Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Smallest Meeting on Earth

There was only one inmate at our prison meeting last night. My partner and I officially outnumbered her.

This was only my second prison meeting, but my partner has attended this meeting for a year and a half and said that meeting has struggled with attendance the whole time. If things do not improve, she will cancel the meeting.

My partner, who is the Al-Anon prison volunteer coordinator, thought that maybe it would help to turn the program there over to the inmates. We wouldn't run the meetings. We would just attend. It would give them a feeling of ownership.

With that in mind, she put together a folder and presented it to the one inmate who was there last night. She told the inmate she was in charge.

My partner asked the inmate if she expected to be there for a while. The inmate shook her head no. She was getting released in June.

This may be the shortest volunteer assignment I've ever had.

I've always said my God has a sense of humor. I'm sure more will be revealed.


  1. Recovery can't be forced. It can't be coerced. People come when they're ready, and some are never ready. Their lessons lie along other lines.

    You've done something remarkable just by offering this possibility to women who might never have heard of CoDA otherwise. Maybe the time isn't right for them, now, but the seed has been planted. If it is meant to grow, it will.

  2. Sorry - AlAnon! The two programs are so similar I sometimes forget you are in a different fellowship.

  3. Still, you just never know who is receiving a seed somewhere to be watered later and then passed on to someone else. I always thing one person is worth having a meeting.

  4. It seems like even if only one woman shows up, you are making a difference. And turning the meetings over to the women seems like a nice idea.

  5. I wonder about the woman - the woman being released in June, and how fortunate she was to be surrounded by the two of you.

  6. When I was incarcerated many years ago, I loved it when people from the "free world" came to visit. I am surprised that more didn't attend. If you made a difference in just one woman's life than you have accomplished something huge. Kudos to you!

  7. I hope the meeting continues. Hope is scarce sometimes when a person is incarcerated. I am glad you both were there.


  8. My meeting last night had me and the leader, so two people total. We went forward, but it has a completely different feel to it.

  9. At least you all showed up...there is nothing better than to show up, be sober and share your ESH.

    Oh and yeah, at least my HP has a HUGE sense of humor.

    Great post.


  10. I was thinking of the song, "Each one, Reach one." when reading your post. I know that woman will be blessed by knowing the both of you and knowing that someone cared to come there if there is only one. I bet she felt special. I remember one night I was running a group and only one person showed up. I believe God wanted her to have special attention last night.

    Yep and God does have a sense of humor. His ways are definitely higher than mine. :)

    I also wanted to thank you for commenting on my blog. It is such an encouragement on days when I get a little discouraged.


  11. Thank you for such a wonderful post. As I have said in the past, I learn from what you say here and am encouraged. Blessings.

  12. Good post, there's always a lesson or opportunity to be found in our despair. Good idea on handing the reins over to the inmate, she can still make a difference in the short period of time and may be able to bring some ideas that would peak the interest of other inmates. Good luck!