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Beyond These Bars . . .
 
      
    Prisoners write their stories of how they're using
 A Course in Miracles
    and the 12-step program of AA to discover happiness and freedom.

 


I realized that God had
forgiven me. Bradley

I’m no longer sad. Mario

God set me free. Leonard

I feel more alive than ever. Justin


I am free! Joe

I feel a oneness with God. Bill


I've grown closer to God. Bob

I am blessed to have friends like you. John

 


               A clear mountain stream
              on a hot summer day

Completing Step Five
is like
stepping into
a clear mountain stream
on a hot summer day
after a ten-mile jog uphill
 carrying the weight of all my luggage.

Then finding a Father who loves me
standing there
  willing to carry me and my load
                                                                                                            upstream
                                and cleansing, cooling, loving and holding my hand
                                                                                                          all the way.

                   But first He tells me
                   I don’t need the baggage
                   or have to go upstream
                       because I’ve arrived!

                                         Dee

How lovely is the world whose purpose is forgiveness of God’s Son!
A Course in Miracles
Step 5 is the only step which is completely dedicated to our disclosing ourselves. AA

   Parole or not, God is here. Lee  

I am walking in the light. Scott

The fear is not as difficult
as the anticipation....Freeman

 I’m 20 now and I'm saved. Michael

It's no longer about me. Johanna

The biggest hurdle has been forgiving myself. Gill

I feel happy and blessed. Mitch

 


The stories below come from the
Miracles Prisoner Ministry.


   

. . . . Oh that magic word, fear. . . . It held me in a cage . . . . Now my friend is love . . . Vernon

Not being accepted by others was always one of my worst fears. Oh that magic word, fear. It’s truly amazing how my life was under the spell of fear. It held me in a cage that would not allow me to take a single step forward. Now, through the wonder of A Course in Miracles, I am receiving what I had just about given up hope for. Now my friend is love. The ability to love others, as well as myself, and what a joyous feeling it is!

"As I set aside my grievances, I am able to look at this life in a clear and serene light. As I step forward into A Course in Miracles, I know I can only grow further from my addictions and steadily closer to Him.”  Vernon



  

. . . . I'm no longer sad.

“I want to tell you that I’m no longer sad. The Course in Miracles has totally changed my life. I wanted to die, but couldn’t even do that. I hated myself and hated everything. I only wanted to sleep. Since the Course in Miracles came into my life, I don’t fear life anymore. I don’t want to die. The Course taught me to forgive and forget. It is a blessing to know God and know that he loves me.” Mario

I do my lessons daily and do everything that is instructed in them. In whatever situation I find myself I find a way and/or place to perform the exercises. I’m going to relate to you that I am truly enjoying these lessons and that they are indeed causing an effect on me, a transformation of my mind is truly taking place, honestly. I sometimes find myself thinking as I have always done and then remind myself of these lessons and I see things from another perspective i.e. in the spiritual. I can tell you also that I receive a sense of peacefulness and serenity from these lessons.” Ernesto

  

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I realized that God had forgiven me.

“I used to have trouble forgiving myself and dwelling on the past. I then realized that God had forgiven me, and if I would not accept that and forgive myself, than I was putting my ego and beliefs ahead of God. Who am I to say I know more than God? My sins are paid for, I am forgiven – end of story. Each is a new day, past mistakes forgiven and by seeking God’s will they will not be repeated. I have only to be open to his will and grace, no effort is needed other than this.” Bradley

  

 

God is here ... keeping me safe and blessing me.

"As my review date for parole comes closer I have to keep checking and reminding myself parole or not, God is here in, with, and surrounding me. Keeping me safe and blessing me. I count, rely, and believe in God and His everlasting care for me”. Lee


“God said it,
Jesus did it,
and I believe it,
That settles it!”
Vickie

  

 

. . . . free to love and free to forgive myself . . . .

