Web Exclusive

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.

Related Items:

Sunset on the Ferris Wheel
The ups and downs of the drinking life finally came to an end

The Heartbeat of AA
Asking for help and helping others was her lifeline in the program

Lady Love
In sobriety, she learned to respect herself and how to build relationships

Staying for the Miracle
An old timer looks back upon her drinking life as she celebrates 34 years