All true stories start at the beginning, and this one is mine. I started my forth step for the first time in my life. It was hard for me to understand how to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory” of myself, and be as honest as possible. I’ll be 60 years old this July and I’ve been in prison for over 5 years. They’ve been the worst years of my life. I’ve suffered through depression, anger, guilt, shame, starvation, and the withdrawals from alcoholism, just to name a few. I wrote my father and his wife a letter from prison asking to be removed from their will. After all, who would want a son who abuses alcohol and his own family? I don’t think they understand addiction…and neither did I…I haven’t heard from them since. My mother still cares about me, but all mom’s love their sons, even an imprisoned one. She’s 83 years old now. I may never see her again. I had abandoned my family because I thought, “I’m not good enough to be called a dad.” I walked out on my three lovely children, thinking that it was I to blame for leaving them. In reality it was my years of drinking alcohol uncontrollably that led to my demise and loss of status. I lost everything we had: our home, our savings, our cars. I lost my children’s toys, family memories, footprints in the sand. I even thought of losing myself… My memory is faded, but not as much as my families. I remember one time getting angry with my children because I didn’t know how to solve what should have been a simple problem. My kids didn’t want to share with each other, and I didn’t want to be troubled while I was getting drunk out in the garage. My chosen response was poor, and the outcome was bleak. I had a lovely family. Three beautiful children who loved their daddy. A wonderful son and twin daughters that any parent would have been willing to give the world for. I was a single dad. My children lost their mother in a tragic car accident on Febuary 14th 2005. They were very young. I’d been drowning my sorrows ever since. I blamed myself over her accident. “If only I would have…” went through my mind one-thousand times, then a thousand beers justified my uncontrollable personality. I cheated my community out of everything I could. I was a businessman with a license to steal. I had harmed partners, friends, and family members. Alcohol was controlling my life. I had been arrested many times. I have had 3 D.W.I’s and I have been in three different treatment centers, each with a name like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. They never helped me with my addictions. They helped me learn how to disguise them. My choice of friends led me to a party life I quickly became accustom to. All night drink-a-thons, painful hangovers, the loss of employment and much more. But it was fun – wasn’t it? I should have stopped drinking then. I started drinking at a young age. It was my older brother who offered me my first beer and a pack of cigarettes. I remember getting sick that night. I was 10 years old. I’ve put my time in prison to good use. I have learned to read and write. I’ve got my high school diploma. I write to my family about the happy memories my sobriety has returned to me. I’ve taken all the classes I can on changing my behavior and my way of thinking. I’m studying business. I go to church and I attend A.A. as often as I’m allowed. My future is a reflection of the person I want to be. All true stories start at the beginning, and this one is mine. -Jamie S.