For those of us that are blessed with recovery, gratitude becomes a daily practice. Developing an attitude of gratitude is a powerful spiritual principle that helps heal our mind, body and soul.
I believe that substance use disorder (addiction) is, among other things, a soul sickness. The remedy for soul sickness is a spiritual awakening. Spiritual connection, regardless of how you achieve it or what you call it is an important part of the healing process. I respect all forms of spiritual practice because what might work for one person, might not work for another. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Gratitude and the act of giving thanks is a universal spiritual practice because it works for almost everyone. I believe Gratitude is the simplest and most sincere form of prayer.
In early recovery, gratitude was a foreign concept to me. Giving thanks was an occasional reflex from my upbringing, but most of the time I was either stewing in my “victim story” or simmering in self-pity and self-loathing. I had become a “taker”.
When I was very newly sober the holidays were upon us and I was super broke. Showing up sober was sure to be an improvement but I was really unconformable. A wise woman suggested to me that I offer to bring something, that that would make me feel better. I told her I barely had enough money for gas to get me there. She suggested that I find something free that had value that I could bring.
I was living in Northern California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains at that time so I went out and found some really beautiful pine cones, I put them in a basket that I had and that was the gift I brought to the dinner. The pine cones were appreciated and placed in the center of the table as a part of the center piece. That was my first sober Thanks Giving and that was thirty-four years ago.
Something really important happened for me that day, that simple act of giving flipped the switch from being a taker to a giver. I had acted my way into right thinking.
We all have something to give and when we start living from a place of abundance and gratitude we start to create our amazing, abundant recovered lives.
I am a blessed person and I am so grateful for all my blessings big and small. This year has been a challenge for many, including myself. I am especially grateful for all the hard lessons that I hated at the time but they gave me the learnings that I didn’t even know I needed. Now I do.
That’s right, I’m grateful for the hard stuff as well as the fun stuff. My difficulties have and continue to make me a better version of myself. It was my difficulties in life that taught me compassion, resilience and resourcefulness. So when I say that gratitude becomes a way of life in recovery, this is what I am talking about.
And just in case I haven’t said so, I am grateful for you!