We remember with clarity the conflict that the above phrase stirred up early in our recovery.
How could anybody be grateful for the negative experiences they had? How could one be grateful for the broken relationships left in the wake of alcohol abuse, for the resulting physical and mental health trauma, or the money and moments lost?
We have come to grip that the knowledge of the suffering, the sensation of the darkness of the past, brings about a greater appreciation of the light we live in today. It is not that we are thankful for the minutes that were, but we are appreciative of the moments that are. We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t gone there. We are grateful for the new, which was formed by the old.
Those who have near-death incidents have a greater admiration for life. We lived near death. We staggered to the ledge of extinction, but by the grace of a higher power, who had a broader plan for us, we fell back and were given a second chance.
We live in the preciousness of this gift daily. Today, we see the value of each step ahead of us. We have admiration and wonder for the relationships that make up the sphere of our existence. We care about the meaningful and discard the insignificant. This new production would not be possible if we chose to ignore our past. For us, we need to recognize the wreckage to respect the restoration.
Transformation to acceptance takes time. Early on, we couldn’t get clear of the muck we had dredged up – it lingered around us, constantly reminding us of the devastation constructed by our own hands. The darkness denied us daylight and, with it, the hope that comes through dreams. The hell clutched our character until we clipped the chains, declaring that it no longer had dominion over us. By sorting through our history we slowly started seeing how EVERYTHING had to happen to have us here. The Heaven unfolded on earth. Over time, peace replaced pandemonium, order substituted disorder, and calm claimed chaos. We became a creature that combined our crust and cream – a person made up of ALL our parts. Authenticity delivered self-approval.
As stated, the process of gratefulness takes time – and effort. As true recovery is about much more than abstinence, we had to embrace the 12 steps laid out by Alcoholics Anonymous relentlessly, moving both thoroughly and intentionally through each phase of the process strategically and with all the strength we could muster. Half measures avail half results.
We implore the reader of this post to go all in on taking inventory of the elements that have made you you. Identify, analyze, and recognize the pieces that make up the person. Realize the realities. Reconcile your past with yourself. Take from what was regrettable and give to what is getable. Seek reason for gratefulness – for the seeker will find.
We are not grateful that we hurt but that we healed. We are not thankful for what we caused but for our commitment to cure.
So, for today, we are grateful alcoholics and are living in the knowledge that we step in progress – leveraging our past to prepare a present that is honest and fulfilling.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast titled “#139 Thanksgiving 2023 (w Matt C)..” The podcast dropped on 11/22/2023. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.