When I got clean, the people who had been in recovery longer than me—in other words, everyone—told me to do several things: make meetings, take things a day at a time, stay away from old friends, call others in recovery. They didn’t tell my why, other than to stay clean. They told me to do them. The why would come later.
One suggestion/order was to make a gratitude list. Write down the things I was grateful for, no matter how rotten I thought life was. If I had writer’s block, start with: 1) I’m clean, then 2) I’m alive.
The practice serves me well to this day.
Gratitude lists have made me a much happier person. Making them focuses me on the positive. I am a firm believer that we have the choice as to where we set our minds. Gratitude shows me what is right and true in my world, which is now so precious.
I give thanks for the big things: recovery, good health, shelter, family, friends, conscious contact with a higher power. But I also give thanks for the smallest of things: a pleasant encounter with a stranger, a baby’s attention, the reflection of a cloud in a window.
Small things matter. Like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, minutia hint at hidden significance. The great architect Mies van der Rohe said God is in the details. Yes.
The “attitude of gratitude” changes your world, incites a small revolution in your worldview. It does not make the world a happier place. It makes you a happier place.
I am not pollyanna-ish about gratitude. Sometimes in my screw-you moods, I make my list through clenched teeth. I tell God that I want this suckiness to end as I want nothing else, and I don’t want anyone to bother me, but I am grateful for… And then I fill in the blank. If I do this long enough in enough detail, my thanks become sincere again and my black cloud dissipates.
It works for me. It will work for you.
Here goes: [insert name] am grateful for… Fill in the blanks. Maybe you won’t have many items on your first list, but with practice, they add up.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared my thoughts with you. Peace.