Niagara Gazette

December 27, 2013

HAMILTON: A cup of non-alcoholic kindness

By Ken Hamilton
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — “Should auld acquaintance be forgotten and never brought to mind,” — so goes the 326-year old Scottish New Year song. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all do such; that is, to forget the bygone times of aught and sorrow, and live for a better future? 

But, overwhelmingly, we cannot do so, and by the time that the hangover from ringing in the New Year leaves and is replaced by the morning alarm clock rings in your ear the joy of the first workday of the year, nothing much of the past have been forgotten, nor has most of the evening’s promises been remembered. Too many of us simply spend another year living every year before this new year pretty much the same as we lived the bygone ones.

It takes more than a song and a day to remove ourselves from the darkest parts of our pasts; and for a lot of us, it is a day by day adventure towards the successful fulfillments of our futures. A new year will simply be the succession of 365 individual days or opportunities, of us successfully putting behind the auld lang syne, the past times, and embracing and living the promises for which we strive.

I love most of my past and I know that I would have better enjoyed the opportunities that the world had offered me, had I seen, heard, touched, tasted or felt it with the sobriety with which I do those things today. 

For me, 2014 marks 35 years of abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs. Too many of my friends, with whom I had enjoyed and endured five-twelfths of my life while doing those things are now long gone. 

But I have not forgotten them, nor the auld lang syne; and I shudder to think where I might have been had I continued with them the life that they no longer have.

And so, I encourage those who are in some group or individual recovery, from whatever life altering addictions or habits that they may have once had, to continue moving toward that ever-increasingly better tomorrow — day by day. And while many of you may look up to me for 35 such years, I want you to understand that I have done so by nothing more than the grace of God — even when I was with you. 

And also know, even though when I see you successfully maintaining in your daily struggle, that each of you are more of a hero to me than ever I could be to you; regardless of how long or how short the walk that you take that leads you walk towards your continuous success.

Take this cup of kindness, these words, of non-alcoholic beverage, of soda pop, or my favorite, milk, and let us toast together each other’s day-by-day successes, for auld lang syne, my friend, for auld lang syne.

Contact Ken Hamilton at

Contact Ken Hamilton at