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LUCK is a word that we often use in the Fellowship. Usually, it refers to our past drunken lives and how we escaped this or that. It seems to be an alternative, or more acceptable word that avoids the thought that our Higher Power had something to do with what happened.

I remember sharing that it was lucky that I’d never been caught drink-driving despite being stopped by the police on several occasions. After I was in recovery for a while, my thoughts changed a little. Then I said it was lucky that I didn’t kill someone or cause mayhem when I was drunk driving. All the while, my reality is that God protected me and those around me from my stupidity. Why I was never charged with drunk driving, I’ll never know. I can add that to the many things I’ll never know. But these things happened for a purpose, God’s purpose.

These thoughts were prompted when I wrote in my daily journal. Most days I view a website for wider gratitude inspiration. This is an excerpt from my diary: ‘Today’s gratitude prompt is “What is something in my life that I feel “lucky” to have?” Thanks to my writing and therefore the reflection that this enables, the thing I’m “lucky” to have is my life. Not just the quality of life that I’m blessed with, but LIFE itself”.’ This, in turn, took my mind to the incidents when God has protected me.

In my twenties I used to go motoring holidays in France and Spain. The drive to Dover was the boring bit so I used to get seriously drunk the night before, waken up early still drunk, and drive south. It was about Birmingham before I ‘came to’. The first part of the drive was in a blackout. Nothing ever happened. Was I lucky or was God keeping everyone safe?

In my early forties I decided to drive up to Skye to sort out a business problem. I wanted to catch the early morning ferry so I could come back the same day. So, I got drunk in Glasgow and left about eleven at night. Driving along beside Loch Lomond, I experienced my first passing out at the wheel. I crashed the car into one of the new roundabouts. I was pulled out the passenger side as I was becoming conscious, by two local workers. They drove me to a hotel and called the police to report the accident. I wasn’t breathalysed when the police arrived because I had started drinking – to calm my nerves. Was I lucky to be rescued by these passing motorists, or was God guiding all our actions?

When my wife finally left me, I hit the booze harder than ever. I decided to drink myself to death because I was so unhappy, life meant nothing to me. Initially, all that happened was my tolerance for alcohol increased. It took more and more to get me drunk. Then I woke up one night coughing with sickness in my throat. I jumped out of bed and was sick in the toilet. Was I just lucky not to be in a deep sleep or was God pulling me out of my alcoholic stupor so I wouldn’t choke on my vomit?

In my early fifties, I had what was one of my most dangerous ‘good ideas’. I bought a pub. By this time, my life was a complete mess. I was in a new relationship with a heavy drinker. Most of my old friends had gone. I bought a run-down pub in one of the notorious areas of Glasgow and with the help of some business associates, spent some money renovating the place before we reopened. I was never a tough guy and had few contacts in this area. However, despite facing threats and avoiding confrontation, I eventually sold the pub and made a good profit. Was I lucky to get out in one piece, or was God with me to keep me safe?

I ended up living alone and attempting suicide. I swallowed a huge number of tablets whilst drunk. I can’t really remember but I must have been sick during the night. A few days later I was admitted as an emergency patient and almost died. Was I lucky to survive, or was God keeping me safe for a purpose?

These are just a few incidents in my drunken life where some may say I was lucky. Others may disagree. I’m in the camp that disagrees. I’m not a lucky person. God is with me as he is with all of us. Only my drunken stupidity stopped me seeing this before awakening in AA.

COLIN I, Troon Sunday Night