Question 6: Locked-Up Abroad Raving Arizona

For the next 5 days, I'm going to post a question about the episode and my answer.

What did you learn about yourself during the many years of incarceration?

In prison, I went on an amazing journey of self-discovery. Previously, I’d been zipping through life without considering the consequences of my actions, including the harm drugs cause to society. Prison forced introspection and sobriety. After years of drug use, I felt a cloud lift from my mind. The clarity of vision made me wonder how on earth I was still alive after taking so many drugs and putting myself in so much danger. In jail, Gerard Gravano – the son of Salvatore ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano, a Mafia mass murderer – told me he’d once headed an armed crew dispatched to take me out to the desert. Prison forced me to grow up. I saw how emotionally immature, selfish, and foolish my behaviour had been. The pain I caused my family made me ill, but added extra motivation to my soul searching. My mum had a nervous breakdown, which haunts me to this day. I regretted sending people down the road of drug use, which inevitably devastates not just users, but also their families. Shocked, I set out to try and make sense of my behaviour. I submerged myself in psychology and philosophy books. I had counselling with a brilliant neuro-psychotherapist Dr. O, who helped strip the layers of my personality down in order to analyse my inner dynamics. I learned that the bad decisions that led to my arrest stemmed from anxiety and my addictive adrenalin-junkie personality. I started doing drugs as a shy student to socialise because I lacked the strength of my mind to enjoy myself at a party sober. Dr. O said the key to staying out of trouble is to channel my energy into positive things, which is what I do now via writing, karate, gym classes, yoga, and meditation. To this day, I fall back on what he taught me and I’m forever grateful. Meditating for hours on end in prison, going deep inside of myself, gave me a great insight into my personality, especially how my brain manufactures excessive worries and anxiety through thoughts. Over time, I learned to stop such thoughts by concentrating on breathing, which short-circuited my anxiety. We have the ability to heal ourselves with a powerful tool called the brain. Thanks to yoga and meditation, which I practice daily, I’m still tapping into that power.    

I now have a Wiki page.

Shaun Attwood


Unknown said...

Excellent truth! I am in the process of beating cancer - but there were times in the beginning where I felt my best option was to "take myself out" as the initial prognosis was so grim. Using meditation helped to set my mind straight and back into survival mode - and now I have the option of being a success story - one of hope for others taking this cancer journey! Much love Shaun - you are a true survivor!

Jon said...


That's so inspirational to read. My sister's 2 year old daughter has leukemia. You might find my sister's blog about her daughters battle with cancer inspirational:

Keep on smiling!

Shaun Attwood