When I quit drinking a few years ago, someone asked me to do a daily gratitude text exchange with her, naming three things I’m grateful for every day. As you’d probably imagine, as you come to the decision to stop drinking, once and for all, you’re not at your best place in life and gratitude is not high on the list. My life was pretty much crap and I was wallowing in self pity. Why me? How come I couldn’t be normal? Was I about to lose everything?
As humans, we are a resilient species and so I pulled myself together (somewhat) and started texting my three daily gratitudes. Clean socks. Books (even if I didn’t have the focus to be able to read them). My toothbrush. And as time went on, the list grew and settled on more heartfelt ideas. Second chances. A hug. Hope. I’d like to say it became an ingrained habit after several days of this but I wasn’t a natural at turning to gratitude and the lady I was texting stopped showing up and so the habit died.
But as I became more sober, working a program of recovery, the idea of gratitude began to blossom into life. I was grateful. There were a million things to be grateful for and the key to gratitude is when you are about to wallow in self pity, or be down about something, you can always turn to it to lift you up. Okay, it’s been a crap day but let me find at least one thing that makes me happy, there’s got to be at least one thing.
Today I am grateful for sobriety for many, many reasons. There is so much to be said about living life in all it’s pain and glory. Where life was a roller coaster before, where I felt every plunge and lurching turn, I now have a softer ride and I call my list of gratitudes my shock absorbers. I couldn’t imagine how I would handle this period of anxiety if it wasn’t for the people in my life to get me where I am today. The journey is manageable and even great if I take it one day at a time.