I had 14 Felony Counts

I had to walk through tough times with the courts. I had 14 felony counts. Three counts of sales, loaded handgun, stolen property etc.... When I had my day in court, I was 5 months clean and sober, with two treatment facilities under my belt. I was sentenced to 1 year county jail (not prison) and three years felony probation. The effort I put forth on "changing" my lifestyle (before my court date) made a big difference in the way the Courts, Probation and the District Attorney viewed my case. This year in jail was probably the best thing that happened to me. I see now that I was not arrested, I was rescued. While in custody I had time to reflect on the behavior that got me incarcerated, time to build a relationship with my Lord and Savior, and time to focus and concentrate on a recovery program.

I was able to attend church on Monday night, Narcotics Anonymous meetings on Tuesday night, Alcoholics Anonymous on Wednesday nights, church on Thursday and Friday nights, and twice Sunday. Thank God for H&I!

While in jail I had a chance to plan for my release by participating in a couple programs sponsored by the Sheriffs Dept. One was the E.L.S.E. program (Education Life Skills & Employment) which consisted of Breaking Barriers, Parenting, Job Skills & Development, Pre-Employment, Conflict resolution, GED & Substance abuse. As well as the Men in Recovery program, (eight weeks of intense treatment with aftercare)

In these programs, I learned how to set goals, and how to achieve goals. I learned who I was, who I had been, and who I could be. I learned how to "live" a recovery program.

Upon my release March 17, I felt a tremendous sense of accountability. I walked out the gates with my chin up, knowing good & well that I had done a lot of things that I was not proud of...but had paid my debt to society.

Accountability has been a wonderful gift in recovery. What we call this is cleaning up the wreckage of our past. And, when we put this type of wreckage behind us we get a fresh start. One of the miracles of recovery and in life is being able to learn from our mistakes so we do not have to repeat them. I might add that we can also learn from other peoples mistakes!

Was doing time easy? Not hardly. Was it necessary? I think so. Please read page 449 in the Big Book. I accept that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. God had a plan and purpose for me while I was in custody. I didn't know what it was at the time, but came to find out that there were so many people in jail that needed to hear the message of God and God's word, and hear the message of recovery. I was able to be of service to countless people, some of who I am sponsoring! Imagine that.

I will be praying for you, for God's will to be done in your life. I will be praying for the Lord to work miracles in your life. Just remember that the Lord works miracles the way he see's fit not the way we always want things to happen. Pray for acceptance and knowledge of His will for you, and the power to carry it out. Accept this situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be.

Someday you too, will be able to reflect back on this time of your life and say that you were rescued. You too, will find out what God's plan and purpose for you is. Hopefully someday you will feel as I do, that The trouble you are facing now...is the beginning of a new way of life.

~ Richard

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