From the July 2013 magazine.

July 2013: Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde

A correctional officer who attended meetings for work, one day returns for himself

Half concealed behind a post, I sat staring at the ground during the AA meeting, embarrassed that a young man I once knew might see me there. As a youth he had been incarcerated for a serious crime. I had been a staff member at the local youth correctional facility and he was under my authority. Now he was an adult, staying sober. And I was the new guy.

My first introduction to AA had been in juvenile hall years earlier. I was a correctional officer attending the meeting as part of my job. Little did I know that a few years later I’d be going to meetings with some of these very same young people. My duty during that meeting, which was being led by an outside volunteer, was to keep the young inmates in line. I stood at the back of the room behind a semicircle of teenage boys serving time for various crimes. They had come to listen to a man talk about being an alcoholic. My input consisted of comments like, “Knock it off … quit screwing around … face forward … pay attention!”

-- Robert N.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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