dire situations at a much too early age.  How does the universe determine who gets to breeze through life with few problems and who has to endure tribulations that sometimes we think we will never survive?  We may never understand why certain things happen to some people and not others, and maybe we aren’t meant to understand.

What we do know is how we handle these events can either plunge us deeper into despair and sorrow, or catapult us to a better place if we so choose to channel our energies in that direction.  This may be an easier task if you have had enough life experience to truly comprehend what is going on and make the right decisions moving forward.  But when life deals you a bad hand earlier in life, those experiences are not generally there to draw from.  We do not even know where to start, or how to start, in picking up the pieces and changing the direction of the momentum in our lives.

Having taught for 14 years, I have seen a lot of kids endure some pretty ugly situations.  For some of them, they still struggle to overcome their challenges, to change their life’s path.  Some still do drugs.  Some still sexually offend.  The list is lengthy and sad.  Some have even committed crimes that have landed them behind bars as adults.  So many of these kids have gone through things in their incredibly short lives, which most middle-aged adults would shudder at the thought of going through.  It is so difficult to see them battle within themselves and try to comprehend why they struggle so much to “get it together.”

But then, every once in a while, you come across a kid with something deep inside of them that you can sense, but can’t explain.  These kids have a drive within them that pushes them, propels them to do something, to change their life’s path.  And they do! Why does this happen for some and not others? You see the same type of kids in front of you who go through the same kinds of life-altering events in their lives, yet the outcomes are so vastly different.

Every single one of these adolescents is a very special person with an incredibly varying list of difficulties and struggles.  However, woven throughout these adversities sometimes emerges an inner spirit, a drive for change and for something better.  They all have a story to share, and a lot of times they want to share it, need to share it.  These are the stories of those kids who overcame their challenges, and of those who continue to battle them.

Eric is currently conducting one of his workshops in-house with our students.  I have been completely blown away by the response that our students have given Eric and this program.  I have kids in class who struggle to write a sentence for me, write an entire page in a few minutes for Eric! Kids who have declared loud and clear to me, “I don’t write. I don’t like to write. I can’t write. You can’t make me write” who end up writing; and write from their gut.  Some of the responses from my kids:

“I love this workshop. I have never wanted to write before. Now I do.”

“I can’t believe that I am going to be a published author!”

“I want to write a book now!”

Eric really works to connect with the kids on an emotional level and can elicit written responses from them that astound me. He works from the very beginning to create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety that allows these kids to express themselves not only on paper, but also verbally in front of their peers. It is an extremely awesome scene to witness. You can definitely feel the healing that is going on with the kids through this process.  The kids want to continue to write and carry the process on long after Eric is gone. Some even ask to work on their own stories in class and after their work is done.  Kids ASKING to write because they WANT to.

This workshop is truly amazing and will touch whoever chooses to embrace it and dig deep into themselves.


Sarah Lankford

Special Education Teacher

State of Missouri

About Stories of Hope:

Stories of Hope is a compilation of heart wrenching, and liberating short stories written by youth participating in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ around the world. Through a unique structure offering both engagement -and reward, this workshop brings education and passion together in a way that offers permanent life changing impact. As noted in the forward by educator Sarah Lankford, these unique and amazing individuals have received a rare opportunity to share a story they needed to share … and develop a love of writing as a result.


eBook:$9.99 USD
Soft Cover: $12.99 USD
Size: 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 158 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1537368849
ISBN-10: 1537368842
buy-nowBISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / General
Purchase a copy of the book or download the eBook and enjoy it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates from our workshops in the United States on Facebook at: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in North America.