Biography: Author unknown, “The Prisoner Freed”
Author unknown, New York City.
(p. 495 in 2nd edition, 508 in 3rd edition.)
They Lost Nearly All
“After twenty years in prison for murder, he knew A.A. was the spot for him – if he wanted to stay on the outside.”
This alcoholic first heard of A.A. and went to his first meetings when he was in prison. He probably joined the fellowship in 1950 or 1951. He slipped after ten months, but by the time he wrote his story for the 2nd edition he had four years sobriety.
He started drinking when he was about sixteen, but had to hide it from his father. After his father died he “rolled along with the mob,” for years until one day, returning from a four-day drunk, a detective was waiting for him. He had shot and killed one person and almost killed a second.
He was indicted for murder in the first degree, and feared he would get the death penalty, but the jury brought back a verdict of murder in the second degree, for which he received a sentence of twenty years to life. He received an additional sentence of fifteen years for attempted murder of the other man. He was sent to Sing Sing expecting to serve a minimum of thirty-five years, as at that time there was no time off for good behavior. Eventually the laws were changed and he was released after serving twenty years and nine months.
During that time he was incarcerated at Sing Sing, Dannemora in the Adirondacks, and a place Wallkill, “a so-called rehabilitation center.” It was at Wallkill that he first heard of A.A. from two other inmates. He didn’t like A.A., but his two friends kept insisting he go back to the meetings.
When he was released from prison he made excuses to his parole officer for not going to A.A. Then one day he ran into the old crowd and got drunk. His mother, was heartbroken and asked if he were going to do this to her all over again. He told her he would not. She was still alive at the age of eighty-two when he wrote his story.
So he finally joined A.A., and after a slip at ten months stayed sober.
Life was no bed of roses, but when something happened that upset him, instead of walking in and throwing a buck at the barman, he walked into a phone booth and dropped a dime in the box to call an A.A. member.
He considered himself very lucky to have found A.A. and the A.A. program to hang on to and carry him through.