But for the Grace of God

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This quote was originally attributed to a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford”, in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution. I’ve never been led to execution, but I have lived in an earthly purgatory that was in my veins and between my ears. Doctors have now concluded that addiction is not a behavioral problem, but a mental illness. I could have saved them the money on that research long ago. Now that it’s reaching epidemic proportions, everyone thinks they have an answer; “just don’t start”, “find something positive to occupy your time”, or ” you have to just say no.” Those address the behavior, and not the cause. I used because I couldn’t stop. I never started out thinking that one day I couldn’t quit. I’ve watched a similar pattern develop lately with some friends I know well. They get an an injury, the doctor gives them pain pills, they take them, and it sets off cravings beyond the mental aspect to control. It’s happened to me. I flipped over some bike handles on a mountain several years back and relapsed trying to kill the pain. Thankfully, I sought treatment, worked the steps, and somewhere along the journey I found a spiritual solution with God’s help. Today, I’m a free man, and I go about anywhere provided I work with others, work the steps, pray, and stick close to those in recovery. The story can end well if I put the time and energy into my recovery, but let me get an ache or pain, and it’s the first place my mind goes to this day. It’s a trap game, and I can’t play games with a fatal and progressive mental illness that has no known cure but complete abstinence. It’s tough burying my friends. What’s tougher is watching it unfold before my own two eyes, powerless to do anything but watch. So I tell myself, ” but for the grace of God, there I go”…good day!…b

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