I have been reluctant to write. For months, I’ve felt I have little left to be said. I’ve struggled to post a single thought in a month. The truth is that the Promises have come true in my life — not always in the way I might have expected them to, or even hoped they would, but they have come true. I wear life like a loose garment most of the time today.
I rarely struggle with the words I hear at meetings these days. Yes, there are things that get said that I find absolutely ridiculous, but I am able to let them roll off me with little concern these days. I know what my understanding of a Higher Power is, and while I choose not to name it, I respect others who choose to do so, and even understand that some will choose to tell us that they choose to call their Higher Power by a name that used to rankle my soul and I can be at peace with that. I can be secure in the knowledge that regardless of how we talk about it we are all talking about the same thing.
I’ve tried to tell myself that perhaps it’s time to close up shop here. That maybe my work is done. I’ve also tried to convince myself that I should write about all the gifts of my sobriety. Not sure that either is the right path. What I do know is that I have to carry the message. I have to show others that there is a way out. I have to deal in hope.
Not long ago, I couldn’t imagine that I would live past the age of 50. I truly believed that my death was coming soon due to my drinking. And it was this certainty that formed the basis of my emotional bottom. I was not (am not) ready to die. I turned 46 this month and I don’t expect that I’ll die before 50 today.
I was reminded this week that life is short. I was reminded that this disease steals lives from not only its victims but also from those who love them.
When I first got to the rooms, I was frequently annoyed when the topic of gratitude came up. I didn’t feel that I had much to be grateful for. In fact, I felt that others owed me a debt of gratitude — that I was making a sacrifice by getting sober and that others owed me for that. As I’ve spent more time actually working with the concept of gratitude by writing gratitude lists, listening to others, and practicing meditation, I’ve come to love gratitude. Gratitude now fills me up and makes me whole when I am in a bad way. I have learned that I can be grateful for anything, large or small, and that by bringing this to mind I can change the course of my day.
I try to write in my journal every day and to close with three different things I’m grateful for each day. I focus on why I’m grateful for something and not just naming the thing. This makes a huge difference in how I respond to the practice of writing a gratitude list. It’s not enough to say I’m grateful for something — that doesn’t help me to be more grateful and live better — I have to express why something makes me grateful. That’s where the juice is.
My gratitude list is long on this Thanksgiving Day, but tonight I’m most grateful for the fact that I am alive — that I made it out of the woods and by continuing to do the right things have a good chance of staying in the sun. I’m grateful for this because I was not and am not ready to die. I have a life to live and message to carry.
I’m not a praying man, but I will send out a metta practice tonight for those still sick and suffering, in and out of the rooms.
3 responses to “Gratitude on Thanksgiving”
Perfect. In its imperfection. I love it when a program comes together. It looks a lot like this.
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Thanks for writing and sharing on gratitude. Glad your “shop” is still open and that you’re carrying a message. My gratitude: recovery and the steps has been the change that gave me the life I’ve always wanted: one of happiness, joy, freedom, and love. Before recovery there may have been one or two of these experiences with long painful empty stretches between each one, but today they fill my days and I get to live, breathe, and stroll among all of them.
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