“I have no more uncertainty. I know who I am and through the now open door of my heart and mind, I am walking in the light. Through personal forgiveness of my past misdeeds, I have unshackled myself from the ball and chain of guilt that held me back. Even though I knew my Father would forgive me when I sought his forgiveness, I could not forgive myself. Once I let go of the flesh and began to live in the spirit I was able to break free through personal forgiveness. Free to love and forgive myself as my Father does, and free to love and forgive others. No longer do I have to suffer in guilt and all the trappings and limitations of it. Scott


 


"I  am blessed to have friends like you,  

to have A Course in Miracles, to have a glimpse of true peace and joy.” John



  

 

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. . . God set me free . . .
 

Not only do I see I’m free,
I accept I was always free.
  
So much of my past was spent
locked up
in a prison of my own making.
When I saw that,
 the bars
I’m behind now
lost their reality.

  
   They became a learning place where I discovered

  
God set me free.
  

All I had to do was accept it, believe it and live it as God commanded.
Just like Jesus, I’m free to choose.
  
Instead of waiting ‘til I’m desperate,
I’m constantly in touch with God.
  
   Before I write, I pray.
Before I eat,
drink, talk, walk or do anything at all,
I pray, talk and connect with the only Father I’ve ever had.
And today I know it! Live it! Claim it!

  
Leonard

  

 



I feel more alive than ever . . .
  
“I feel more awake, more alive than ever before. Now when I read the Bible (which once was a dead book for me) I find confirmation at every turn that we are all sons and daughters of God. Why didn’t I see it much sooner? I needed the Course to remove my blinders.” Justin

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It is a constant challenge . . . .
  
“For me it is been a constant challenge to turn my life and will over to the care of God that is evidenced by my lack of peace. What I mean is that it doesn’t seem to be connected to my willingness (though I know it is). I think I’m willing then something comes along that my ego hooks on and I give up my peace – which is a sure sign I am fighting the will of God. It appears that this is a process of progress as I continue to over and over again affirm my willingness to turn my will and my life over to him.” Mark

 

Thank you so much.

“Thank you so much for the new tapes. Every night before sleeping, I’m now listening to Meditative Encounter with the First 50 Lessons. My neighbor is listening to it often, too, and has acquired his own Course book. Sometimes these tapes bring me to such a tranquil state that I must go to sleep. Other times, they fill me with such joy that I feel like shouting and dancing. WOW. I am the light of the world and so are you! Thanks for helping me draw forward even when I sometimes want to let the ego pull me backward. There is nothing my holiness cannot do. And I feel that you share in my holiness, as I share in yours. Vision is God’s gift, and I want to never again reject it. George

©

 

Say the word and you'll be free . . . .


“The first thing that comes to mind is one of my favorite songs by the Beatles “Say the word and you’ll be free. Say the word and be like me.” The word the song refers to is my favorite – LOVE. God is love. And since God is omnipresent, love is everywhere. We just have to “say the word’” acknowledges His presence and we realize that we are free after all.” John

 

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I was amazed . . . .
I realized the necessity of shifting my focus from 'the other guy' . . . .


“I was amazed by the number of resentments I carry and the depth that they reach into my being. It really helps to take inventory and this time was the first time that I realized the necessity of shifting my focus from thinking it was all the other guy to seeing my part in it. I know I had read all this before in the Big Book, but it helped having the emphasis given by the Miracles Prisoner Ministry material. I also see the connection my resentments have to fear. I am certain, I have done my best fourth step ever!” Mathew

 

. . . . it's going well.

“My daily practices are going well. I have noticed the peace and balance getting in touch with the Truth has brought to me. I also find the proper thought entering my mind when I need it.” Erin

 

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“Live on, be strong, find God is my only strength. We can do nothing without Him. I get up every day and pray for God to do His Will; not by my will, I realize I can’t do anything by myself. It has to be through God. His grace is sufficient for me.” Vickie

 

Alone we only spin our wheels . . .

"Live on, be strong, find faith, and be happy. Realize also that alone we only spin our wheels. Regardless of where we are in consciousness right now, a model of wholeness, the pattern of the Christ consciousness stands ready to be manifested in our lives. It allows for the magnifying of soul activities in the earth as well as for the ultimate expression of our inner selves. Each one of us can’t help but feel an inner longing for something more… our spirituality when used properly can be as a means of awakening the awareness of the Christ consciousness which longs to be expressed.” Alan

 

God Please Give Me Spiritual Sight!

