Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published October 2019.

God’s in the Cooler

After a deadly accident, he finds God in an unlikely place

I was physically, mentally, and spiritually bankrupt when I walked through the doors of AA the first time. I didn’t think I was God, but for a long time I thought that I was a god. It was a little over two months since I had been the driver in a one-car accident that took the life of one of my best friends. I was finally at rock bottom. I couldn’t dig the hole I was living in any deeper. I had five broken vertebrates in my neck and I looked and felt like Frankenstein. I was spitting on my mirror daily because I hated the man I had become. I would stare at my cell phone and wonder why no one would call me. I wouldn’t answer it when it did ring and wondered why they would want to call me. I cried constantly and asked: “Why me?” all of the time. Everyone I knew drove drunk. I couldn’t figure out why a good person like me had to be the one to get into a fatal accident. I knew that I really needed help and God led me to AA. 

On a bitter cold December night, a man named Jeff took me to my first meeting. The advice that he gave me on the way there helped to change my life. He told me to keep an open mind. He said not to compare myself with the differences in people’s stories. I was encouraged to listen for the similarities. I was told that there were things that I had to do in order to stay sober. I needed to be honest. I had to admit that I had a problem with alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I actually owned up to how much I drank for the first time in my life. I looked back on how I had been living and I realized that I was out of control. I had to ask myself some questions. Do normal people wait until their TV goes to fuzz before they pay their cable bill? Who waits for a disconnection notice before they pay the electric or gas bill? How many people have four-foot stacks of unopened mail? I worked two jobs. I made good money, but my whole life revolved around drinking.

-- Troy F.

Newton, Iowa

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