From the July 2012 magazine.

July 2012: Stars, Not Bars

Thirty-three years ago, AA gave him a new way to dream

Having “Hate” tattooed on my fingers said a lot about how I felt about myself and others. However, people in AA loved me before I could slowly crawl out of my fearful self-hatred and start loving myself. In my ongoing process of change, I no longer call myself, or others, bad names. Behind bars you wish, fantasize, dream, and hope for a better past and a better future. Yet Steps Eight and Nine suggest letting go of the messy stuff of the past by making amends. True freedom comes about as a result of forgiving and releasing the past and the distorted views caused by drinking. Patti, an AA friend, would say to us, “We weren’t that good at being bad,” and “God doesn’t make junk.” I was so stuck in pain, fear, and depression that I was always judging others.

My fantasy was to escape from prison—both the physical prison and the mental lockup—and all the crazy inmates inside my head. Until I could start trusting AA people, who only wanted to help me, I was trapped by fears, mad ideas and games.

-- Perry G.

Delmar, Delaware

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