Only Human-A Journey From Convict to Mentor
by Alton Lane with Meghan Vigeant
Alton Lane met Peggy Smith when he was an inmate at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center (MCRRC) in Belfast. He became so engrossed in the study and practice of Courageous Communication that he transformed his life, and is now her assistant teacher at the Reentry Center. This book tells his story.
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“I was a criminal for a long time, and it just doesn’t suit me anymore. I spun in and out of jail and prison since the age of 12. I was angry with the world, with the man who abused me as a child, with myself. I was violent. I had drug and alcohol problems. I rejected my two kids and thought, ‘good riddance.’ I just didn’t care about others. I welcomed the idea of overdosing; it seemed like a good way to end it all.
“I am so different now. I almost want to change my name. Today I identify myself as a loving person. I have joy and happiness with myself. I’m proud of myself for succeeding. I have hopes that others succeed. I mean, I’m still Alton. I still have the capacity to go the other way, but my hope is that I don’t. Today I would call myself a compassionate loving person, kind of a wimpy human being, like a sissified tweety bird. Okay, I don’t really mean that. The work I’ve done, opening up my wounds, learning to communicate in a healthy positive way, reconnecting with my family, finding forgiveness – all this took courage. So, I guess I’m a courageous tweety bird now.” – Alton Lane