From the September 2011 magazine.

September 2011: A Back Porch Prayer

With his wife still missing, a young African-American vows to make things right

"Now, I’m getting on my knees, right here on my mother’s back porch, and asking God for the willingness to take Step One."

On this beautiful spring morning, after almost three months without alcohol or drugs, I am beginning to feel alive again. I am noticing signs of life all around me. The birds are frolicking and building nests. Yellow flowers seem to have emerged overnight through soil, still cold from a long winter. As I’m savoring the hot coffee, allowing my eyes to focus on the beauty around me, I begin to reflect on the past 25 years of my life, a life filled with such promise yet wasted because of alcohol and drugs.

At 14, I was an outstanding football player and popular with my peers. My...

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Frankfort, Kentucky