Al-Anon brings inmate new understanding

I’ve spent 18 years in prison. I’ve been here since I was 20 years old—lots of down time, lots of time to think.

It wasn’t until I started to attend Al‑Anon that I began to learn how I became the type of person who would break the law, cause irreparable harm to others, and run from responsibility.

Through Al‑Anon, I realized that so much of the foundation that created the framework of how I thought and reacted was based on the family disease of alcoholism. Though I never drank or used drugs, I saw my own world through the same lens my mother and sister did—through the effects of my father’s alcoholism.

Al‑Anon has taught me to see beyond the disease of alcoholism. It has given me insight into the exact nature of my wrongs. The acceptance our Sponsors have given us, their willingness to share with us, their making us feel welcome, and being non-judgmental, have helped me to say things to others no self-respecting convict would ever confide. And I’m a better man for it.

I’m inspired to want to share the Twelve Steps with my sister (my parents both have passed), to continue to practice detachment, and to find my own Al‑Anon group back home. I especially want to thank Al‑Anon members who come into this prison, without whom none of this would ever have been possible.

By Rafael M., California
The Forum, July 2012