Visiting correctional facilities in Memphis, Tennessee has been a wonderful experience for me. A major and indispensable aspect of my own recovery lies in carrying a message of hope to others. When I was suffering from untreated Substance Use Disorder, I found very little, if any, meaning and purpose in my life. I felt useless, worthless, and hopeless. My interactions with inmates has helped me to better understand myself, my disease, and others. I've learned compassion, something that was honestly foreign to me, due to the nature of my self-centered malady. I love to try and help educate others about the nature of alcoholism and addiction, so that they can understand what they might be up against and therefore begin to believe in and seek treatment and recovery for such afflictions. What I am describing has been an essential component of 12 Step Recovery since its conception. It truly keeps me alive and well. My personal experiences with inmates has shown me that it does make a difference to them as well, that they need this service in order to live different lives and avoid recidivism. The majority of inmates that I've come in contact with have been incarcerated due to drug and alcohol use and they have never been educated about alcoholism or addiction. In order for them to recover, they need to be armed with the facts. Many of the inmates were never given a chance to live different lives–they grew up in and were the products of dangerous and toxic environments. When my efforts to educate or help seem to accomplish something for someone else, it beats the feeling of any high I've ever gotten from any substance.
Lifeline Peer Project Coordinator Helps Inmates On The Road To Recovery