I am writing you to let you know that the decisions I made at a young age has caught up to me.
I mean I started to use meth when I was 14 years old and at 16 years old I started to inject the meth.
I am now 40 years old and I been sober since June 5, 2017. Sixteen years ago, I got diagnosed with Hepatitis C and there’s a 50/50 chance I won’t survive this time. I am on a strict diet as in I can’t really eat anything this prison gives us to eat or I can’t drink anything except water and I have to do more exercise than I already do.
I have lost 45 pounds in nine weeks and my stomach and ankles and eyes keep swelling up and when I use the restroom I bleed a lot and I get dizzy a lot. There is no medicine that the doctor can give me to help me out so I am in this fight almost alone. All I have is God on my side and I believe that God is all I need, I just have to ask for help and believe He’ll help me out and He will when He wants to.
I have to continue to fight this fight the best I can and do what the doctor has told me to do. You know what sucks the most? The doctor told me that if I don’t fight for my life I won’t last long enough to turn 41 years old and that’s in June. I only have [a few] months left on my sentence and I might not be able to get to know my three grandkids that I currently have.
I was stupid as a teenager and I wanted to be cool and I wanted to hide the pain I felt so I got high and I never thought about the future or the outcome it would have on my body. And now 26 years later I am about to die if I don’t listen to the doctor.
So, I am writing to share my story to all of the teenagers and young adults that are currently in a group home or foster home or Juvenile Hall or YA (Youth Authority is youth prison) at this moment, to help open their eyes so that they don’t continue to follow in my footsteps and destroy their lives like I did.
I haven’t even told my family because I am embarrassed to tell them. Plus, I have caused them too much stress in this lifetime already. So that’s why I said I only have God on my side and I know that God will have my back and won’t leave me alone.
So, I ask whoever that reads this will never forget what I’ve said and use this to help change their lives around before it’s too late. So later my little brothers and sisters, and remember God is love and He loves you as well.
Jeremy Willis is incarcerated at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California. This is his fifth prison term; he is scheduled for release Dec. 20.
The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art from incarcerated youth, was founded by David Inocencio in San Francisco in 1996. Weekly writing and conversation workshops are held in California, six other states and Washington, D.C. Submissions and new partners are welcomed. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.