Part of my research for Bad Penny led me to the Utah state prison. I was able to attend a session with five of the convicts. Let me tell you: walking through those high fences and electric doors and hearing them close behind you was something.
The five men all had interesting and unfortunate tales to tell. But they were all hopeful. I was there with a couple of kids in a troubled youth program and their leader. And of course there were a couple of guards.
We got to ask questions and chat. It was an upbeat session despite the topic. One thing I asked about was the food, and one fellow said that the worst thing was this “crack wheat” they served for breakfast.
“Cracked wheat?” I asked with a smile. “That’s good old Mormon food.”
He said, “It’s awful.” We laughed. There were many times we laughed.
And there were a lot of things asked and shared. One of the key things that stood out to me was that all of them were there because of drug addictions. And as they shared their goals of staying clean, they revealed that this wasn’t their first time inside. For one it was his third, another his fifth, another his ninth.
And it was with those comments I realized just what a hold addiction had on these guys.
Fortunately, most folks with addictions don’t have to go to prison. But a lot fail to break out of them and miss many opportunities for joy, sometimes wrecking the ones they have. The 12-step program has one of the best success rates of any program.
My church has meetings and programs all over the country. They’re free and open to anyone. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, porn, or eating disorders, you might want to go here to see what to expect from a 12-step meeting and how to participate.
Even with all the vicissitues, life is meant to be enjoyed.