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Drinking Driving – Been There

Drunk driving has been the main subject of talk on the public airwaves following the recent tragic deaths of three children and their grandfather. The motorist who caused the accident was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident. Whenever a story like this comes up in the news I say a little prayer and mutter the words, “but for the grace of God go I.”

I am a person of long-term recovery not having taken a drink or mind-altering substance since January 7, 2005. However, prior to that date I was an active alcoholic/addict and driving under the influence was a regular occurrence. For that I am deeply ashamed. I put the lives of those I drove with and those on the road at risk. Part of recovery is taking responsibility not only for your disease but for the actions carried out while active in that disease. As part of 12 Step Recovery I take responsibility for my actions by making amends. When it comes to drinking and driving the only amends I can make is what’s called a living amends – not drinking and driving (not drinking or drugging at all for that matter) and trying my best to help those suffering from the disease of addiction to stop so that they do not drink and drive. During the time I drank and drove I never injured myself or anyone else and as a result did not have to make any direct amends. Saying this I could have easily had an accident and injured or even killed someone. It was only by divine intervention that this never occurred.

Rationalization is a mainstay for the active alcoholic/addict. We rationalize the reasons we use and we rationalize the behaviours that come as a result of that using. I was a king at rationalizing my alcohol/drug use. When I drank and drove I rationalized to myself the many reasons it was okay. Insanity is part of the disease of addiction and the type of thinking I was using to rationalize my drinking and driving was clearly insane.

I remember early into my recovery I was hanging out with some friends at a type of reunion. Although I was not drinking some of the attendees were. I noticed that one of my friends was drinking a lot and made a comment that he should slow down as he was driving. Upon hearing this, another friend turned to me and said, “you’re one to talk”. At the time I had no response and shut-up. I talked to my sponsor a few days later and related this story. He told me that I should have said, yes I drank and drove and I was an asshole for doing so but that doesn’t mean others should. Thankfully I haven’t had to caution anyone else about drinking driving since then but I am prepared if the situation ever arises.

When hearing about people drinking and driving I have some sympathy for them as I’m pretty sure they are suffering from alcoholism. My grand-sponsor once said, “if someone drinks and drives they are clearly alcoholic for that is insane.” While saying this I don’t condone the behaviour but I do pray that the person gets the help they need and for the families they have injure