In my case, I know I had a lot to deal with when it came to friends and family in the time just before, during, and after my conviction. My parents were disappointed and terrified, wondering what they had done wrong, my friends were either enablers in the direction of being naughty or were backing away from me slowly and likely wondering if I was still sane. My siblings basically disowned me on top of it (ten years later and we still don’t talk), and even though we didn’t start out close, it still was an added misery to be ignored by the people I thought would help me get back on my feet.
My parents, being who they were, forgave me quickly if harboring some very mild distrust with me afterwards. But I didn’t mind that so much, as I knew I had let them down the most, second only to having let myself down (I had developed some pretty big plans for myself, and most of them were pretty well destroyed until I found the loopholes to get back into society).
As for the friendly enablers, I held on to a few for a little longer than I should have (at least according to my p.o.). I did eventually let them go, at least for the majority of the time. I won’t ignore them if I see them in public, but I make a point to not dedicate time to them to any extent. It does suck a bit because there are quite a few good memories, but it’s not worth the possibility of getting back into trouble and throwing everything away again.
After a bit of time, the closest of my actual friends also slowly integrated themselves back into my life. This was a life-saver, because I am incredibly awkward with new people, and my experience in society has not improved my social skills at all.
Unfortunately, I still have some difficulty making new friends, but I get by enough to not lose my mind entirely because honestly, we all need a good support system. Having a background can make it difficult though, especially if you stay in the same small town as I have.
However, there is hope, if you have the drive and determination to show that you’ve changed. My volunteer experience with a local shelter helped express to those in the humanitarian side of my community that I really was a changed person, and I have had a recent upturn in social interactions with the community.
I’ve also participated in a couple local events, selling craft items at a booth in a fall festival the town hosts, as well as walking in parades with various organizations my son has become involved with over the years.
By having a positive public presence, our image can be improved along with our own progression through our trials and after felony problems.
It’s not easy, and even after a decade, I do still get some flack about the past. It isn’t easy, but I maintain my dignity and respond with as much kindness as I can muster in those situations. Best of luck in your social endeavors felonious friends, goodness knows we all need it.
Til Next Time,
Aza @aza_enigma (Twitter)