Art of Communication: Manuel’s Story

The Art of Communication is a program offered to qualifying adults in custody (AICs) at a number of Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.

Below, AIC Manuel Arellano explains how the program has changed his mindset. AIC Arellano shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:

A lot of times I’m very apprehensive to share my stories because I’m conscious of what the other person will think of me. That makes me shy to express these things from my past but if it will help someone it’s OK.

I love playing basketball. I also have quite a temper, which used to be a problem for me during games. In the past when people would say things to upset me, I would just walk off the court in anger. I would be so angry it would last all night to the point where I couldn’t sleep. On those evenings when I sat there awake and angry, I would promise myself that I would never play again. Then the next day I’d be right back out there with the same result. It was a vicious cycle.

One day in the class I heard the saying “If you let me make you mad, you belong to me.” It resonated with me. I realized that the other players were using my temper to control me and that I could be freed of that. I don’t have to let them push my buttons. I have a choice about how I react.

Today I’m able to ignore the jabs that they use on me, stay in the game, and enjoy it much more. They see the change in me, that I’m not quick to anger. They kid around with me in a way that is less aggressive.

After a game, I feel much better now than I used to. I’m able to play without that anger. I’m a much happier person and I sleep better.