Gratitude; it is the essential quality of any program of recovery. It is a trait that needs to be maintained by an alcoholic in order to remain sober and happy, no matter what. Listen, I totally get it, when I first got sober I wasn’t exactly ecstatic about the fact that I would never be able to party without the looming consequence of jails, institutions, and death. Total buzz kill, I know. Almost no one likes to admit that they are alcoholic and cannot just have one drink or go out partying for one night without ruining their entire life and the life of those around them.
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Once you understand that we react differently than the average person when indulging in alcohol, it’s as simple as being allergic to peanuts. The only difference being that we MUST have the thing that kills us, where people who suffer from a peanut allergy know better than to go near peanuts. At first, I hated this fact, I wanted nothing more than to try and find every excuse I could to keep experimenting with this phenomenon of craving, hoping that one day I would find the perfect combination that would allow me to be able to use, while maintaining a regular life.
But that day never came, the combination never showed itself to me, and I had to admit complete defeat. At first, this was a heavy blow, but after a while, and after working a program and getting involved in a 12 step fellowship, I began to realize how grateful I was to be given this way of life.
We, as alcoholics, have the choice to live a different lifestyle than the moderate and heavy drinkers, once we choose to stay abstinent of course. We don’t ever have to wake up in the morning and wonder where our car is or feel embarrassed about that person we woke up next to. Alcoholics have the opportunity to grow as human beings and constantly work on themselves.
Through working the 12-step program of the fellowship of our choosing, we get to clear our side of the street from all of the harm we have caused in our past. We get to identify and recognize our destructive habitual behaviors, and then replace them with productive and positive attributes that allow us to be constructive members of society.
Being and Alcoholic
Being an alcoholic does not mean that life is over, although it may seem like it at first, but we have come to find that we are actually extremely blessed. We have the opportunity to a second chance, and we have the opportunity to live this life with more meaning and freedom and usefulness.
We no longer have to look over our shoulder because we owe someone money or because we are in trouble with the law. We are able to look our fellow man in the eye, with no fear, or shame, or guilt, because we have chosen to surrender to a program and a Higher Power in order to recover.
I understand that it is easy to lose sight of the simple beauty that this life brings, simply because we as alcoholics tend to focus on the negative aspect of things. But you know the old saying, the glass is either half empty or half full. As alcoholics, we are used to seeing our glass as half empty and we are always looking for the next best thing to make it full.
All of this is really about maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude. When we maintain this attitude, we transform and control our perspective on life. This gratitude can fill our cup to the brim and then some.
Personal Experience of an Alcoholic
Listen, I know that life gets tough, and even more so when we actually start behaving like competent and responsible human beings. That being said, think about it this way.
I work 50 hours a week at a job that has a pretty hefty commute. I have four sponsees, attend meetings, try to make it to the gym, and have two dogs. Things can get pretty crazy, and I sometimes find myself getting the “F-it’s.”
However, when I stop and think about it, this time a few years ago, I had none of these things. I couldn’t hold a job, I barely had friends, nevertheless people who trusted me to help them get sober! I definitely wouldn’t have been able to support a dog, or my own car, or apartment, etc. The list goes on. When I truly stop to think about it, I never would have gotten any of these things that I can take for granted without getting sober. And in order to keep these things, I have to remain grateful for them.
When I think of all of the things that I should be grateful for, be it my job, my family, my home, my program, my Higher Power, my perspective improves, and my whole day follows. That is why gratitude is so important for us as alcoholics.
When taking a step back for a moment to think about all of the blessings that we have in our lives, we suddenly realize that our glasses are indeed half full. We are clean and sober, we have a place to sleep at night, we have people that care about us, and we no longer have to lie or hide anything from anyone anymore.
When and if we do cause any harm because we are not perfect, we can recognize it and right our wrongs. We can make amends to our families and regain the trust of our loved ones and our employers.
Tips to Remain Grateful
- Make a Gratitude List
- Find yourself a gratitude token (like a little keychain or something, keep this little guy on hand, and when you start slipping into the F-its, pull it out and I bet it will make you smile!)
- Talk to your Higher Power! Say thank you!
A grateful alcoholic won’t pick up a drink because they can recognize all of the positive things they have acquired in recovery and want to show their gratitude for them. Gratitude is the act of being thankful. Without maintaining this gratitude, you’re only talking the talk. You have got to walk the walk! Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of action. We carry the message by helping the newcomer. When we give back what was so freely given to us in the beginning it shows that we are grateful for the help that we have been given in our sobriety. Suiting up and showing up is what we do now. No matter what, we show up because we are truly blessed with the lives that we have and the second chance that God has given us at life.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our holistic program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.