Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Griego: Leaving rehab is just the beginning - The Denver Post

Griego: Leaving rehab is just the beginning - The Denver Post

In the seventh month following his graduation from rehab, Roman Brohl began arranging the details of his relapse. He does not refer to it directly as a relapse, with its suggestion of helpless compulsion or momentary weakness. He uses the word "episode."

"It was completely premeditated," he says.

The distinction lies in control — or, rather, in the illusion of control. Roman understood the difference enough to be scared by what he was doing. Nevertheless, he re-created the circumstances under which he used to get drunk. He bought his gin. He shut himself in his apartment. He turned off the phone. He fired up his laptop and wrote as he drank to drunkenness.

"I don't why I did it," he says. "I don't know what I wanted to know. It was curiosity more than anything else."

He hasn't had a drink since and hasn't wanted one. "It was miserable," he says.

Roman debated whether to tell me and, by extension, the readers who followed his story, read his blog and sought help. But he and honesty have a deal. Lie to others and before you know it, you're lying to yourself and then you're barreling down the road of guilt to nowhere good.

Roman drank for 10 years. He spent 13 months getting himself well at the Denver Rescue Mission's Harvest Farm. I went to his graduation in June 2010 and hadn't seen him since. His blog, Snapshots from Rehab Ranch, can be found still on the Internet. He hasn't added an entry since graduation, but Snapshots remains worth reading.

He keeps a copy of the blog in his car and reads the entries to remind himself. "When life looks smooth, you kind of forget the struggle, and I think if I become complacent, I'll be, 'Oh, I can have a drink with friends,' " he says. "This is one issue in my life where I need to keep the thorns around."

I'm not surprised by Roman's relapse. Relapse is common, sure, but the whole time Roman was in rehab, he agonized over why he became an alcoholic. What's inside me, he'd ask himself. From there, it's only a short distance to: Is it still there?

He says he was ill-prepared for the reality of sobriety. It was not at all like the bright and shiny thing he expected. Instead, it was like falling into a void, a drab place where time sat back on its heels and refused to budge. "You come out and you feel so good and so accomplished and you get so many pats on the back, and then you enter the reality of day-to-day life and the fact is things don't always work and life doesn't always play out that way. You go to work. You go home. You watch TV until you fall asleep on the couch.

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