Friday, August 05, 2011

Gratitude for Daily Life

I have been thinking a great deal about gratitude lately. Mainly because I have two sponsees in crisis and gratitude seems to be lacking in their lives. I probably could take partial responsibility for that - I guess I should be reminding them every day. But they are both sober over five years and I would expect them to be in the habit of gratitude.

I found my first gratitude list in my old journal from 1984. From my current perspective, it looks like a list of what I thought I should be grateful for. That's OK, it started a habit. I remember a life-changing gratitude list made, at my sponsor's request, when I was sober about two years. My car had just been vandalized, my car stereo stolen. All of my cassettes were stolen as well - with the exception of several Talking Heads tapes. Even the cop agreed that the thief obviously had no taste in music! The sponsor asked me to write a gratitude list. I sat down, really kind of mad at her for suggesting such a thing, and started this list. Here's the gratitude list as I recall it:

my dining room table
my bath tub
my bath tub is built-in, so no one can steal it
I am so easily entertained.

The last item on that list really changed my perspective on life. Prior to that I hadn't realized I really could be happy with simple things. After that, I focused on the simple things that I enjoyed. Focusing on things really does magnify them - joys or problems.

  • Today I do not have a migraine. Praise God. Yesterday I was able to come home and sleep in a cool dark bedroom with a ceiling fan.
  • - I bought a book to listen to while out on my 19 mile run on Saturday, and I have found that I love listening to books - especially this one, Water for Elephants, which I have managed to avoid because I thought it sounded silly and trite. Listening to a book is a good deal when it hurts to open your eyes.
  • I can avoid the temptation to look at my 401K to find out how much money I lost yesterday - because I am sure to lose more today.
  • Today is Friday, I have a list of things to do at work today and if I get them done, it will bring a great deal of satisfaction.
  • Tomorrow is Saturday and I have so many exciting things to do tomorrow, I could barely sleep last night! I have to remind myself that I can only live one day at a time... but it is nice when I have to remind myself of that because I am too excited about things in days to come!
  • God's mercy seems to have no bounds. I have a life today that is a result of His mercy, if I got what I deserved, it would be nothing like this!
  • "ctrl i" will make italics, and I seem to like them today.
Have a nice, sober day everyone. If you are not in the habit, try a little bit of gratitude today. It really makes a difference. (And I think God is partial to people who thank Him regularly)


Syd said...

Glad that the migraine passed. Gratitude is abundant here. Have a good day!

Pammie said...

love this mary.

dAAve said...

It's probably the best habit I've picked up in the past 8 years.

Lou said...

I had a sponsor who got me into the habit of a daily gratitude list. Best suggestion I was ever given.

ScottF said...

agreed, gratitude is SO important to solid, lasting sobriety...

a friend of mine in AA always preaches that "you can't have a positive and a negative thought in your head at the same time..." and darned if he isn't right. So, if I am thinking about everything I am grateful for, it's impossible for me to be negative!