CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) - The eye blurring task of threading a needle offers a perfect metaphor for a unique sewing circle, quilting an idea behind the walls of the ACI.
And the contrast between their soft creation and the hard facts of their drug addictions is not lost on the women whose hands guide the needles and thread.
"Quilting," Minimum Security offender Pauline Morand says between stitches. "Is definitely therapeutic."
Morand is currently serving her sixth ‘bid' in prison after staying out of trouble for about 9 years and off drugs for about 13. During her last stint of freedom, she also survived cancer.
"When we quilt, we talk and there's a lot of unity," Morand explains, as she aims a needle at another patch.
The quilt is part of a Providence Center substance abuse treatment program at the ACI and the 60 plus patches include names of the quilters' friends and loved ones who lost their battles with addiction.
Morand stitched a patch with the message "RIP Freddy Holiday".
"He was my boyfriend who tried to help me stay clean," she explains. "And while I was here, he ended up having an overdose on drugs."
The quilt's butterfly theme is about transformation and the hands that stitch the needles and thread also hold hope to honor the people behind the patches by living clean and getting out of the lock up.
"And we sit here and talk about the things we're going to do when we leave," Morand says.
Patricia Lallier has 'left' 4 times.
"I hope this is the last time," she says after asking Morand to help her thread a needle. "I'm tired of this life and I'm old, you know? I just want peace."
She added a patch that reads, "Love all. Hurt none. Trust a few."
"I'm trying to live that way," she says with a smile.
The quilt will be formally introduced to the outside world at this year's Rally 4 Recovery . It will then travel around the state in the coming weeks, an example of how positive recovery can be while addiction is often devastating and deadly.
"You remember them and its heartbreaking to see the names of people you knew," Morand says. "Now, there gone and they're never coming back. So, we have to stay clean for them and us."