Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gratitude for Gifts Received

What are You Grateful For?

As the New Year approaches I find myself thinking of how different my life is after 22 years of sobriety. Today I am grateful, not just for the countless gifts I have received but also for the life lessons that brought me to Alcoholics Anonymous. At one of the first AA meetings I attended in 1986 the 12 Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous were read. Being sober only a few days and still feeling very sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, those Promises sounded unbelievable. I asked several people at that meeting where I could find the 12 Promises in print and received the same response from every person! The 12 Promises are in the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous. Read the book! They also suggested I "keep coming back."

Since then I have read the Big Book several times over and continue to work the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. True to the word "promise", the 12 Promises have all come true in my life. Although many of the life lessons that brought me to this point in life were painful or at best unpleasant, they also brought me to a place of gratitude and they serve as good reminders of what I could go back to if I chose to pick up a drink or some other mood altering substance.

When I came to Alcoholics Anonymous I regretted my past, lived in constant fear, and was full of self pity. I was selfish and self seeking and was forever trying to fill what my first AA sponsor taught me was a God-shaped hole with a square peg. Today that hole has been filled with my higher power, who I choose to call God, the loving people in my life both in and outside of AA, and the fullness of a sober life. I truly have a new freedom, a new happiness, and serenity. Through working the 12 Steps I have cleaned up the wreckage of my past and have become the daughter, sister, aunt and friend that I had always hoped to be. In my 19th year of sobriety I even got married for the first time!

When I got sober gratitude was just a word, not a feeling. I recently sat down to write a list of 5 things I was grateful for and realized that I couldn't stop at just 5. I have so much in my life that I am grateful for, and as I focus on what I am grateful for the list continues to grow.

What gifts are you grateful for in your recovery?

Leslie W.
A Grateful Member of Alcoholics Anonymous

3 comments:

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  2. I was getting into a habit at one time of focusing on what was wrong in my life. The more time I spent in my pity party the more anxious and depressed I became. Then, in an Al Anon meeting, I heard a woman talk about going to a hardware store looking for fresh bread, and I realized that I wasn't being grateful at all for what I had because I kept looking at it in terms of what I didn't have. I insisted on looking for bread at the hardware , even though it had other things that were perfectly fine and could enhance my life in a different way. That day I wrote "gratitude" on my cell phone screen and I look at that word each time I make a call to remind me to be grateful for my blessings. I am satisfied that hardware stores and bakeries are both blessings; I just can't forget which one I'm in.

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  3. Thank you so much for your blog posts. The posts have helped me to stop and reevaluate where I am at in my life. I constantly find myself dreaming and wanting more, then beating myself when I don't achieve it. This has been a wake up call for me. After reading this, I realize I need to stop and be thankful for what I do have and not constantly wanting more. Thanks again for sharing, you have truly helped me!

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