“For many years now I have been using gratitude as a powerful tool to assist me to be a more loving person. It instantly lifts me out of whatever “hole” I think I am in,
whether it be self pity, envy, or pridefulness.”
This tool was given to me in my early recovery from addiction. At that time I seemed to have very little to be thankful for, my life was in turmoil. There was divorce, child custody hearings, financial issues, all sorts of upheaval as I transitioned into my new life in recovery. I could no longer turn to drugs to relieve my distress.
My sponsor suggested I write a gratitude list each morning of 10 things I am grateful for. The next day 10 different things, and so on. I honestly didn’t think there would be one thing I could put on the list, but I was tired of the way I was feeling, and somehow found just enough willingness to start. Over the course of the next 30 days I saw the lists growing and growing, and became amazed at how much I truly did have to be thankful for. I found myself starting to look for things to be grateful for, rather than looking at what was wrong in my life. Then I realized a major shift was happening.
Over time I have come to know that there is always something to be grateful for, even in situations or circumstances that seem adverse and painful. It may not be apparent at the time, but there is always a gift to be revealed. That divorce that felt like a catastrophy revealed a hidden blessing.
I laugh with my 12-step friends when I share at a meeting, I say gratitude is now my favorite drug, it costs nothing, works instantly, has no side effects, and is always available!
I have a favorite affirmation that I use, which is “Everything in my life is an opportunity for more gratitude to express.” Another current favorite is a prayer that I say as I walk into work, “Please help me to stay in gratitude today”. I sometimes need to repeat that many times!
I am grateful for this gift that continues to help me so much, so that I can be a better person, a more loving person.