“A lot of lost dreams, empty futures and crazy things of the past went through my mind. One night, I was struck with the memory of a line Alan Ladd used in ‘Shane,’ a movie that I’d worked on. He told a villain, ‘The trouble is, old man, you’ve lived too long.’ How that line echoed through my mind! I knew why I identified. It was MY line, the story of MY life. I’d lived too long and become a loser, dependent on booze. Well, at least I could drink myself to death. Real soon. Then everyone would be sorry for me.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, “They Stopped in Time,” Ch 3 (“Those Golden Years”), p 333.
Today, let me not ask if I have lived too long or too briefly but if I am predestined to “drink myself to death” and exit the world with everyone feeling “sorry” for me. Is this the legacy for which I have lived my entire life? If I want and expect better, and whether I am sober or drinking today, AA has given me the tools to build the legacy that will remain after I am gone. And the Program promises better than being remembered as the “poor soul” who wasted a lifetime and died an alcoholic’s death. Through AA, I can craft my legacy to be someone who rose from an alcoholic’s gutter and re-crafted himself as a person who sobered up and sought to help the person who became helpless and hopeless. But I cannot think in terms of my memory after the day I am no longer here; my memory is built 24 Hours at a time. Today, I focus on what my legacy is now. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2014