Being on the Other Side

I can still hear the cell doors closing. It was like a cackle of evil as the steel doors clacked and clocked. If you were sleeping a dream of love, family, good sex, and food…there was nothing like that echoing ghost to wake you up into reality.

My brother is in there…

He tried to reach me but that prison phone isn’t designed to help, it is designed to make you pay money to some private company so you can talk to your friend or loved one. That damn prison phone. How dare you hold my brother for ransom and make me pay, using something new called telephone extortion.

That prison phone is always taken too. Have you ever sat on a steel stool under bright lights waiting for an open phone to call your loved ones. Add a small, neurotically controlled room filled with many different forms of violence, rape, molestation, mental illness, broken homes, and what you have is fear and anger. You need both to survive.,

Back to the story.

There i was, walking in the humid and sticky golden sunshine of Florida when I receive a phone cal from a Texas number. For the first two minutes I am talking to a machine telling me someone in jail is trying to reach me.

Really? Hmm…who could that be?

I guess they forgot we were human…

Someone in prison turned out to be my brother who is not by blood, but by bond. He was there for me when I was down and out, and I am repaying the favor. I do it for reasons that are not for me to know or understand, just do what is right and pay it forward.

At first I am kind of angry and feel upset about the whole situation. He was doing good, he was getting involved with a church group and AA members, he was slowly getting his life back together.

He fell…and he fell hard.

But then I remember the power that exists in working with another on solving problems, like defects and dysfunction, and I remember how to exercise that power. It is in guiding another towards a common goal of surviving that we find what it means to love.

I accept the call by pressing 0 and finally get to talk to my brother. We both wasted 30 seconds bitching about how the phone was cheap on time, until he gave me the address to the facility he is in down in Maryland.

We get disconnected. I am walking down my street and this computer voice tells me to get out my credit card to set up an account. I shake my head in disgust at this low blow to humanity’s balls…

I get out a piece of paper and a pen, and I do something that is a forgotten relic of the slower past: I write him a letter. Not just any letter, one that connects to him to a level of understanding. This is the only way to work with someone and help them recover from anything.

In that letter I tried to give him so much love, compassion, and kindness on top of stern, angry, frustrated sentences because I was hurting. My brother hurt me the way he wasn’t being healthy, or taking care of his kids, or being a better husband to a wife that when together would mix into police and court cases. I love them  both, and I love their two boys. They are so young and have a good chance of growing up to be the next savior!

That is how we go from being on one side of life to another. From darkness to light. From dope to hope. From death to  rebirth into a new person.

I am happy to say that today my brother is out of prison. He is not just free physically, but there is something about his spirit that gives him this personal freedom, all to his own. It is times like these that I  stop, take a moment to breathe, and realize just how important words can be. When I think back on the phone calls from that Texas private prison number, I remember wanting to break him out but the only way out…was for him to do it on his own with his personal belief in God.

Today he is living like God.

Thanks for being beyond a best friend to someone I consider family by bond. We are just like Bill and Dr. Bob, and the funny part is most people don’t even know who the two greatest movement starters since Jesus and Moses’ time!

Let’s go out and see if this magazine can’t do what the Big Book did! But this is not about AA or NA, this is about UA: UniversallyAnonymous