"Our stories disclose in a general way, what we were like, what happened and what we are like now."
(The Big Book of AA)
"Grateful Inmate Letter"
God's Will in my life…many situations and experiences to organize my new value system and to prioritize what I needed to do to sustain God's Love in my life. Even though I did experience some pain and sacrifice at times, I learned these times to be more of an opportunity to trust in God for guidance and to find comfort in Him during every event, encounter or circumstance. Looking back, I see how by applying the lessons I learned in every situation, enhanced and held value to my Spiritual Growth and strengthened my trust and Love through the Lord. And because of this I finally found the Peace and contentment in my mind I always hoped for.
However, I was still responsible for my past and needed to pay my dept to society and clear away the wreckage of my past. My pending DUI was resolved and I was sentenced to 6 yrs. – 3 in, 3 out. I had to turn myself in on June 22. Talk about a test! At first I experienced distress & conflict. But by God's Grace, I continued to practice the lessons I learned in the Course in Miracles and I was able to keep my mind and thoughts focused on God and not myself. I put into practice everything I had learned and been given. I got to a place that I thanked God for this opportunity to spend 3 more years to devote to my relationship with Him. Where at first, I felt grief; I soon begin to feel gratitude. Where at first I felt I was loosing my physical freedom, I began to feel I was going to gain Spiritual Freedom.
Upon my re-entry into the DOC (Dept. of Corrections) I was so pleased to find the Course in Miracles offered at Dodge Correctional. Within one week I was reunited with Rev. Mike. When I went to classification I asked to come back to New Lisbon Correctional Inst. for the opportunity to complete the whole program. Even though I completed 150 Lessons previously, I wanted to start over with Lesson 1.
I am now on Lesson 138 and I feel an even deeper connection and relationship with my Creator then I did the first time doing the Lessons. This Course has and continues to set me free from my insane, selfish thinking that kept me in bondage and sick, which affected everyone in my life. If I would have wrote down what I wanted from the Course when I started, I would have sold myself short. I have found a Peace within myself that I never could have imagined. I now know a new freedom and happiness I never knew existed.
My whole attitude and outlook on life has changed. I no longer have a self-seeking attitude. I have gained interest in others that feeling of uselessness and self-pity has disappeared. I no longer regret my past and cherish the lessons from it. I see how my past experiences can now help others. I now realize God is doing for me what I could not do for myself. I am so very grateful for the Course in Miracles. It has taught me God-Dependency, honesty, self-responsibility, forgiveness and gratitude. These are the 5 cornerstones to my peace filled, happy and content life. Believing my mind is part of God's and that I am very Holy, I have no desires or need to alter my mind with alcohol or drugs. I am truly sustained by God's Love.
S.C., New Lisbon Correctional Inst.
My name is Karl, and I am going to share with you briefly of a journey I chose to take with my life. A life for over 20 years lived with failure, rejection, denial, fear, addiction, and so much more. Any choices or decisions I made were only for my selfish desires, with no regards or concern of who I took advantage of, or whom I hurt, were of no consequence to me. Reality? I did whatever I had to in order to stay out of any type of reality. Unknown to me, this vicious cycle was going to kill me someday.
The double life I call good vs. evil was having its way with me in a never ending battle. My beliefs, my goals, my awareness, my responsibilities, were all destroyed in the addiction of drugs and alcohol. Contrary to being raised by loving parents who never gave up trying to help, the one all important value I lacked was living with Jesus in my heart, and a God to guide me on my journey. The only God of my awareness was that there is a power responsible for everything, everywhere, but where was this God when I needed Him? I've had my share of lost jobs, broken trust, and anything else you can imagine. The only relationships I chose to share were with those who I thought were just like me, and had no worries in the world. Living life in the fast lane continued with no real end in sight. Being influenced, I chose more, thus began my criminal trouble.
Numerous trips in and out of jail, in and out of treatment centers, my sobriety episodes were only short lived. Again, I chose to ignore reality. I still believed I was in control and no one was going to tell me otherwise. After all, the only miracle I know is that I am still alive but have a hatred for life.
