Today marks one year and two months since I put down the drink and started to rebuild my life. Of course it wasn’t planned, but it seems fitting that today is also Thanksgiving in the US. I am grateful so much in my sobriety that it can be difficult to list them, but I’m going to give it a go anyway.

  • Being alive another day: There was a time, not long ago, when I was dying, if not physically certainly emotionally. My health was starting to decline and I truly believed that I might not live to see my 60s, a scant 17 years from now.
  • My amazing son, Mr. Grey: I am blessed to have a son who in many ways is my mirror image. He reminds me so much of myself and while there are parts of our two personalities I’d like to change, I know that there are many good qualities we both share. The other night, unprompted, he said, “I love you dad,” And that’s gold.
  • My amazing wife, Mrs. TKD: I may never know why she stuck by my side when I was in my darkest places, but I am eternally grateful to her for doing so. I suppose she still loved the man she married and knew that I wasn’t gone, just buried underneath my addiction to alcohol.
  • Wake Up East at 6:00 AM: I don’t get to this meeting much anymore, but I am indebted to this meeting and the kind people who attend it regularly. I was completely defeated and broken when I walked in the doors and they scooped me up and helped me get through the darkest days.
  • Being sober: I am truly grateful to be sober, present and clear thinking. While I still get things wrong, while I still lose my temper, while I still make very human mistakes, I am in a place where I can see my errors and course correct more often than not.
  • Warm sunshine: Is there anything better than the warm sun on our face? Our little planet spins on its axis delivering sunlight to us during the day and darkness at night. It revolves around the sun at the perfect distance where our world is not too hot, nor too cold, to sustain life. This is a miracle.
  • Cold rain: Yes, I know, rain can be a drag, but without it we couldn’t survive. Rain cleanses our worlds. Rain makes life happen. Rain provides our food. And a cold rain on a hot day, man that’s magical. Living here in Maryland, there’s nothing like a 30F temperature drop on a hot July day when a late afternoon thundershower rolls through.
  • Autumn leaves: I mean, the colors. How stunning the leaves are in the autumn. Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Gold… falling like snowflakes in the cool autumn air, glistening in the long low rays of the sun. Perfection.
  • Spring flowers: When I’ve had enough of the cold bleak and dreary days of winter, bright little flowers peak out from the earth and remind me that warm summer days are just around the corner. I especially like crocuses, which show up early and are gone quickly in the lawn.
  • Coffee: Need I say more? While I’m definitely a coffee snob, I can appreciate just about any coffee, even the freeze dried Folgers at the Wake Up Group, or the stern, burnt mahogany brew that you find at a truck stop on US322 outside of Harrisburg, PA.
  • Earning a living: I’ve been fortunate to earn a solid living doing something that I love for the past 20 years. I was most fortunate that my drinking didn’t result in consequences in my job. By some miracle, I hitched myself to the world of technology, despite having a degree in English, in 1996 and have benefitted from it ever since.
  • The ocean: I have always loved the ocean and everything about it — The rhythm of the waves — The vastness of the vistas. The sandy beaches, or rocky shores — The cliffs of the West coast, and the dunes of the East coast.
  • Music: I am grateful to the musicians who make the music that keeps me feeling young. There is nothing like a live performance to awaken the soul. We recently saw Grant-Lee Phillips at the Stolz Listening Room at the Avalon in Easton, MD, on a Sunday night. Intimate spaces are the best. I shook his hand after the show.
  • Poetry: It’s no surprise that written word is on my list. While “words are only an attempt to represent reality, they are not reality itself,” as Kevin Griffin so eloquently says in One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps, they can be grounding. I’ve dabbled in poetry from a young age. I’m starting to write poems again and I’m reading a lot of poetry as of late. Mary Oliver’s words resonate deeply with me.
  • Friends: The opposite of addiction is connection. I am fortunate to have long standing good friends who have been there for me through thick and thin. I’m also fortunate to be making new friends. I didn’t make many new friends in the last 20 years. It was a skill that I thought I’d lost. In my recovery, I’m learning that it’s not that hard.
  • Family: Family is a double edged sword. So many times family can be challenging, but as Harper Lee wrote, “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” Even though there are times when members of my family get on my nerves, they still are kin and thats a bond that’s difficult to ignore.


9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, My Gratitude List

  1. I love the gratitude list. I can so easily get caught up in what little things are bothering me at the moment (cold rain, as you forced me to appreciate). Ha ha. I know that gratitude brings more to be grateful for. Thanks for the reminder. ; )

    Liked by 1 person

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