It’s been more than seven months since former Teen Mom star Amber Portwood elected to return to prison to serve out a five-year sentence instead of completing a court-mandated drug rehab program. At the time Amber was reportedly hooked on suboxone and admitted to the judge she had never been able to remain clean, even while enrolled in the program. A source close to Amber said she felt that prison was her only option if she really wanted to get clean, and although her decision drew an outpouring of criticism online, it seems her decision may have been the right one.
Amber’s brother Shawn updated fans on his sister’s status by speaking with OK! magazine back in July, telling the magazine Amber was “clean and sober.” He added, “It’s good that she’s there because she has a new level of focus and commitment that she couldn’t get on her own.”
In early October MTV aired a “Behind the Bars Special” in which Dr. Drew interviewed Amber Portwood behind the walls of Rockville Correctional Facility and she seemed to be sober and doing extremely well, except for the pain caused by not being able to see her daughter, Leah.
On Friday Amber’s brother Shawn, who remains in contact with his sister via email, provided another update on her status with an entry on his blog. He reveals that in one of their first exchanges Amber wrote, “I just hope you guys understand that I chose prison to help me, and pretty much save me from myself.”
He points out that Amber received a lot of criticism because she chose to go back to prison, which essentially left her daughter Leah without a mother, but Shawn explains that Amber’s health had to come first because “if she were to remain unhealthy then Leah’s importance would be non-existent.” That point is extremely poignant given Amber’s history of depression and suicidal tendencies.
Shawn says that his sister was portrayed by the media as “a very hateful individual” and reluctantly admits that “she was for a while.” But he then writes, “I am happy to say that I absolutely believe that it is all behind her now.”
According to Shawn, Amber is in the third and final step of the CLIFF (Clean Living Is Freedom Forever) drug rehabilitation program and once she has completed that she will then tackle finally getting her GED.
And anyone who has watched Teen Mom knows that drugs aren’t Amber’s only problem, she also has some serious anger management issues, which of course were only exacerbated by the drug use. Shawn reports that in addition to being enrolled in the CLIFF program, Amber has also completed an anger management program.
“That is the one difference that I see in her most,” Shawn says. “She does not get nearly as angry as she used to. In addition, she nearly never curses, and when she does it is not that vulgar.” He reveals that in one of Amber’s letters she wrote, “I make sure I laugh or smile everyday here. I feel emotions, happiness, anger, and sadness but that is still better than before when all I felt was high.” That sounds like an amazing transformation!
So what about Leah? Does Amber have any contact with her?
Amber tells me that she calls Leah every night, and that she loves hearing her voice. Every chance I get, I send Amber pictures of Leah that I have taken or ones that are on Gary’s Twitter page. She loves getting them, tells me often that they make her cry. Amber told me that her inspirations to better herself are Leah and our father, who at one point only had six months to live. That was 9 years ago and since then he has battled liver disease and cancer. Still in his weakened state he is fighting, and fighting to get a new liver. Amber knows that she has a lot to live for and I feel comfortable saying that Amber will have a better life after all of this is done. By completing the CLIFF program, getting her GED, and being good, Amber can be out of prison and well on her way to a new life in a few months.
The heartfelt blog entry is wrapped up with wonderful strength and humility in a way that only a genuinely concerned big brother could:
Some of you may not like Amber. Some may post hateful messages on here. But know that Amber is a human, and as humans we all make mistakes. She is paying for her mistakes right now, and that is not by being in jail but being away from those she loves the most. She has taken the steps to better herself, which is more than what many would do. It is not often that you hear about someone who has their whole life ahead of them agree to do something like what Amber did, which is agree to a prison term. If you are religious then say a pray for her. If you are hateful then say a prayer for yourself. But keep in mind that all of the negative things that you say will eventually come back to you. The world is full of hate, which is why it can be so dysfunctional. Think!
Amber has been doing extremely well, and it appears that she will be rewarded for that behavior with an early release. As we mentioned in a previous post, Amber is rewarded a day off her sentence for every day she is a model prisoner, which seems to be just about every day! At that rate, she may see a release as early as December, 2014!
We applaud Amber’s strength and efforts to better herself, and concur with Shawn’s concluding statement.