Way back when I was in college (35 years ago), I read a news article about a young man who was being sentenced to 25 years to life for killing his sister in a boating accident. The details faded over the years to where I only really remember the sentence, that it was off the coast of Long Island and that his father was rich. I didn’t know this guy. I don’t remember his name. He simply became one of the stories we writers collect for future examination.
At around the same time, a friend who was a Vietnam vet told me his story about PTSD … seeing stuff that isn’t there, but was once part of his daily existence, feeling blood on his hands … being caught on a horror that is long past, but just will not let you go.
Come forward 15 years and a friend of ours killed someone in a drunk driving accident and went to jail for four years. Brad and I became involved in prison ministry because of that and we helped our friend and several others reenter society after their incarceration. We walked these folks through their reentry.
My husband is a recovering alcoholic, so 12-Step is a part of our lives.
These are just building blocks to a story that finally coalesced about 15 years ago into a story about a Long Island trust-fund kid who went to prison for killing his sister in a drunken boating accident and is now being released after five years to find his way in the world carrying that horrible baggage with him.