Thursday, December 16, 2010

My boys dun good

A good day's work. Just the ironing left to do and that can wait a bit.

Right, so where to begin? With the prison carol services I think.

Monday night's was a bit hairy as someone had set the lights on a timer and it all went dark just before the service was to start. We had to make do with emergency lighting, which wasn't the best for the men who had to read their words. They coped admirably though (and no-one took advantage of the dimness to divest the Lord Mayor of his chain).

I was so proud of my boys. And they did even better the next night when they could see properly.

From prison on Tuesday I went straight to Zac's carol service. A simpler affair - no Sally Army band and songsters - is it compulsory to be able to sing to be in the Salvation Army I wonder - with readings and favourite carols. And, as Sean commented, most people managed to sing the right tune ... most of the time.

But back to the prison. Afterwards I asked one woman what she'd thought of it; she said, 'Ahh, it was lovely.' I was very tempted to say that she can't have been listening if she thought it was lovely. Honest, raw, painful, yes; lovely no.

For weeks I've been meeting with a small group of men and we've been talking about Christmas and what it means to us. One man shared his story, which we used in the service. This is it.

I needed help. My life was in a mess and there was nothing I could do about it. I was an alcoholic and I’d spent the last 25 years of my life in and out of prison. I began to talk to the Samaritans, managed to get the help I needed. I went through the AA 12 steps programme and I got clean. I was so grateful I wanted to start giving something back to the community that I’d taken from for so long. I helped on soup runs, feeding the homeless. Things were going good for me.

Then my dad died. He’d been more than a father to me; he’d been more like my best friend. I could tell him anything and we talked everyday. Until he died.

I went back on the booze. The only thing that helped me from giving up all together was that I had to stay fit to look after my young son. But Christmas was the worst. I’d grown up in a large family and Christmas had always been special. We’d read the story in the bible and go to midnight mass. My dad had taught me the real meaning of Christmas and I missed him so much. That year I just about managed to get through the day while I had my son with me. In the evening, when he’d gone, I went up to the cemetery to talk to my dad. I woke up next morning lying on my dad’s grave, an empty whisky bottle in my hand.

And now I'm back in here. And in prison I have a choice: I can stay in my cell and do nothing or I can try and sort out my behaviour.

I've got to make the right choice, for my son’s sake.

Lovely? I don't think so.


Gledwood said...

You stole that Lord Mayor's chain joke off me. STOLE IT, I say!!

That other story just about encapulates everything I love about alcohol so much I never started drinking seriously till I was addicted to heroin and about 29 years old~!!

I'm not claiming to have been teetotal till then, but I pretty much loathed the stuff until I felt I needed something cheapo to intensify the effects of the opiate. Ukh. Drugs!

I haven't touched gear for nearly 2 weeks. And I don't miss it either. Yucky stuff.

Leslie: said...

An inspiring story from one of your guys. I pray he'll be able to get out and be a real Dad to his son.

Furtheron said...

There but for the grace of God... I hope he does get to the place he'd rather be