“At my brink of utter despair tonight I read The Real Alternative. '…Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point and go beyond it.'  I choose not to die! I choose to go beyond it! No More Drugs, No More Sick Relationships To Fix My Pain, No More Of What Does Not Work. No More Illusions To Deceive Myself. God Please Give Me Spiritual Sight!” Jodi

 

God is my only strength. 

“God is my only strength. We can do nothing without Him. I get up every day and pray for God to do His Will; not by my will, I realize I can’t do anything by myself. It has to be through God. His grace is sufficient for me.” Victor
 

 

If I allow my vision to go deeper . . . I glow with the beauty of each moment.

“Everyone is simply a reflection of myself, in different degrees sometimes. If I allow my vision to go deeper than this world and these bodies, I will glow with the faith and beauty of truth each moment of life. Britton

 

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God didn’t create us to suffer


God didn’t create us to suffer.
He created us
for fellowship with Him
and our brothers.
   
When I realized this,
all suffering stopped.
Now don’t get me wrong,
I have moments of discomfort.
  
Rarely do I truly suffer
anymore
and when I do,
it is truly
only
for a moment.
   
When it happens,
I remember
I wasn’t created
to suffer.
      
Larry   




I’d like to share something with you
that I’ve learned.
We can’t shut off our minds. I wish I could but I can’t. It would be great to be able to turn the old brain off with the lights at night.
Sometimes bad thoughts creep in
and we really can’t control what pops in our minds at times
and it seems like the harder I try to let go of things, the stronger they get.
That’s when I need to turn it over to God.
We torment ourselves trying to do it ourselves.
Raymond

 

 

It's a good thing I can't fail. 

“It’s a damn good thing I can’t fail, because if I could have, I would have by now! Seriously, I think I’m doing pretty well actually. I sometimes follow the instructions pretty closely and I frankly sometimes forget. But I keep remembering to renew my commitment to my workbook lessons and try again." Mark
 

 

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Peace and joy. 


“What peace and joy transcends my being as I become as one with God! I can sense His Presence! These lessons are wonderful." Doug

 



“More and more as I get into the lessons, I can see how my problems are not what’s around me but instead inside me." Sheila

  

 

In God all things are possible. 

“Strength in surrender’ calls to my mind the AA adage ‘Let go and let God.’ By giving ourselves to Him (we were already His anyway) we have His strength. ‘With God, all things are possible.’ I’m in prison, I’ve been here for nine years, and yet I feel happy and blessed.” Mitch

  
 

 

I'm 20 now and I'm saved. 

“When I got locked up I was on drugs and I did not have God in my life. I got 30 years for robbery and I really lost all faith, but I now believe that God has a plan for my life, I’m 20 now and I’m saved and I’m glad I’m in prison, cause I was a walking dead man on the street. But give all praise to God! Praise Him! Michael
 

 

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It's no longer about me
 
“Today my life is no longer about me and the way others view me. It’s becoming about trying to ease the pain and confusion within and around me naturally… not chemically… or destructively.” Johanna

 

“Now I want to not only recover from being chemically dependent, I want to recover spiritually with God first. Which will make any of my other endeavors much easier because this will give me focus and self-discipline.” Alex

 

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 I feel a oneness with God . . . . 

“The practice periods are not just making sense, they are starting to bring me a complete closer connection and feeling with God. Sometimes now I really feel a oneness with God, I know it’s gonna get better each day.” Bill

 

A song in my heart . . .  

“I wake up each morning with a song in my heart and carry it with me throughout the day. Certain colors seem to brighten me. I’m enjoying this Course in Spiritual Recovery. I wish I knew about it years ago.” Rebecca


“My daily practices are going well. I have noticed the peace and balance getting in touch with the Truth has brought to me. I also find the proper thought entering my mind when I need it.” Eric


“The smooth transition of the steps have built me up to being “entirely ready.” It’s amazing how, especially for me, (the steps have helped me) to naturally be ready for the next bite out of the apple. It’s sort of like a child; they learn to roll over, then crawl, then walk, then run.” Rick

 

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I have discovered that God loves me always . . . 

