I’m a recovering alcoholic. My wife and kids had always tried to get me to stop drinking, but it was God who did. A defining moment in my life was when I went to a retreat and I heard this quote which struck a chord deep within me, “I thank God for what He has given me, for what He has taken away from me and for what He has left me.”
My sister passed away in March 2009 and I’m so thankful I was able to spend pretty much all of 2008 with her, me being sober. January 2007 is my sobriety date, and my sister and I were able to reconnect in 2008. We went to Australia together that year and it was truly amazing we had that year together because she passed away suddenly from an aneurism. I know it was God who gave me that time with my sister. She was 49 years old, and she stuck through all the rough times with me. We were extremely close and I’m so blessed to have been sober that last year with her.
Because of everything that has happened in my life I truly believe everything is meant to be. God has a plan for my life; I fully trust in Him and know He won’t put anything on my shoulders that I can’t handle. I view life in a whole different way — completely different from the way I viewed it as a teenager.
“Please, God, let me win this race.” I always believed in God, always felt His presence; yet I never called on Him unless I was in trouble. Especially when I was racing I would call on God, “Please, God, let me win this race.” But as soon as I was out of the race car, God stayed in the race car. God truly blessed me with all my IndyCar wins, especially the 500, but I never did thank Him for it. Today, I thank Him for all the wins, my parents, my kids — everything that goes on in my life.
What I also do each day is thank God for the people I haven’t met yet that He will put in my life. For example, my wife and I went out to the lake on Sunday on my boat. But my boat had overheated and we had to tie it up to the dock to let it cool down. While it was tied up a young lady was out on the lake jumping off cliffs and injured her back. The paramedics and life flight showed up and we knew that was what my wife and I were meant to do on that Sunday, not go out boating but be there to help with the young lady and talk to her and the paramedics. It was all part of God’s plan, and I keep learning that every day. We don’t worry about the small stuff anymore, we know it is all part of God’s plan.
Above all, God works every day in my life. There are challenges. But my biggest thing is to give thanks to God because it truly is all Him, and to not pick up a drink. I know if I do those two things He will continue blessing me.
— Al Unser Jr., USA race car driver