Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some Days Feel Like a Country Song

My husband got up early this morning to see me off to prison. I told him I had to take the pickup because of flooding from the rain. He said this was starting to sound like the perfect country and Western song.

I reminded him that it couldn't be the perfect country and Western song because we hadn't said anything about mama or trains or getting drunk.

We agreed that it would be unseemly for me to get drunk before an Al-Anon orientation, so for the sake of the song it would have to be him. The opening chorus started rolling through my brain, a la David Allen Cole. If you know the song I'm referring to, feel free to sing along:

I was drunk the day my wife drove off to prison...

But at least I was going, despite my not having submitted my background questionnaire on duplex, double sided copies. It's surely a sign that my disease is still active that I worried a little about it.

But getting rejected by the prison is a little like getting rejected by the Army. How do you explain it to your friends?

There was, of course, the whole duplex, double-sided copy thing. I wasn't sure if I had answered all the questions in the 50-page training manual correctly and "legibly." Maybe I had left some spaces blank that would "cause my application to be delayed or rejected." And then there was the matter of the frustrated, late-night e-mail to the chaplain asking if he was serious about wanting to know the date of every parking ticket I've had. He never answered.

There were 17 of us in all, consisting of a half a dozen volunteer programs. Al-Anon, AA, some religious ministries. We met in a classroom on the prison complex. It looked like you might imagine a prison classroom would look like: scuffed linoleum floors, folding tables and banquet chairs. Plaques on the wall had slogans like "security" and "teamwork."

I liked the chaplain better in person than on paper. He did not speak in bolded and underlined admonishments. He even joked a little. "I know you didn't get enough paperwork already, so I'm going to give you more."

It was interesting to me that the code on the drug testing form for my category of volunteer is SAVOL. It stands for substance abuse volunteer, but sounds like "save all," which is what so many Al-Anons try to do.

The chaplain told us that patience is a great virtue. "If you're not a patient person, don't even start," he said. "This is the government, after all."

Boy am I in trouble.

My patience would have to begin immediately, since the fingerprinting machine was not working and I'd have to make an appointment and drive back to get that done. Along with my TB test.

Meanwhile I have until Tuesday noon to get a drug test on my own.

But then I'll be done.

Wish me well.


  1. All the best Kathy. Keep us posted dear one. Blessings and hugs.

  2. There's someone waiting to be touched by you.

  3. What you think you lack in patience you make up for in determination. I like your comment about the SAVOL sounding like "save all", which is one of the things I learned about in Codependents Anonymous. You are almost finished with the beginning process and sounds like there are lots of things in store for you. Best wishes. It will be interesting to hear some of the anonymous situations you encounter.

  4. Hi Kathy,
    Good luck. I'm excited to find another "program person" to read about. I will be back to see how it all went.
    thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. All the best kathy. Loved the opening line for your blog. That sounds like a story in itself!
    Actually, what a great opening line for a book / short story!
    Just remember, one small step at the time, and it will be worth it. Great challenge for you, though.