We Do Hugs Around Here… Christine McDonald

On a trip out of state a couple of months ago, I spoke to a large group of individuals exiting prison, as well as their families and supporters of faith–based recovery groups.

Photo by Kamille Sampaio on Pexels.com

Afterward, I was approached by a lovely woman. At first, she said she wanted to shake my hand. I said, “Shoot, we do hugs around here,” and I hugged her. She went on to say she had been in a recovery center/community that also had housing. They had an area for reading with a shelf of books, and my first book, Cry Purple, was one of the books on the shelves. She said she took my book to her room with every intention of reading it.

That night, her addiction called her, and the urge to use was out of control. She said she fought it for a while but finally grabbed her purse, combed her hair, and walked out of the recovery community center, but not before stepping back into her room and putting my book in her bag. She said she just stole my book. She told me she couldn’t help it and wasn’t sure what made her grab it.

She got high, ran out of money, and ended up in a house with other people getting high. She tried to settle into sleep. A day and a half passed. Then she picked up my book and read it. It took her four hours, but she read every page. She fell asleep, got up, and went back to the center with the book in hand. She said that even though she had stolen the book and gotten high, she had to return it because every female in the center/community needed to read it. So she returned to the center to return the stolen book and tell the staff that every woman needed to read it.

She was allowed back into the program, which is where she was at the time when we met. She thanked me for writing the book and said she felt like she was not alone when she read it.

It has been a couple of years since I met her at that event, but she still messages me from time to time to let me know she is still in the free world and has not returned to prison. She remains clean and tells me that I sparked hope in her to move beyond her past. She has thanked me repeatedly. She says she looks at her shame differently today and is now full of hope. The most recent message I got from her said, “I know stealing is wrong.” She said she had prostituted herself for money to get high, but had never stolen things before. She considers stealing my book the best criminal action she has ever committed in her life; she has no regrets. When she heard I would be at the event that night, she walked a number of blocks to ensure that she had a chance to meet me in person and to share with me that my journey gave her hope.

Contact Information:
Christine C. McDonald
636-487-8986
Christine.CryPurple@gmail.com

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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