From the July 2002 magazine.

The Hate-and-pain Guy

Even for an inmate he was angry

The other day I was trying to remember what the actual turning point for me in the program was. I think it was when I really started to get into service work, and, specifically, taking meetings into institutions.

The first time I went into a prison was when this old-timer, Vic, invited me to go with a group of guys from my home group to a meeting at Sheridan Federal Prison. I was really surprised at how good an AA meeting it was. I mean, there was a clear topic, everyone seemed to take it pretty seriously, all the guys seemed to be well versed in the program, and I got a lot out of everyone's talks. I probably was the only weak link in the whole thing. With two years sober, I was one of the newest guys to AA at that meeting. Since most of the guys in Sheridan were doing pretty long stretches of time, and a lot of the guys started going to AA not too long after they got in, several of them had five to ten years of sobriety. And I thought I was going to be schooling the poor inmates on how to stay sober. Man, I had a lot to learn.

-- Harold B.

Eugene, Oregon

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