Recently, I wanted to take my gratitude process a bit further. Knowing the wonderful, creative force gratitude is in my life, I decided that I wanted to be grateful for everything – not just the “good” stuff. I wanted to include things that fall into the “challenge” category – a work situation gone sour, a financial struggle, a broken heart. Honestly, it has not been easy to summon up gratitude for these types of things. I do, however, have two tools that I have found helpful…
By now, I’ve gotten much better at remembering that I am not running the show. But along with not running the show, I must also remember not to let the show run me. I can control the energy with which I approach and relate to the holidays. I can set boundaries and act upon my highest intentions for the outcome I wish to create. And then not be attached to that outcome, and simply show up in my best and highest and most present self.
It has been said, you can’t be envious when you are grateful. Anger has no foothold when you approach life with a heart of thanksgiving. You tend to be happier. It has even been said that gratitude is the antidote to fear. When you have gratitude in your life, you have a good foothold on what is important. It shouldn’t surprise us then to find that a spirit of thanksgiving in our outlook, life, and overall attitude is essential in addiction recovery.
Today I introduce Think Right Into Limitless Sobriety Volume IV of my Kindle book series. This one completes the set with a look at the Universal principles embedded into Steps 10, 11, and 12 – sometimes called the “maintenance steps,” the growing ones… Thanks to all of you for helping each previous volume of Think Right Into Limitless Sobriety become #1 bestsellers on Amazon. We could not have done it without you!
I’m not going to try and wrap this up in a pretty bow. When the initial high of sobriety fades, life is still life. Sometimes, that life is amazing and shiny and wonderful. Sometimes, it’s dark and lonely and scary. Other times, most times for me, it’s a mix of the two. And that’s ok, for today. Hopefully it can be enough for you, too.
Popular wisdom suggests that you can create gratitude out of thin air. That the only thing that you need to be grateful right now is the decision to change how you are looking at things. To some extent I can believe this. For example, you can essentially force your brain to shift into gratitude by sitting down and writing out a list. Make a gratitude list. Nearly every sponsor in AA and NA has instructed their sponsee to do this at some point. Sit down and write out every single thing that you are grateful for. Oh and just to be sure that you are actively seeking for things that you are grateful for, make the list 50 items long.
I live in thankfulness every day. I set a special intention this precious month when we set aside time to gather with friends and family members -some we easily adore, others who challenge us to practice the principles – and know we are willing and able to be thankful for each and all. I am grateful for the perspective I have gained in my recovery. I am grateful to be sober today and grateful for the tools to stay that way through all of the gatherings, and each of the emotions the holiday season brings.
I tried living my life and working my recovery with a spotlight on my flaws and my assets. It was tough. I felt lousy when I didn’t live up to an asset, and very guilty when I acted out on my defects. This thing called a “conscience” came alive. Day after day I became more uncomfortable in my life until I had to surrender once again. The words “all” and “entirely” provide a strong message to me. I couldn’t trim weeds from one area of the garden and expect weeds in other areas not to flourish.