AAs behind bars: Steps to Freedom: One AA's path to pea

Current topics and news from The Grapevine.
Post Reply
User avatar
veralex
Forums Contributor
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:01 am
Location: Belgium

AAs behind bars: Steps to Freedom: One AA's path to pea

Post by veralex » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:00 am

I'm serving a four-year sentence for burglary in a Lancaster, Ohio, prison. I've been in and out of AA for the past ten years. I stayed sober once for eighteen months, slipped, and returned for another fifteen months.
I know the freedom that comes from working the Twelve Steps of AA. But because of pride and ego - and guilt for abandoning my family - each time my life rocketed back into alcohol, drugs and crime.
I walked away from God, AA, my seven-months-pregnant wife, and beautiful daughter. I now see the fear I had of continuing to work the Steps. I lived under bridges, in abandoned buildings, and in dangerous drug houses. Eating out of dumpsters became routine. I didn't care if I lived or died.
I weighed a hundred and forty pounds and I'm six foot one. My hair, teeth and toenails fell out, and I had sunken eyes. I was dying from the inside out. My clothes rotted off of me. The sole of one shoe flopped when I walked. A shower was very rare.
I reached a point of spiritual death, and didn't care if I lived or died. Too proud to call AA,I stole money from my mother's purse, along with her car keys. I found a friend living the same miserable life I was, and we broke into someone's house. While we were inside, the sheriff arrived. I remember saying to myself, "Finally, it's over."
That was January 27, 2005, the day God rescued me. They hauled me to jail. I wish I could say it's been all AA since, but that's not true.
In county jail, I struggled with self-hatred. I started pray to the God of my understanding. When the pain became too great, I called an old sponsor. He was surprised that I was still alive.
When he visited, his main message was, "We need to work on spirituality." I read my Big Book and prayed more. My health slowly returned. Finally, they shipped me to prison.
When I walked in the yard, I noticed some guys were a little more clean cut. They seemed to have some peace and happiness about them. I knew right away they were in AA. I asked them where the meetings were and how often. I was withdrawn at my first meeting but felt the peace and serenity that I've only known in AA meetings.
After a while, I asked to chair the meeting. Of course they said yes, but something still wasn't right. When my misery became extremely painful, I called my first sponsor, a man who had worked with me years ago. When I told him how miserable I was, he got stern and said, "We need to start working the Steps."
We worked the first two Steps through the mail. I didn the third Step with a couple of guys here at the prison. After some time passed, I called him and said I wasn't doing much better and didn't care what happened to my life.
"I want you to go out into the yard, find people who go to the meetings, and tell them that you're working the Steps and they're going to work them with you," my sponsor said.
"Yeah, right," I said. "I don't think they'll stand for that. They might punch me out!"
"Try it," he said.
Much to my surprise, the first person I approached said, "That would be great." I couldn't believe it. I suggested that he read the Big Book and we'd start next time I sam him. My first sponsor had me write out the First and Second Steps, I said and suggested he do likewise. In no time at all, there were three of us working the Steps. It was great to have four of us on our knees in prison saying the Third Step Prayer.
Peace and serenity are resurfacing inside me and my fellow inmates. In meetings, I share about the freedom I feel by working with others behind bars. Some stay and some don't have the willingness.
When I told my sponsor, he asked if I was staying sober. "Yes," I said.
"Today's all that matters," he said. Today I feel at peace with myself and the God of my understanding. I struggle some days, but the struggles aren't as complicated.
I'm up for early release in July 2006. I pray that I get it. Either way, I know that if I go to meetings, pray, work with others, and read my Big Book, I have a choice to be free on the inside.
Dave, Ohio.

Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. (July, 2006). Reprinted with permission.
I'm done drinking

Post Reply