From the November 2017 magazine. First printed in October 2005.

Coming to believe

A New York woman recalls how a Higher Power helped her survive incredibly tough times

I couldn’t believe my ears when the judge said, “One to three, indefinite,” back in 1967, in that Centre Street court of New York City. He was a Jewish judge, looking down in disgust at a young Jewish alcoholic. “Young lady, you are a disgrace to yourself and your family. Maybe a little time to think about your behavior will clarify the way life works and your responsibility in it.”

I was devastated. At the time, the old Women’s House of Detention in Greenwich Village was up and running, cockroaches and rats courtesy of the city of New York. It was a wild and woolly place, smelly, violent, not a fun place to wind up in, even drunk. I knew after I went through the proverbial body search and showers, I would be in for a period of sweats, pukes, shakes and all the fun stuff you go through when you don’t get your daily dose of booze. In short order, I was put on a bus to Bedford Hills reformatory.

-- Ann S.

San Marcos, California, USA

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