From the August 1971 magazine.

A Taste of Happiness

The program reaches inside prison walls to light up a lost life

TAKE A LITTLE GIRL full of fear, anxiety, and insecurity; mix these with a life of loneliness, heartache, and emptiness; and you have the makings of an alcoholic. I was this little girl, and I am an alcoholic. My name is Jackie, and I am no longer a little girl; I am a mature woman and an inmate at the Florida Correctional Institution for Women. This is a nice name for the women's state prison. I was convicted of forgery and auto theft. The sentence: five years.

I came from a broken home. My parents separated before I was born. My first drink and my first drunk were at the age of two. Later, I never sat down to an evening of drinking that I didn't end up on the floor, out like a light. To me, drinking was first nature and bars were my second home. I went to school if I felt like it. If I didn't, no one knew whether I did or not. My mother and stepfather both worked, and there was no one around when I left for school, no one when I came home. At the age of eight, I had my own door key. When I was twelve, I went to work after school, washing dishes. This is where I learned about pills and what they would do.

-- J. J.

Lowell, Florida

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