My 9th NA Meeting




This meeting was all about “Recovery and Relapse.” Most NA participants apply the wisdom of NA to their drug use and recovery. I’m finding that I’m needing to apply it in other areas. Because if I were to relapse, it wouldn’t come in the form of using drugs. It would come in the form of fighting.

I am recovering from a life of fighting and violence.

In a previous post called, “New Unit, Same Environment, Different Mindset,” I mentioned how my kindness has caused me a little discomfort. I also mentioned how I would continue to come in contact with a select few who are the cause of my discomfort.

This entire situation has me on edge. As a result, I’m ultra sensitive. I’m on high alert. It’s like I’m almost looking for signs of disrespect. NOT GOOD! Because I found it!

Here’s what happened:


I go to the chow hall and sit at a table with two guys. I’ve sat with these men before…no biggie.

But this time, one guy says, “These seats are taken.”

I should’ve learned my lesson from the incident in “How I Lost My EFV’s For 5 Years.” But evidently, I didn’t. Because I tell the guy, “Yeah! One of them by me.”

I should’ve just gotten up and moved to a different table. That would’ve been a whole lot easier than dealing with what’s about to come.

The two guys get up and join the other two guys who are now standing behind and beside me.

I feel surrounded.

One guy mumbles something…all I hear is, “Mother-f*cker.”

I say nothing as they all go to an empty table.

Two minutes later, one guy comes back and sits down. He says through a tight jaw and clinched fists, “If you ever disrespect me or my friends like that again, I’ll break your f*cking jaw!”

I immediatly get a surge af adrinalin, not knowing if this maniac is going to take off on me right here and now.

I say, “I apologize. I didn’t mean any disrespect. When I got here, this seat was open.”

He quickly retorts, “My partner TOLD you these seats were taken! Next time you get your ass up and MOVE…or I’ll break your f*cking jaw!”

He’s right. I was told that. But since I was on high alert, I didn’t believe it. I thought they just didn’t want me to sit there because I talked to JP.

At any rate, I’m ready for this dude to take his threats and get out of my face. So I say, “Yes sir. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

He leaves.

I’m extremely distraught. My mind is going a million miles a minute. I think about my wife, our beautiful love, and our upcoming EFV’s.

I could beat this dudes ass with one arm tied behind my back. But it’s not worth it. I have too much to lose. I’ve come too far to relapse now. I must swallow my pride and just accept it.

That night I went to my NA meeting. The topic was RECOVERY and RELAPSE. I felt like the words were speaking directly to me. Chapter 7 in the NA book says:


“At times we all experience difficulty in our recovery. Emotional lapses result when we don’t practice what we have learned.”


Those two sentences take me back to what I learned from the incident that cost me my EFV’s for 5 years. I did learn from that. I know where I went wrong. I know what I should’ve done.

The same can be said for this latest situation. I had a minor relapse when I didn’t get up the second I was told, “These seats are taken.”

I should’ve simply said, “I can respect that.” And then left.

But NOOO! I didn’t do that. And I’m pretty sure it’s because I was on high alert and ultra sensitive to any sign of disrespect due to the JP situation. I was looking for signs of disrespect….therefore; I found them.

I’m just super thankful I didn’t have a complete relapse and that I’m not in the hole right now facing assault charges for smashing out those four yahoos (see Glossary of Prison Terms). Chapter 7 goes on to say:


“Those who make it through these times show a courage not their own. After coming through one of these periods, we can readily agree that it is always darkest before the dawn. Once we get through a difficult time without relapsing, we are given a tool of recovery that we can use again and again.”


Isn’t that the truth!

Prison life (and life in general) is so redundant, that I’m sure I’ll have to rely on my strength and intelligence, gained by past experiences, to help me successfully navigate through hard times in the future.

The next day I sat back and watched all four of those guys in the chowhall. They all didn’t sit together, but the two main guys did.

I followed them out onto the breezeway. I walked up along side of them. I said, “I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I was outta line for the way I acted. I assure you, it won’t happen again.”

To my surprise, the “jaw breaking” guy apologized for the way he handled it.

WTF! Whats going on here?

Anyway, we accepted eachothers apology and shook hands.

I’ll probably never sit with any of those guys again. But I will try my best to forgive and not hold a grudge. I will continue to live in love as I look for opportunities to display acts of kindness towards all people. Even the guys who judge me for being kind to the weirdos.

I am thankful for NA and all the added perspective it’s brought to my life.

And I am thankful for my sweet wife. Her delicate and supportive love surrounds me. I tell her about my situations in here, and her words of encouragement and comfort add to my strength.



Steven Jennings


Author: Steven & Suzie Jennings

She was raised as a Mormon, and he is a convict serving 43 years in prison. This blog offers a glimpse into two vastly different worlds that somehow came crashing together. Join them on their journey through prison life & married life.

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