Empathy

Some Lessons in Freedom

What does it mean to be free?

Freedom From Prison

I often think of my friend, Sam, an ex-Attica inmate, whom I met at an AA meeting many years ago. Freedom, for Sam, was very identifiable. When released from prison, institutional confinement was history for him. He could now do whatever he wanted.

He was free.

On the other hand, at 52, he entered a kind of free-fall world with no job skills and lost time, which he could have used to build some seniority and benefits in a manufacturing job.

Nevertheless, technically, he was still free. Continue reading

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Alcohol Recovery, a Personal Overview

A hand locked to glass of alcoholI used to believe there was only one kind of alcoholic, with several variations:

  • The guy sleeping in a small entrance cove of a store, at two in the morning, with a near-empty wine bottle tucked inside his stained trench coat.
  • The guy, with blood-shot eyes, standing in front of a seven-eleven, asking me for loose change so he can “buy a piece of pizza.”
  • The guy, with hands trembling, sitting on the steps of an urban church, stopping passers-by telling them he needs gas money to visit his mother in hospice.
  • The barroom story-tellers spinning out their lazy-tongued tales of resentments against a boss, an ex-girlfriend, or all the corrupt Washington politicians in bed with Wall Street.

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