My name is Marnie and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is 1/21/2014 – which is definitely nothing to brag about since I came into the rooms of AA in April 1993. On 1/20/2014 I was arrested for the 26th time and booked into jail. Knowing I was on the run from drug court, I knew I would get roughly four months termination. I also had drugs on me and knew if I used them, I would never get sober again. While waiting to complete the booking process, I decided that no matter what happened I was not going to use again. I was literally terrified, prior to making the decision, but once I did, I went into the restroom and knelt down praying to my higher power to give me the strength and grace that was needed to not use today. I felt an actual calm and peace I had not felt in about 11 years since I began drinking again. Once I hit quarantine in jail, I traded the drugs to other inmates for hygiene and some commissary food items. I showered, then ate and went to bed. The next day was my first day clean and sober. I was getting ready to be released and new charges were filed on me out of a county I have never been in. They were two five to life’s, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Literally terrified, I was transported to the county to await trial. I found out that a person I had sold drugs to beat up a lady and robbed her. vehicle. I was one hundred percent guilty, same as the co-defendant. I plead the charges down and went out to prison on a five year matrix. I spent the next three years staying sober in an environment I could not run from. I decided to make the absolute most of my time of incarceration. I applied and was accepted to a treatment program that was literally the most difficult thing I have ever completed, in an environment where most are not ready or willing to be sober or work a program. I completed that program and continued on with therapy and working directly out of the Big Book of AA the twelve steps, even doing a thorough fifth step with the chaplain of the prison facility. In this environment, I truly learned to pray, meditate, and become a worker among workers and a friend among friends. I learned that whether people are being honest, using, being hateful or acting however, I can still be kind, loving and tolerant to them, and most of all respectful. When you live 24 hours with the same woman, you learn that every action you make certainly affects those around you and with nowhere to run, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions. I returned to the board and was released immediately after a two year rehearing due to the way I had spent my time by being productive and working on me. I did individual therapy, yoga and anything else available to benefit myself. AA meetings were not readily available. They were sporadic at best due to many circumstances beyond my control. My goal upon release was to be able to give back to the community and especially my family through living daily amends for all the wreckage the last eleven years of using had caused. Just because I had been sober for a little over three years didn’t mean I hadn’t caused wreckage. I have been out of prison for almost one year. During this time, I have cleared up all financial amends, completed all requirements of my parole and my PO is going to take time to write a letter for early termination which is a huge miracle since I was ordered to 36 months. I expect to be free entirely from the system in the next couple months. I have made amends with the family and friends that were possible. I Have the lowest paying job I have ever had, but in return have excellent benefits and no one at my work knows of my criminal history. Through daily application of the twelve steps of AA and taking the principles of the twelve traditions and applying them to all my relationships, I am leading a healthy, happy and useful life. I have an amazing sponsor, who has a sponsor who also has a sponsor. An amazing dynasty of women in recovery all around me. I also get the opportunity of sponsoring women in recovery. I finally got off the fence, made an actual decision and backed it up with action. That is really all I did, and the gifts of sobriety in my life are endless. I wake up truly grateful to have a real bed and pillow to sleep on, knowing I have a family who truly loves me and I get to show up fully in their lives.