Garry, Part 2: Alcoholics who still suffer

I just finished writing about Garry and I mentioned in there about how sobriety and serenity seemed elusive for him.

This does not make him any less valuable of an individual than any other. Yes, he was arrested for DWI, one of the most irresponsible of all crimes. It does not have to happen. You could stay home and safely get trashed if that is as far as you want to go with your drinking. “Lose” your car keys. To drink too much and them get behind the wheel of what essentially becomes a weapon is grossly disgusting and DWI penalties should be severe.

However, people are not disposable things to be tossed aside or thrown out if shown to be apparently useless. Alcoholics, especially those who never quite seem to “get” sobriety should be removed from harming others. Current state laws regarding repeat offenders do not yet address this quickly enough.

I write this just in case anyone who read my post on Garry felt that I was too compassionate with him, given that he was arrested for DWI and could have injured or killed an innocent person.

I am aware that could have happened. And in other times and places and with other people it has.

But, I am writing on my friend Garry, and the reactions I gleaned from the commenters in the online versions of the various news reports I found make me question people’s humanity.

Quite a few people were vicious in their attacks. None of these mentioned the possibility of the death of an innocent bystander as the basis of their acrimony. Just that Garry is a dumb drunk, a redneck wannabe and therefore is a piece of human refuse.

Bear in mind that Jesus Christ ate and preferred the company of sinners. From hookers and tax collectors to associating with lepers and who knows what other types of human “garbage,” He loved them all. He even had nice things to say about Roman soldiers.

He knew that these were people made in God’s image and likeness, and despite the low regard and station of their lives, deserved a basic respect and dignity. He came to heal them, not the righteous.

What can be done about them? Minister to them, heal them. Go out into the wilderness of the streets and alleys where they live and work and try to reach them and heal them. Show them a better way.

For chronic DWI offenders like Garry, perhaps take away their driver’s licenses much sooner and increase the penalties for driving without one. As well as more draconian DWI penalties if caught while driving illegally.

But to casually and maliciously just throw people away and disregard them is unChristian. I perhaps may feel somewhat different if I knew personally someone who was killed by a drunk. I would hope that I would, however, take the final words of the Lord’s Prayer seriously and forgive those who trespass us as we ask for forgiveness for ourselves. There is the occasional story you hear about how the family members of a crime victim do forgive the criminal. That takes a special strength. A strength drawn from a faith that is NOT convenient, but a real one that doesn’t change when things in life get too rough. A faith that is lived.

There are people out there who still suffer from an affliction that is seemingly incurable for them. I could be Garry, but somehow certain things just clicked and I sobered up and remained so for 9 1/2 years.

Some of us are painfully aware that we could have killed someone during our drinking days.

But for the grace of God, go I. And you.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"