From the April 2014 magazine.


A trip to the mailbox reminded her of her days in jail and how the Big Book saved her sanity

The other the day I got a letter from the Atlantic County justice facility. It had that funny-looking stamp of a hand with the pointing index finger connected to a wrist. “Return To Sender,” it said. The name was crossed out, and the word “released” was handwritten over it. I smiled. My friend Jazz had been let out of jail. She used to look out for me there. She was always telling me she had my back. It made me want to share my story.

It’s all true what you hear about being in jail: the fights, the filth and the slop they pass off as food. When I first arrived, I remember thinking they had surely put me in the wrong place. In fact, that’s what I told the guard my first night in “county.” He wasn’t amused when I tried to explain that I was only in there for a DUI. Now that I look back, he was used to such denial. And, come to think of it, so was I.

-- Barbara P.

Longport, New Jersey

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