Letter from Prison
Finding himself locked up yet again, he admitted defeat in his battle with alcoholism
I started drinking at age 13. Inside, I always felt different even as a child. At that young age, I found alcohol. I will never forget that feeling it gave me. It made me like I fit in and I remember saying to myself that I would like to feel that way forever.
I met my girlfriend at the same age and at age 18, we got married because she was pregnant. She gave birth to twins. I was a scared teenager who now was a father of twins.
I quite school, got my G.E.D. and joined the National Guard. During basic training, I got into a couple of fights due to my drinking and was reprimanded with extra duties. The Army now gave me a new reason to drink.
After 11 months, I returned home to my wife and boys and my drinking really took off. I know know that I was running from responsibility and that drinking helped me to escape. Soon, I had some legal troubles for getting into fights and for domestic violence and I ended up in jail.
I stopped drinking for 36 months but I know now that I was just a dry drunk. I fell off from attending meetings and began drinking once in a while. Within time, I was back to drinking every day. I then had a fight with a family member and was sent back to jail.
I was baffled at how this had happened again. I was now 32 years old, back in jail, divorced, and stuck inside my head. I spent time thinking about all the people I had hurt because of my alcoholism and didn't know what to do about it.
Realizing that I couldn't do it on my own and that I needed help, I hit my knees. I said a prayer and instantly felt better. I had a sense of peace in me. My anxiety was mostly gone and ever since that day, life has gotten better one day at a time.
At that time, I was transferred to an alcohol correctional center where I was allowed to attend outside AA meetings. I began relating rather than comparing. I built up enough courage to ask someone to be my sponsor and I have been going through the Steps of AA.
The Steps and Fellowship have made such a difference in my life. Going to meetings, telling my story, and talking to other alcoholics helps me in ways I will never be able to explain. At meetings, I get a sense of peace and acceptance and a feeling of joy. When I am at a meeting, I know that is exactly where I am suppose to be. The love I get from the rooms is immeasurable. Some of the promises have come true for me.
Because of my higher power, I know I will be taken care of and that I will be okay. I thank God for AA. I get released in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to getting back my life which alcohol had tried to take from me.
—Ralph D., Springfield, Mass.
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