Pathways to Peace is an open Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group that meets at 8:00 a.m. on Mondays, 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Constance Abbey.

Stories of recovery:

An Interview with John Barber at Salvation Army
by Adam Krosnick, Constance Abbey
January 8, 2018

AK: I know you’ve been a career chef what is your favorite thing about cooking?

JB: You just stay busy; I like seeing a finished product and it’s just what I’ve done. I’d rather make money in the air conditioner cooking.

AK: Think back when you first came to that AA meeting, Pathways to Peace, at Constance Abbey. What was life like at that time?

JB: I was down at rock bottom. I’m from Alabama. I have nobody down here and you know I opened my heart to everybody and life was bad. In that little circle I sort of felt the love and I got emotional and that was one of the first true AA meetings I’ve been to. I’ve been to some before, but I was there because I had to be there.

AK: What Role did Constance Abbey play in your treatment?

JB: When I came to Constance Abbey and asked for help Roger probably saved my life, because I was sleeping in an abandoned house. I had just got paid and my check was short $133 and I just went out and messed up the rest of it and in my mind it gave me an excuse to go out and blow it. But I still remember Roger’s words. I was sleeping in an abandoned house and I knew if I go back to that abandoned house somebody is gonna come by and I’m gonna be high. Well Salvation Army told me I would have to be clean to come in there, and it would take me five days to be clean. And Roger said, “well I guess you can sleep on our front porch for five days and we can keep you alive to get you into Salvation Army” and I ended up sleeping on church pews inside his house and he fed me… I mowed the yards just to show my gratitude.

AK: How has this three-month process of recovery affected you?

JB: I’m fifty-two years old; I don’t have a pot to piss in. Going through these steps; they make you think. And you know I’ve done some bad things. Accept the things you cannot change. I can’t change the past so I’m just looking every day forward one day at a time and it feels good being sober.

AK: Where do you see your life going from here?

JB: Man, God has something big for me, I already know, he hasn’t showed me yet but I came from New Orleans to Memphis Tennessee. I’m asking God why Memphis, so there’s something down here for me something big, so I’m just going to keep looking to God and he’s going to open the door.