Hi Growing Women. My name is Alison B and I am an alcoholic. I had an opportunity to travel with a group of AA women to Mexico last week for a women’s retreat. I did not attend with any expectations; I had no agenda for myself. As some of you know, I lived in this same area of Mexico for 10 years, 8 of which were on my sailboat raising my two children with my now ex-husband. The journey this past week was an interesting one for me, in that from 1991-93 while living in Mexico aboard my sailboat I was still drinking. These were the last two years of my active disease. I sobered up in La Paz, Mexico in 1993. So the memories for me in Mexico are a mixed bag.
The first AA meeting of the retreat turned out to be the topic of gratitude. As it was a meditation meeting we were led by one of the members. She took us all on quite a journey into the past, the present and the future. As soon as I opened the door to the past I saw myself on my sailboat anchored off shore from where I was currently staying. I found gratitude in my past. It was so very clear to me and the tears began to roll down my cheeks. And in fact, for the entire 20 minutes of the meditation/journey the tears just streamed down my face. (The tears were accompanied by copious amounts of snot near the end. Lol )
The significance of being able to at long last find gratitude in my heart for my past drinking life was a surprise to me. I have been in the rooms of AA for many years, and acceptance of my past was a key to staying sober. But what I did not realize was that the acceptance of my past was very different from gratitude for my past. Something shifted in my perception during that meditation in a most profound way. I became one with my past. It was no longer something that happened, but an integral part of who I am today. It was a warm and friendly feeling towards my past. It’s difficult to put into words.
All I know is that I keep coming back. I love AA and all that it has to offer. I remain open to new ideas and my Higher Power reveals those new ideas to me as I age in the AA program. Gratitude has taken on a whole new meaning for me. My own definition has shifted. This is a gift. It is the gift I traveled to Mexico for, unbeknownst to me. My Higher Power and the 11 other AA women I was sharing the week with gave me the greatest gift of all. They gave me myself. I was whole once again. There was perfection in the moment that words do not convey.
Do not leave before the miracle happens. Keep coming back. This AA sober life is amazing. Thank you to you ladies for the many gifts that you have given me. I love the definition I found. “….kindness awakened by a favor received.”
the state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness
Origin: [F. gratitude, LL. gratitudo, from gratus agreeable, grateful. See Grate, a.] She sent them a present to show/express her gratitude.
Take this as a token of my gratitude for all your help.