This last week, I was driving from a meeting in Bluffdale to an appointment in West Ogden. I was so late from the first meeting I had to cancel a meeting in Midvale that day. That was extra crappy because my car had broken down this week and I had to borrow my brother’s truck. It costs more than I’m making in a day to drive to Midvale and back in that vehicle, so I was really hoping to make all that work in one trip. Even though I hadn’t found time to eat anything by 1 p.m., I remember identifying the headache I had as stress related.

Anyway, as I was driving I looked at my phone to see if any of the eight messages I had needed attention before I arrived at my appointment. By the time I had opened and closed my e-mail, text, and messenger the Utah Highway Patrol vehicle behind me flipped on his lights and I pulled over.

The officer was really polite and explained to me it was illegal to use my phone while operating a vehicle. While I didn’t know there was a specific law with verbiage pertaining to phone usage, I knew distracted driving is against the rules of the road and common sense tells me using a phone while operating a vehicle is dangerous. I had no excuse and didn’t try to make any.

I informed the patrolman I was on parole, and he asked for my license, made a comment about a warning, and told me to wait just a minute while he checked things out.

After what seemed to be about 15 minutes, I wondered if he might be waiting for backup. In numerous other experiences where the officer is back there longer than expected, the result for me has been a trip to jail, so I think it was perfectly natural for my mind to wander. Interestingly enough, when I let myself arrive at that conclusion, my stress kind of disappeared.

I remember thinking this would be a nice little break, whatever it was for. I haven’t been missing prison as much as of late, at least not since I stopped punching a clock, so the calm I experienced was quite thought provoking.

Obviously I didn’t end up going to jail; I received a written warning. Later that day, I took some time to assess where I am at, 10 months out of prison. Having a car in the first place that can break down is definitely a first world problem. I’m not yet making the money I want at my job, but I enjoy the freedom it gives me. Still, the thing I was most appreciative of was the fact I was able to borrow my brother’s truck.

It really has nothing to do with the vehicle, but the fact I have a relationship with my brother again. Months ago, I made a comment to this brother about how our dad didn’t speak to me for almost three years. He pointed out he hadn’t spoken to me for even longer.

He said, “I was mad at you.” and added, “I remember I used to stick up for you, and all you did was lie to me.” Destroying trust and tearing down relationships was the biggest consequence to my drug use.

A friend of mine named Ben gave me some advice that I feel I’ve really embraced whole-heartedly. He told me to be patient and not try and hurry things along. Ben gave this advice from experience; he did a five year stretch and when he got out he tried to play catch-up. Within a few months he got a girlfriend, started a business, hired multiple employees, and got married. It was too much. The fact that Ben gave me this advice from prison lets you know how that all worked out.

I’m really thankful for the last 10 months I’ve had to rebuild relationships. In that area of rebuilding my life, my expectations have been surpassed.

Brian Wood, of Layton, pleaded guilty to nine felony charges for offenses from 2011 to 2014, including counts of burglary, drug possession and prescription fraud. He served four years in the Utah State prison system before being released on parole on Jan. 2, 2018.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!