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Grapevine : March 2011
32 March 2011 perceived unworthiness and low self-esteem. It wasn't long before alcohol consumed my life and my being. Gone were the days when drink- ing meant fun, laughter and sex. Gone were the times when drink- ing meant hanging with girlfriends and friends, skipping class, getting the giggles and mak- ing fun of people. I had crossed a line; those fun, happy times of drinking were permanently over and would never return, no matter how much time and money I spent or how much alcohol I drank to retrieve them. ey were never to come back, nor anything close to them in the way of fun, jovial- ity or comfort. I was an alcoholic. Once a pickle, never a cucumber again. A er years of being di erent, isolating and OVER my years inAAIhave had the op- portunity to attend jail and prison meetings in three di erent states. When I moved home to North Caro- lina in 2004 I was happy to be able to attend corrections meetings in this state as well. ere is a men's minimum-security prison here in my hometown and I became one of the outside sponsors for its weekly AA meet- ing. Because it is a minimum-security facility, many men are serving short sentences or have achieved minimum- security status a er serving time in a higher-security pris- on. Some are nearing their release dates, so the turnover of the men attending the AA meetings is fairly high. A few fortunate inmates at this facil- ity are permitted to attend outside meetings with an AA sponsor. Because of the turnover, I usu- ally take three or four di erent men to the outside meetings each year. Last Friday night was the first time I took Grant F. to an outside meet- ing. About the only things I knew about Grant were that he attended the prison AA meeting regularly, one of the inmates I sponsor recommend- ed him, he sounded like he has been sober for a while and he was currently serv- ing as an o cer of his group. When I picked up Grant at the pris- on I noticed that he was wearing a kufi. (Kufis are traditional skull caps worn by Muslim men.) As we pulled up to our AA building I noticed that Pam B., our "Cookie Lady," was carry- ing in some freshly baked cookies for our meeting. I told Grant Prayer was a big part of his religion. RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE