Being able to place principles before personalities has afforded me opportunities to anonymously walk prison inmates caught up in an environment where race trumps all – religion , sexuality, geography, and all other ways we identify ourselves, to the door to a whole new way of life, a fresh mindset, a new, truer self, and closer to what they either identify as or, if they continue, will eventually identify as the god of their understanding. I’ve sponsored men over the years who have shared the most hateful, evil ideas and most treacherous deeds exacted upon members of the various cultures in which I am a member of. I’ve been told of the cancers of NIGGERS, JIGABOOS, SPICS, WETBACKS, RED NIGGERS, SAVAGES, SLAVES, MONKEYS, MOOSE-LIMS, TERRORISTS, PORCH MONKEYS, HORSE THIEVES, etc. Through it ALL, I have always stayed on message and have seen dead men live as a result. Under ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCE this could hardly be possible, considering the ways we chose, then lost the control to choose to live our lives. Most of the men I’ve sponsored over the years, walked through the steps toward a new spirit would not so much as shake my hand, let alone tell me their most intimate secrets or fears were they to ever see my face, my politics, my religion – generally just how I get down. Through this fellowship, through G-d, we identify only as addicts. I thank Allah tremendously for this simplicity.
I’ve received letters from brothers who have paroled to states from NY, to Kentucky, Texas, to California sharing their gratitude, pictures of their kids being referred to as my nieces and nephews, and offers of compensation. I usually laugh as I read them, but also beam with gratitude myself. My answer, always: You cannot repay me for something that was never mine. You cannot pay me for something that was freely given to me. G-d gave you life, I just showed you where you left it; and the only form of payment possible is to show someone who is lost where their life is.
Working the steps with inmates is the way I choose to provide service to the fellowship which found me and led me to life and to G-d.