From the July 2001 magazine.

No-frills Sobriety

When I was incarcerated about eight years ago, the AA meeting I went to on Tuesday nights resembled outside meetings in many ways. But there were a few major differences: 1) there were no women; 2) everybody dressed the same way (the jeans-and-a-blue-shirt look was all the rage); 3) if you tried to leave the meeting early you would get shot.

Worse than that, stuff went on in that meeting that had absolutely nothing to do with AA--like inmates singing or reading original poetry. One inmate gave a forty-five-minute monologue on everything from his appearing on a television show to fashion tips, all without interruption because we were too scared to tell him to shut up. Finally, some of us who were serious about our sobriety decided to do something.

-- Tony W.

Fairfield, California

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