September has a special meaning for me. It is the month of both my birthday and my AA anniversary. Today my gift is gratitude itself. It is inside me, and I want to keep feeling it. I never used to know gratitude. It is a gift that shouldn’t get dusty on a shelf. It needs to be integrated right into my attitude where it belongs. It seems to take a weight off my shoulders.
Gratitude can seem elusive, but the serenity I feel is gratitude in my life. It is one of those gifts that I might overlook. So I chart it daily.
Early in AA I felt grateful for an odd gift: the gift of desperation. Without it I would not have come to AA. My Higher Power is the best gift-giver ever! As a newcomer, I didn’t always feel good and sometimes wondered why I made the decision to get sober. I wasn’t so sure I was grateful–until I paused, or was told by my sponsor, to reflect on it. Sure enough-there it was.
The Promises are my cheat sheet in starting my gratitude list. But they are very limited. My gratitude is vast. It covers the sun, the moon, the stars, a wonderful breeze, a fragrant flower, loved ones, pets. Sobriety. You. Serenity. A higher power I call God. Just some of my favorite things. Drinking and stumbling through my life I barely noticed those things. The list grows in sobriety.
I never dreamed I would find a support system. I never dreamed I could be worthy of love and kindness. Calm was not within my reach. There are in fact other emotions on the chart besides anger! Laughter came into my life. My prayers turned to requests for blessings to others. I say prayers of thanks. I ask for direction and the will of my Higher Power. Not until I set aside my own apparent control was I open to a Higher Power. It seemed prayers were answered when I didn’t even pray! I am so grateful.
Each of us experiences gratitude in her own personal way. As unique as we are, that is how unique our gratitude list is. But when we shout out in unison at the end of a meeting, Keep coming back, it works when you work it! we express a joy and gratitude we share alike.
My gratitude in recovery seems to burst out of nowhere and float all over me like fairy dust. Sometimes I giggle at what I’m grateful for. I love the sneaky little surprises from my Higher Power too, although sometimes I don’t see them right away. My gratitude is as precious as the gifts themselves. The world looks so much better with Gratitude in My Attitude. I invite you to continue to join me in celebrating gratitude. I am able to invite each of you because, of course, your name is on my Gratitude List! hgz, b. dos 9/21/83; dob 9/01/43
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