From the August 1971 magazine.

Knowledge Didn't Make Me Sober

But through AA he came to believe that there is a good way out

I WANT to thank you for publishing my article "Anatomy of a Slip" (originally entitled "External Circumstances") in the November 1970 Grapevine. The article was written and submitted over two years ago, when I was confined in the Orange County Jail, at Goshen, N.Y., facing the prospect of a life sentence as a habitual criminal. Due to a change in the state laws, the sentence was not effected, and I was given a term of four to six years.

I passed my forty-fourth birthday last July, and my twenty-third year behind bars. Every crime I was arrested for was committed when I was drunk. I used this as an excuse for a long time. I blamed judges, cops, my family, and my teachers, and I blamed myself. I thought that the courts should give me help and understanding. Instead, they gave me time, yet never so much at a clip that I couldn't do it. There was always the prospect of release to work towards.

-- J. McL.

Dannemora, New York

This is a preview. To view the full article, use the link below to begin a free 7-day trial!