The right “high’

Orr, John

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©dohn L. Orr 2015 THE 2 scam’ "HIGH" by John L. Orr The word "high" generally gets. the attention of the incarcerated. and is universally understood - but everybody has their own literal interpretation of the descriptor. To an addict the "high" is immediacy when brought on by the introduction of a drug of choice or opportunity — it is a given, it's gonna happen, and has the added element that it might kill you, so hang on. However, to an avid runner or exercise fanatic, the expected. high takes another form, requires effort, and permeates your body at a slightly slower pace and involves a little sweat. You dope fiends may say sweat accompanies your high, too, and getting there necessitates effort (usually petty theftl), but in the depressing state of prison life, any high is worth the effort; but what is the "right" high? Everyone has experienced non-drug-related highs, the feeling of contentment, a fullness of being, a slight smile on your face before you realize it. Recall the last time you finished an excellent homemade burrito your cellie put together? The jalepenos probably cause the sweating, but the ingestion of such an aromatic, juicy and umuth-watering delight still brought on £1 mild high. The deeply religious inmate experiences elation. Maybe it's a sacriligious comparison, but I see the same smiles on faces of the multitudes strolling out of the chapel; a special high I have never experienced, but my acquaintences swear by the bliss grandad by their Creator. ...\+ I like the joy of being high, yet I never experienced the electric-blue flash from injecting heroin into my own veins; probably because needles scare me like, just the mention of my second wife's name, but I have also seen first—hand the devastating result of drug abuse. I'd retreat to the refuge of the church before considering the instantaneous highs offered to me a few times a ‘week in prison...but there are alternatives. Most people form opinions of others based on appearance and actions before they even meet (Judging the book by its cover...?). Routine, yes, but consider the last person you saw mouthing off to a group of similar boisterous individuals on the yard; you decided this person is someone to be avoided. Now, what if you watched as the loud-talker broke away from the group, did a few stretches, then launched into a vigorous 2-mile run? Your perception of this guy now changes — he may have some redeeming value by his positive action of exercising. You can bet he gets his high from the runner's second-wind, a weird phenomenon nmst cannot understand until you experience the conquest of your tiring body supplanted by your own personal effort to keep going. Even moderate physical exercise, such as a long walk around the track, can leave you with a warm, full feeling of’ accomplishment and a sense of self-value, instead of working your mouth-muscle as the only form of exertion in your daily life. The second-wind from vigorous exercise can keep your high going for as long as you can hold out and for hours post-exercise. Watch the end of a distance race or marathon and see how some of the participants actually smile after three or more gruelling hours effort to attain their personal goals. A vigorous game of handball, several sets on the volleyball court, or even just tossing a frisbee around the yard initiates adrenaline flow, as well as ‘causing a flood of endorphins to §®g?,.=.‘.'-r into your brain (Dictionary definition of endorphin: "...has an effect like morphine."). Wow! A no-cost high, albeit “.2. ,5, to a lesser degree than meth, but still a lasting effect positively influencing your general well-being. It's free rapture, readily available, guaranteed if you just put forth a little effort, and, others on the yard look at you in a more positive way. Whatever your reputation or perception by others around you, exercise "gets" you to a better place in the prison yard hierarchy. I experience real bliss just popping a Reese's Peanut Butter cup into my mouth; savoring the blend of chocolate/peanut butter as the gooey textures dissolve onto my tongue, causing me to lay back on my bunk, close my eyes, and enjoy the experience to the last drop I reluctantly swallow - a harmless , but Avery satisfying high. The "right" high is readily available to you in prison without resorting to illicit drugs that damage your body, spirit, and perceptions of you by others, including staff. The next time the ugly, far reaching tentacles of depression embrace you, force yourself to get up, move around, participate in a little exercise or competition. Those sneaky, slimy, snaky appendages can only hold you down if you let them. If you do not do well in any of the sports available on your yard, or feel uncomfortable in groups, just take a solo run around the track. Short distances are fine: run two laps, walk two, then; jog a few Inore. You may also be surprised by individuals who want a running buddy, opening a door to another endorphin-producing benefit: acceptance and genuine, lasting friendship.

Author: Orr, John

Author Location: California

Date: 2015

Genre: Essay

Extent: 3 pages

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