Finally, God chose to speak to me. My mother's life was taken for what purpose. I thought was only for anger and resentment toward this Higher Power. Such a wonderful mother, who was there for me no matter what circumstances, was taken from me. The attachment we had, and just how precious life can be, was but a blur for me. My vicious cycle of using drugs destroyed emotions; irrational thinking spun me into trouble with the law once again. Consequences were meaningless, for my depression, lost hope and despair were entertaining thoughts of ending my misery by suicide.
In the mean time, I had a bone to pick with my Maker. My dark hole was becoming larger and deeper. By now everything up to this point was the norm for me. Then this God chose to speak to me once again. This time I was notified by the police that my identical twin brother chose to end his life next to our mother's grave site. A bond that is shared between twins is hard to describe. It's a bond which we shared with our mother and he chose to go and be with her. How on earth can a loving God punish me in this way? He must know that I can't take much more of this misery.
In total shock and total denial I had chosen to end any type of reality. Insane thoughts and emotions were out of control. All I wanted to achieve was to numb everything. And this took me to attempting to take my life. My way, not God's way.
In the following two weeks I tried overdosing with drugs, stepping into the path of a semi-truck and I even tried to obtain a gun. Some way, my Higher Power stepped in each time to spare my life. How dare He plan my life, I'll show Him I'm the boss!
Committing another forgery to pay for my addiction, God stepped in yet again. My family, my wife, my parole officer and, yes, God knew I was in trouble. I was placed in the county jail being revoked for four years and facing another twenty five years on the new charge. This new fear I chose to have was enough to finish me.
In my suicide cell I had enough fabric to tie around my neck, cutting off any attempts to breathe. I lay motionless under my blanket, unknown to anyone or so I thought. What I failed to understand was how my Higher Power uses others to help. I had been so mentally and physically drained that I passed out quickly and painlessly. I recall thinking, it's finally going to be over.
Then once again, God stepped in. As I lay in my death bed, the most beautiful, brightest light I had ever seen totally surrounded me. Off in the distance, I can see two figures floating their way towards me. Dressed in brilliant white gowns, glowing so bright. I see my mother and my twin brother. All I felt was such a peace moving through me, and as my brother reaches down to take hold of my arm, my mother stops him and says,”He is not ready to come with us." As I watch them turn and float away, I remember feeling very sad. The next thing I know I'm being treated by jail staff.
You see an officer was walking to get another person from their cell and noticed I was lying motionless and found me blue in color unconscious under my blanket. Like my mother, God with His grace and forgiveness never gave up on me, no matter what the circumstances were. A miracle you say? You better believe it! As I look back now, I have been blessed with endless miracles my whole life, and now, forever. The best way to describe my new change is, Peace, happiness, Love, no fear.
Near to ending my four year prison term I have given the control to my Higher Power. What an amazing feeling. Oh yea, that twenty five years on the new charge I was facing? Once again, God said, "No way!" No additional charge time was given. When you have a pure heart filled with Jesus, good things just keep coming.
Just look at me---A Living Miracle!
One day at a time.
"I never could believe in God or anyone else. I always felt that showed weakness. But now I know God loves me and I can't keep going though life pushing Him away. The lessons of ACIM have helped me open up more. Yesterday's lession "There is nothing to fear" has been on my mind alot the last few weeks. Last week I did a 15 minute speech on Fear and how it affected my life. But no more !" Steve
"Each (lesson) keeps me in touch with the Father, reminding me how I can't even walk without Him holding my hand. And as I sleep He cradles me in light, warmth, love and protection, allowing me to sleep in peace and security." Lee
"This evening has been yet another bout with severe, intense depression. It has been building silently all day. My thoughts drifted to A. - my dearest friend I have ever had in this life. He died recently. Finally I was able to cry. (It's hard to put into words the relationship we had. This relationship healed the deepest of emotional wounds in me. God how I hope that I contributed at least a little to his healing too.)
Thinking of my friend was enough to bring me "to my knees." And here I am. Surrender, Surrender, Surrender! I am desperate for closeness to God. I saw some actual photographs of the Trade Center collapsing and other extremely graphic photos from Afghanistan, photos that would not appear in newspapers because they are so graphic. Once again - surrender, surrender, surrender. There must be a better way.
At my brink of utter despair tonight I read "The Real Alternative." "…Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point and go beyond it."
