By MaryAnn Kromer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Inmates at Seneca County Jail and people in treatment at CROSSWAEH may participate in a faith-based program called "Walking the 12 Steps with Jesus."
Jeannie Weber, who does prison ministry in Tiffin, said Margie Maddox, of Bucyrus, coordinates the program at both locations. Weber said the program has been in place at CROSS
WAEH for more than two years, but it was added less than a year ago at the jail.
"It's exactly like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). The only difference is, we've added more steps. With those steps, there's a workbook, and they have homework, where AA has the meetings and sponsors," Weber said.
Like AA, participants are encouraged to accept and rely on a higher power, but sponsors are not possible for the incarcerated.
Weber said the program builds self-esteem and offers ongoing support from "Overcomers" meetings offenders may attend after release.
"It usually takes 17 weeks to go through the 12-step workbook, but at any point they can go back and re-do a step. When they get out, they discuss the 12 steps in the support group," Weber said. "It's not just for drugs and alcohol. It's for all addictions, whether they are sexual, food, shopping, wine, gambling, control, etc."
Weber said Maddox oversees the program in Sandusky, Seneca and Crawford counties. Also, Maddox corresponds with about 30 incarcerated inmates across the nation through a correspondence course. Weber said each person who completes the workbook receives a certificate and may go on to become a facilitator.
"There's a course for that," Weber said.
She added she and Maddox are the trainers for the "Walking the 12 Steps with Jesus" training course offered at Corporate Anointing Ministries in Fremont. People in training to be facilitators for "Walking the 12 Steps with Jesus" meet weekly for instruction.
Weber said she has been in prison ministry since 1996, starting in Fremont. A member of the Seneca County Jail Chaplaincy Committee, she also is active in the Sandusky/Seneca Citizen Circle, a service agency devoted to helping ex-offenders re-establish themselves as productive citizens.
Anyone interested in prison ministry and related programs may call Weber at (419) 986-5001 or (419) 333-0773.