White Collar Support Group 300th Meeting Reflection – Mike Neubig, Ohio
Mike Neubig is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday evenings. We will celebrate our 300th meeting on March 14, 2022, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT.
300. For the over 425 men and women who have attended any of the White Collar Support Group’s 300 meetings hosted by Jeff Grant, this is a meaningful number. For those who have been indicted, convicted and /or served some sort of sentence for a white collar crime, every waking minute of every day is filled with worry and suffering.
The worry centers around: how will I pay for a criminal defense lawyer? Will I be able to survive incarceration mentally and physically? How many years will I be away? How will I support my family financially? What will happen to my spouse and family relationships while I’m away? How will I rebuild my professional life after my release? What is wrong with me that I was able to commit a crime? Would it be easier to take my life?
As brutal as these questions seem, every one of them and more fills the obsessive mind of convicted white collar justice impacted individuals, and their families. In an instant, the problems of yesterday that seemed so significant, turn into ones of basic human survival and what seems like life and death at every turn.
The negative effect on one’s psyche is immeasurable. Often times, hopelessness and depression set in, daily tasks become difficult, and it is near impossible to imagine a future with anything but the present pain. Life seems like it’s over and that you are alone as no one has experienced exactly what you have.
Fortunately, for the over 425 attendees of the group, there is hope. Every Monday night, a we gather on Zoom. We in attendance range from those with recent arrests and indictments, to those who have been out of prison for more than twenty years. We have our routine of the serenity prayer, the introduction of new members, resource sharing, then a new topic relative to the challenges with which we all struggle. Often, much of the session is dedicated to supporting those who have an upcoming sentencing hearing or are soon to report to prison.
Those who have attended one of Jeff’s meetings can tell you that the impact on their lives is immediate. Attendees get questions answered, receive encouragement that they will make it through this difficult time, receive advice on how to handle their stage of the process, and realize that they are not alone in their crime, nor the collateral damage associated with it. One after another, attendees state that they are ecstatic to have found this resource and express gratitude for the care and concern of everyone. And the wish that we had all found this group earlier in our journeys.
Although much of what the group members are experiencing are a few years past for me, I can say that the meetings remain the safest, least judgmental and most accepting space I have available. There is something about commonality, shared experience and true acceptance that brightens the human spirit and allows me to move forward knowing I am not alone, there have been many before me and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As the group moves toward its 300th meeting, the days of suffering will surely continue to pile up. But thanks to Jeff’s selfless dedication and the caring hearts of the group’s members, those days will be more manageable. We have a resource and friends to reach out to and in the end, all will find a renewed life of hope and acceptance.