I was taught early in my recovery that grateful alcoholics/addicts do not drink or use. With Thanksgiving upon us, the focus this week will be on “gratitude,” which is as important for my spiritual condition 4.5 years into my recovery as it was day 1 when I walked through the doors of Turning Point.
I was not what is referred to as a “high bottom alcoholic/addict.” I was barely surviving and spending my time in mostly nefarious places, acting in ways which I can confidently describe as despicable. All I had at that point were the clothes on my back and a heap of willingness.
I will never forget the first time while I was in residential treatment that I was given the gift card for Publix that I was to use for grocery shopping. I had not had extra money for groceries in over 5 years. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that I would be able to eat for a week.
Little by little, I was able to put some sober time together through the work in the program. When I would call my sponsor during that first year, he would always ask me what I was grateful for and I would give him my gratitude list. “Clean clothes, the halfway house, my friends that I met at TPOT who are all sober and working a program of recovery” were early some examples, and I TRULY meant it. The longer I have been able to stay sober, the more that list has changed, and it has grown immensely.
Today I am an employee in the Marketing Department of TPOT where I was given that gift card for Publix in 2016. I have a family, I am a sponsor and I am a co-host on The Point is Recovery Podcast! As we say, the list goes on “ad infinitum.”
We are taught to do a couple of things each day to stay sober: pray in the morning, talk to another alcoholic, go to a meeting, read some of our literature and pray at night. I would go one step further and add a 6th action, take some time in prayer and meditation to focus on the gratitude of how our lives have changed and how God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. I am grateful to be the man I am today, and I show that by giving back to the still sick and suffering alcoholic and by being the best version of sobriety I can be for my friends and family.