“There are people in jail who have done less than I.”
I remember being in a meeting when the speaker shared that prisons are mostly filled with unrecovered alcoholics. These alcoholics, he said, were the same as you and me – only they either got caught or their alcoholism had driven them a little further than ours had. Also, he said that if we found ourselves saying “I have never done the things some of them have,” we should always add a “yet” to it. He ended by saying that prisons are just one of the places alcoholics who don’t get sober wind up.
As I thought more about this, I wrote an inventory of all the close calls I had. I remember when I was seventeen , I had been drinking and driving after work and just missed hitting a woman pushing a baby in a stroller on a crosswalk. I hadn’t noticed that others had stopped in the lane next to me, and I barely missed her as I sped through. Over the next 20 years of my drinking, there were multiple times when my disease could easily have landed me in jail – or worse.
When I think how fortunate I am to have escaped the desperate consequences of my alcoholism, I am indeed filled with a deep sense of gratitude. As I sit in meetings, I know we have all survived a similar, darker fate, and the idea of sharing the bond of shipwreck survivors that I read in the Big Book resonates with me. Whenever I find myself on my pity pot for not yet getting the things I think I deserve, I remember the things I didn’t get that I actually did deserve. It makes me think of another saying “There but for the grace of God, go I."