Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Changes in latitude, changes in attitude

Thanks so much for your supportive and generous comments yesterday. I'm grateful you didn't just close your browsers and move on after reading so much whining.

Yesterday was somewhat better during the day (I didn't nap), and got a whole lot better last night, as I expected it would.

For the past dozen years or so, I've spent the majority of my Tuesday nights at Alderson Federal Prison Camp, just a few degrees north in latitude from my home. For several of those years I also spent Monday evenings there, teaching a beginning drawing class to a handful of inmates.

Tuesdays, though, are for AA. Technically I help take a meeting into the facility, but really? They give me an unforgettable meeting every week.

Alderson is a minimum-security women's prison. Most of the women are there for drug "crimes" (if our laws weren't so warped – oh, don't get me started). No one is forced to attend the meeting; the fact that nearly 100 show up every week is still somewhat amazing to me.

We've been working on AA's 12 Steps; last night we were to begin the 8th: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. But we volunteers (there are three of us) like to ask if anyone has anything she needs to talk about first. Sometimes they don't, and we go on with the plan. But sometimes – as happened last night – they do, and that can make for some interesting and fulfilling discussions.

I can't go into detail (whom you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here), but I can say that when I got home, I felt like a completely different woman.

I left a little later than usual, due to lightning and thunderstorms. The administration closes the compound when the weather is threatening, as the women have to walk outside to get from building to building on the grounds. Last night's meeting after the meeting was as enlightening and rewarding as the meeting itself.

Just what this drunk needed to begin to see the light again.


gingersnapper said...

I'm so glad about the meeting. I've been worried about you since your sponsor died. You've had such a long relationship with her, you must feel cast adrift. Meant to ask if you are sponsor to anyone else. I suppose in a way you're sponsoring an entire prison!

Anonymous said...

Glad the meeting helped.