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Grapevine : July 2011
some of the inmates knew about AA. I was released a year and a half later, got a home group, a sponsor and worked the Steps. I made cof- fee and greeted people at the door. Later, I was asked to be the general service representative of my group. When a couple of guys started bring- ing a meeting into the county jail, they asked if I wanted to join them. I had not turned down a service re- quest yet, but had no desire to see the inside of a jail again. I think they saw my lack of enthusiasm and didn't pursue it any further. I was elected district committee member for my district, and was fascinated by the level of commitment and ded- ication those serving exhibited at the area assemblies. After my term as DCM, I was nominated to be the corrections fa- cility chair for our area. I requested some time to discuss it with my sponsor. I couldn't take a job that involved getting members involved in CFC work if I wasn't willing to go into the corrections facilities myself. My sponsor pointed out that I was only being asked to give back what had been given to me. He suggested I pray about it. I went for a long walk on the beach and recalled, years before, a guy sitting at a table in the dayroom. Someone had brought him the mes- sage, which he had then passed on to me. I had my answer. The unit didn't have a single AA meeting when we got there. Well, now it has what we named the "Free On The Inside" group, and a Big Book study with 35 guys and a waiting list of over a hundred. I correspond reg- ularly with several inmates as well. I've had lots of service jobs since I joined AA, but this, by far, has been the most rewarding. David T. South Padre Island, Texas Discussion topic The author of " e Message Inside" shares about his conflicted feelings about returning to an incar- ceration setting by taking a meeting inside the county jail. He recalls how he had received the message of recovery himself while doing time in a maximum security prison. "I was surprised how much some of the inmates knew about AA," he writes. When his own chance comes to return the favor by taking a meeting to a local jail, he struggles but ultimately overcomes his fear. "I have had lots of service jobs since I joined AA, but this, by far, has been the most rewarding," he concludes. How have you struggled with your past and its impact on your ability to do service and carry the mes- sage? You may use this top- ic at a discussion meeting, or share your experience on the i-Say bulletin board, www.aagrapevine.org. aagrapevine.org 13