In Celebration Of Gratitude Month
Growing up, my mother emphasized the importance of saying my “pleases” and “thank yous.” As a result, I have rarely forgotten to say “thank you” when appropriate. However, looking back on my life before getting sober, I can’t say that I always meant it. It was more of a formality, something that I had to do. Like most things in my life prior to getting sober, I was able to be physically present and to appear as though I meant what I said, but my heart was rarely in it. Over the past 21 months, being in the program has softened some of the rigidity that characterized me over the past two decades. As I have let myself be open to suggestions and the ways of others, I have learned that the way that I do things, while very efficient at times, is not the only way to do things. Understanding the concept of gratitude has been one of the many new ideas that I have learned. In treatment and through my sponsor, I was introduced to the idea of writing a “Gratitude List.” It seemed so simple to me, yet it was so difficult for me to sit down and actually write one. Like most things in this program, it was the seemingly “easy” ones that I never seemed to be able to do. Probably because they seemed too easy; what was the catch? This aversion to these simple tasks kept me away from the serenity that I feel today for a while. I don’t remember the first time that I sat down to write my own Gratitude List, but I remember the feeling. Upon completion, I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace, and for lack of a better word, gratitude. There were so many little things that I had in my life (and some very big things) that I forgot about every day. Forgetting these things is what kept me from truly enjoying the life that I had started to build for myself. Forgetting these things allowed me to continue getting angry at the driver in front of me who was driving too slowly for my liking, or getting restless when the line was too long at Starbucks. These days, I like to try to keep, in the forefront of my mind, all that I have in my life, the things that I have always had and the new things that I have been blessed with as a direct result of getting sober and trying a new way of life. I can’t say that I am grateful all day everyday, but when I take the time to remember just how lucky I am and how much I have in my life today, all my problems seem to carry much less weight.