Through many experiences in my life I have developed a very strong belief that a loving presence is always with us and works through us. I was reminded of this presence in a prison cell in Henderson, Nevada.
Prior to this situation, I had been in recovery without a drink of alcohol for nine months. Then I broke down and found myself in a bar. I managed to throw down six rum and cokes. I got in my car to go to my hotel and found myself driving down the wrong side of the road. I was immediately swarmed by policemen. They slammed me onto the hood, handcuffed me and took me to jail on a DUI charge.
I was very upset, so they put me in an isolation cell and took all my clothes. The cell was dismal and cold. As the days passed, I became increasingly depressed. I had been sober so long, and now I was in this nightmare situation. I stopped eating. I could feel my will to live leaving me. I kept pressing the emergency button, desperate for help. A guard yelled, “Mr. Casey, if you press that button one more time, you are never getting out”. That was the last nail in the coffin. “How can people be so uncaring?” my heart screamed, “here I am withering away and no one even cares.” I no longer wanted to be in this world.
The next morning made the fourth day that my breakfast came and once again I did not eat. I pulled myself up for a moment, said three words “God help me” and fell backwards onto the cold, hard bed. What seemed like 30 seconds later I heard my cell door open. An officer that I had never seen before was standing there with the kindest presence. I noticed his name-tag; it read “Officer Wright”.
Officer Wright gave me some clothes and told me to take a shower (something the other officers had not let me do). He said that they would have a doctor check on me and that they would put me into general population where I would be released from my cell three times a day. His words made my will to live flood through my body. When lunch came I devoured everything on my plate. During my last four days in jail, I made a great connection with my cellmate, exercised, and continued to be held by that same Loving Presence when the unbearable anxiety of being behind bars threatened to collapse my will once again.
The choice of sobriety has to come from a place so deep inside you, that it is beyond your need or want. It is something you just embrace and surrender to. It is a complete willingness to face and let go of the hurt you are experiencing, to know with all your heart, no matter how scary it may seem, that this is the path you must take.