The story of Amber Portwood’s incarceration is a bizarre and somewhat heartening one. Unlike another Teen Mom who easily comes to mind, Jenelle Evans, Amber was not in denial about her drug addiction or emotional problems. She knew she had issues and she voluntarily chose to go to jail for five years (which was of course commuted) after she failed a drug test while on probation. Amber claimed that she did this to achieve sobriety after rehab had failed for her. It was a rare moment of clarity and self-awareness for a reality star, especially an abusive one with a drug addiction.
After 17 months inside, Amber was released yesterday. (You can see photos of her release here.) Earlier this year, her brother wrote about Amber’s decision to go to jail. He said that she wanted to save herself, that she took anger management and addiction courses while inside, and that she’s changed as a result. Here’s what he wrote, thanks to Radar Online:
Bright-eyed and grinning, Amber Portwood looked like a new woman as she left prison after serving a 17-month sentence on Monday morning. Portwood told reporters that she’d found the strength to stay clean inside prison walls, after initially struggling with the terms of her drug program. And now, RadarOnline.com has learned, Portwood’s brother Shawn Portwood is revealing just how much of a transformation he’s seen in his sister since she surrendered herself to the mercy of the court.
The former Teen Mom ”has had a lot of negative press in the past, which has portrayed her as a very hateful individual,” her brother wrote in an emotional blog post earlier this year. “And she was for a while. She did not know how to control her anger or even shut up when she needed to. But now I am happy to say that I absolutely believe that it is all behind her now.”
Amber had asked an Indiana judge to throw her in jail for five years to deal with her addiction issues, and the judge complied.
“After Amber was sent to prison, she had a lot to think about and a lot to change about herself,” Shawn explains. “…In one of her first letters to each other, Amber wrote and said, ‘I just hope you guys understand that I chose prison to help me, and to pretty much save me from myself.’ She told me that she cried often …”
But she chose that route, he says, “because she did not have the strength to survive on her own and stay clean.” Portwood had struggled through a stint in rehab, as well as a hospitalization following a suicide attempt.
In prison, she finally found that inner strength through the CLIFF drug rehabilitation program and anger management treatment.
“That is the one difference that I see in her most,” Shawn says of her anger. “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.”
In one letter to the family, he reveals, his sister 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.
“These programs have helped her immensely,” Shawn writes, “and changed her thought process, which is something she told me needed to be changed.”
Amber’s brother Shawn also claims that Amber developed a work ethic while in jail, which she’d never had before. Amber’s turnaround is very impressive, and I hope she has the strength to stay sober and to keep her emotions in check. I remember how she wailed on her baby daddy back in 2010, in footage that I don’t think MTV should have aired. Amber had many subsequent run-ins with the law and a suicide attempt. The fact that she accepted responsibility and chose jail is somewhat amazing to me. However, as I was looking up our old coverage of Amber, I saw that her brother has been making excuses for her for years. This time, I really hope he’s right.
Photos are from 2010, 2011 and 2012. Credit: FameFlynet and PacificCoastNews