From the July 2011 magazine.

July 2011: The Message Inside

He decided to return to the last place he ever wanted to go

"The unit didn’t have a single AA meeting when we got there. Well, now it has what we named the “Free On The Inside” group."

I had my last drink on Christmas Day in a maximum security prison in Texas. The homemade wine, commonly referred to as “hooch,” was concocted mostly from items bought at the commissary, along with ingredients inmates who worked in the kitchen had taken. All the elements would be placed in a plastic garbage bag and hidden under someone’s bunk to ferment for about four or five days. The result was always a mystery. Sometimes, it tasted smooth like fruit punch. Other times, it reeked like moldy bread. We’d drink it, of course, regardless. One time, a bad batch of hooch got our entire...

-- David T.

South Padre Island, Texas