November 14: The Power of Staying Grateful

Topic for the week: The Power of Staying Grateful

I’m Louise and I’m a grateful alcoholic. Gratitude is timely as it’s not long until Thanksgiving for you folks in the US. Here in the UK we have a sort of thanksgiving equivalent, a harvest festival celebration in early autumn where we’re grateful for the produce from our fields (or afar) and thus the food we can put on the table. Food is a basic survival need, as we all know.

I’ve been taught in these rooms though that surviving well is down to my attitude– I try daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Especially when the going gets tough.

Chuck C talks about wearing a new pair of glasses, seeing the world in a different light, a different way.

I know that my being grateful for everything in my life changes how I feel inside. It changes my perception of everything. I’m in love with my life and live with a deep peace of heart. I renew this way of seeing the world every single morning. And when self-centred thinking slips in during any day, I immediately lift my spiritual toolkit and get my gratitude glasses back on straight.

When I look at what’s ‘wrong’ with my loved ones, and focus on that, I go further down. I start to see flaws all around me. I get on my pity pot. (which is always there waiting). The ‘it’s not fair’ pot. I might know these days not to say anything, to not try to change someone, but I can still slip into the ‘it’s not fair God’ chant. I move into self-centred thinking. There’s a real shift in how I view myself and you and the world around me.

When I focus on what I don’t have in terms of material possessions– bigger house, car, income, better hair, skin, body etc– or ambitions not met, or relationships not how I’d like them to be– I’m living in the problem, not the solution. And the problem just increases. I have that magic magnifying mind that Dr Paul O speaks of in the Big Book story Acceptance Was The Answer.

My mind creates the problems. And the hole in my soul gets bigger and deeper. These days I don’t stay there for long. I know what works and I no longer have to bash my head against a brick wall before I’ll give in and surrender to the way things actually are.

And when I make the effort to turn my thoughts around to what I do have, and focus attention on being grateful for these gifts, then I’m living in the solution and the solution increases.

I do gratitude lists every single day with AA friends. I’m in the habit now of doing this and it’s a habit I value very much. It keeps me grateful and focused on what is important and central in life– maintaining a close conscious contact with a Power greater than me.

Sometimes life does bring very real and painful situations. And the power of being grateful on a daily basis is a huge antidote for me to not only travel through the painful emotions, but to navigate it all with grace, humility and daily surrender, living with unanswered questions, and somehow managing to be deeply grateful for the gifts of sobriety.

So the very power of gratitude to transform my life, mind, heart and soul, and add to the lives of those around me, is huge and life-giving. It moves my thinking onto a higher plane.

I’d love to hear you share your experience, strength and hope around this topic.

A big, big welcome to our new ladies too. Please feel free to share.

Thanks for being as part of this meeting.