I choose not to die! I choose to go beyond it! No More Drugs, No More Sick Relationships To Fix My Pain, No More Of What Does Not Work. No More Illusions To Deceive Myself. God Please Give Me Spiritual Sight!" Jodi
"When I was 36 I came to prison and I made the decision to seek God for strength cause I was emotionally bankrupt." Kimberly
"I used to have one of the noisiest most chaotic minds possible. And my heart was hardened like stone. But I broke out of my mental prison, letting go of material desires, now to be filled with love for myself - plus I see the glue that connects us all and I have love for my brother." Dow
"…So I'm resolved to do the lessons, whether I at first understand them or not. I won't dispute them, but will keep my mind open. I sense God's presence in the Course (A Course In Miracles)." John
"The readings are beginning to shed a whole new light on God for me; I don't believe I will ever look on God in quite the same form." Tim
"Thank you for the material… It's consuming me, I'm consuming it, and I can't get enough!" John
"I still have 2 more years to go in prison but since finding God I no longer look at this time with the same dread as I did before. I now realize that this is just another part of my journey and I must make the most of it. This is the perfect opportunity for me to build a strong relationship with God and get a better understanding so that I can share with others." Timothy
"In all difficulties, all circumstances, loss or gain, pain or healing, Christ is with me. His (God's) Holy Spirit Consoles, Counsels and Comforts me. Everyone else's priority may be the TV. cigarettes, drugs or some other type of medicating their feelings but mine is experiencing them because I'm more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus." Leland
"I have given my life over to God today in my recovery." James
"…and the book A Course In Miracles is awesome, mind blowing. For me, it is a new discovery of the potential I have to know myself. This is the course I've been looking for for years, this is very inspirational for me." Keith
"…Coming from an A.A./N.A. background with many relapses. I realize I lacked a true grasp of a "higher power." ACIM makes my path of understanding so simple and wonderful! Thank you. I breathe with relief!" Claude
"I finally realized it was by the grace of God… my life was spared." Kimberly
"I am blessed to have friends like you, to have A Course In Miracles, to have a glimpse of true peace and joy." John
"Nobody loved me the way I thought they should. But when I realized they couldn't and never would be able to, but God could, would, did and does… well my searching ended. I found it, I've got it. It's right here in my heart." Anon
"My relationship with myself and God are paradoxically connected. When I'm not in touch with myself especially spiritually, my relationship with God definitely suffers. But God being love He never lets me stay out there very long. The discomfort from my separation becomes so uncomfortable that I go to seeking and crying out for Him quickly. Immediately He responds 'Here I Am! And Here You Are Too!' Peace comes…" Lee
"God Said it, Jesus Did it, I Believe it, That Settles It!" Vickie
"As my review date for parole comes closer I have to keep checking and reminding myself parole or not God is here in, with, and surrounding me. Keeping me safe and blessing me. That truly only God can set me free from prison and when He does it will be because He feels I'm ready and not before. So I count, rely, and believe in God and His everlasting care for me." Free Lee
"What peace and joy transcends my being as I become as one with God! I can sense His Presence! These lessons are wonderful." Doug
"When I got locked up I was on drugs and I did not have God in my life. I got 30 years for robbery and I really lost all faith, but I now believe that God has a plan for my life, I'm 20 now and I'm saved and I'm glad I'm in prison, cause I was a walking dead man on the street. But give all praise to God! Praise Him!" Michael
"The practice periods are not just making sense, they are starting to bring me a complete closer connection and feeling with God. Sometimes now I really feel a oneness with God, I know it's gonna get better each day." Billy
"My daily practices are going well. I have noticed the peace and balance getting in touch with the Truth has brought to me. I also find the proper thought entering my mind when I need it." Erin
"God is my only strength. We can do nothing without Him. I get up every day and pray for God to do His Will; not by my will, I realize I can't do anything by myself. It has to be through God. His grace is sufficient for me." Vickie
"Step 2 has been a struggle for me for a long time, but through the "little willingness" that the Course requires, I have begun to believe that a Power greater than myself could, and is, restoring me to sanity." Mark
"I have found that following these very basic Steps has really been easy. I may not understand them at first, then I do a lesson that ties it all together and it's awesome. I love taking this Course and I find that when I submit to my heavenly Father he truly brings me peace, in all areas of my life." Grace