“In my addiction I became very estranged from any spirituality—no love, peace, or joy. I lived in a state of fear, guilt, and despair. In recovery I have discovered that God loves me always, and by learning to forgive and be forgiven, I am healed and whole again. I was always part of God’s love. I just couldn’t see it through my confusion. It is very joyful to be a spiritual being again.” Cynthia
 

 

The practice periods are not just making sense, they are starting to bring me a complete closer connection and feeling with God. Sometimes now I really feel a oneness with God, I know it’s gonna get better each day”. Billy
 

“I used to have trouble forgiving myself and dwelling on the past. I then realized that God had forgiven me, and if I would not accept that and forgive myself, than I was putting my ego and beliefs ahead of Gods. Who am I to say I know more than God? My sins are paid for, I am forgiven – end of story. Each is a new day, past mistakes forgiven and by seeking God’s will they will not be repeated. I have only to be open to his will and grace, no effort is needed other than this.” Bradley

 

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I am free! 

“In my ‘past’ I was unaware of the Truth. I didn’t realize that I Am Loving Spirit in a body, able to find true happiness in silence and joy by going inside to experience my Self. Now, I realize I am free! I am blessed and able to unite with God in the perspective of Love, Truth, and forgiveness. I hold my head higher each day, with the intention of humility and grace, as we are all One, blessed, and able to create Heaven on Earth.” Joe

   

     Walking through the fear is not as difficult as anticipating it . . . .

"I got a deep feeling of relief when I did the fifth step. The relief for me comes from realizing that walking through the fear is not as difficult as anticipating it. Reading the A Course in Miracles material helped a lot and I feel like you were with me when I was doing my fifth step. What I realized more than anything else is how important self-forgiveness is to this step. Self-forgiveness and other-forgiveness are simply two ways of looking at one thing - the same thing - the Holy Son of God!”
Freeman


  

. . . The biggest hurdle has been forgiving myself

“My guilt is going away but I still struggle sometimes though but that’s just the old self-condemnation looking for a place to find rest. I feel forgiven. The biggest hurdle has been forgiving myself. Most importantly, I’m forgiven by God. I’ve also accepted that some folks may never forgive me and that I may never be able to make amends to some folks. But, my heart is peaceful.” Gill

 

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          I've grown closer to God . . .
  
“Some of my resentments and fears were hard to identify because they were so much a part of my attitude and my perception of life, people and the world. For me it’s a process, not an event. It has been a great release for me to let go of the things I’ve identified with and I’ve filled the emptiness left by letting go of them with forgiveness, understanding and peace of mind, heart and spirit. I’ve grown closer to God, feel better about myself, and I feel better about other people. It is been an overall growing experience for me.” Bob
 

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Letter to a prisoner . . .
In a moment of despair . . . I was shown the way . . .

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with you the glorious news of God’s grace and love. At a moment of complete despair, I was shown the way out of the bondage of myself, into an experience of singular love of God. God’s grace has shown me what I could never have seen by myself-that all my old ideas of pain, loss and death were wrong; that with help I can change my mind about myself; that the help is right here, right now. I want to offer you the miraculous way out of bondage and death that was offered to me. I am certain that freedom of mind and heart is God’s will for us all. In His will, we are joined. We are one in eternal life. There is no loss. There is no death. Through this miraculous change of mind, we are truly free.” Peg  
    
 



 Thanks to the Miracles Prisoner Ministry for offering the Spiritual Recovery Course in the prisons, and for sharing these stories with us.

www.miraclesprisonerministry.org

 

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How lovely is the world whose purpose is forgiveness of God’s Son! How free from fear, how filled with blessing and with happiness! And what a joyous thing it is to dwell a little while in such a happy place! Nor can it be forgot, in such a world, it is a little while till timelessness comes quietly to take the place of time.
 
A Course in Miracles 29:6:6

 

    We are all learning . . .

There is nothing my holiness cannot do. George

God didn’t create us to suffer. Larry

I wake up each morning with a song in my heart. Rebecca

I have discovered that God loves me. Cynthia

Each day is a new day, past mistakes forgiven. Bradley

I am free! Joe

 

Thanks to the Miracles Prisoner Ministry for this feature.

 

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