DEAR ABBY: I am 42 years old and a divorced father of two. Earlier this year, I caused a fatal drunk driving accident. Once I came to and realized what I had done, I accepted responsibility and pled guilty to my crime. I have never before been in trouble with the authorities.
I believe God has forgiven me. I know my extremely supportive family and friends have also forgiven me. But how do I forgive myself? I think about it and cry daily for my victim and that family. I pray they will find some comfort that I am behind bars.
I plan to volunteer and use my time to help others as I have done in the past, once I am free. I also plan to tell my story to as many people as will listen to help stop the senseless act of driving under the influence.
I can never, and will never, forget what I have done. But I know I must forgive myself in order to move forward and start helping others. Any advice or suggestions you can give to help me work on forgiveness while I am in here would be greatly appreciated. -- UNFORGIVEN INMATE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNFORGIVEN: Something you can do while you are incarcerated would be to start a dialogue with the clergyperson of your faith who ministers to the prison population. Because re-entry into the larger community can be stressful, if substance abuse counseling is available, join a group. It might help you avoid falling back into old habits upon your release.