Early on I heard something that has stayed with me through the years. "It is impossible for a grateful drunk to drink." I'm coming to believe that an attitude of gratitude is the absolute best defense against the first drink. Drinking is suicide for a person like me who has admitted he suffers from the disease of alcoholism. Drinking says to the universe, "I want to die." Gratitude says to the universe, "I want to live and enjoy this beautiful thing called life more fully."

My feelings of gratitude expanded through the years. Early on, like most of us, I wrote lists of the good things I had in my life. Today I feel grateful for not only the good things, but the painful things as well. I've come to believe that there are no accidents in God's world. Every experience is intended for my highest and best good. I could not grow without each and every one.

I'm grateful to be an alcoholic. There is no way I could travel from where I was 23+ years ago to where I am today without having a disease that was going to kill me unless I treated spiritually. I had to drink every drink and tell every lie to get to that jumping off point our book describes. I couldn't have done it with one less of anything. Not one less drink, not one less drug, not one less ​failed relationship, not one less financial setback. I'm grateful for them all, every one.