Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rehab behind bars

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Volunteer Services Division.

A friend in recovery and I recently applied to help carry the AA message to inmates. Somehow, we both passed the background check (it does help not to get caught). Texas has no shortage of prisons and jails -- federal, state, county and city. There's also no shortage of humans to fill them. It's estimated that 85% of those humans have serious problems with alcohol and/or drugs. More than 50% of those humans released will return, in large part due to those drug problems. They need to at least become aware that there is another way; a different way to live. In recovery, we should be glad we can do our part in carrying this message.

Saturday, we attended the mandatory three-hour training class. It was in a fairly remote area northeast of Houston, at the Pam Lychner State Jail. The orientation/training session is mostly about the do's and don't's of what to do, what not to do and how to behave and present ourselves while on-site. Mostly common sense type stuff.

The classroom had 30 volunteers. Surprisingly to me, there were only 6 of us there representing substance abuse recovery and we were all AA. The other 22 in attendance were God-fearing Bible thumpers (not that there is anything wrong with that; it just ain't for me). Their organizations specialize in going into prisons and converting inmates to God. Some were preachers, the rest were their brothers and sisters. Looking around the room it appeared they all leaned a bit to the right as they hovered in their thrones. Hopefully, you are reading between the lines here.

After the chaplain began the meeting, we all individually introduced ourselves and our affiliations. Funny, but us AA'ers were the last in line to be introduced. A woman spoke up and gave us her name, introduced herself as a member of AA, then without hesitation, spoke to all the Christians, telling them ...

... continued tomorrow

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