Here's the hard truth: If I were truly grateful, I wouldn't have felt the need to drink or do drugs. I drank because I didn't like the way I felt sober. I did drugs because I liked the escape from reality.
Am I grateful today? Yeah...mostly. The fact that I'm alive is something to be grateful for, and I generally walk around smiling with that in mind. But if I were truly grateful, would I be stressed? Would I think resentful thoughts in the shower? Would my anxiety get the best of me? Would I be yearning for more? Those are tough questions, but they're of great importance, because gratitude is the key to happiness. Today, by the grace of God, I'm 32 months sober.
There was a time in my life where gratitude just meant saying "thank you" when people gave me things. Now, I know that gratitude also means saying "thank you" when I get nothing. It's appreciating the hard times. It's standing in the rain and smiling, because I know the sun is coming. It's laughing in the face of fear, because my heart is thankful for a God who loves & carries me. Gratitude is the difference between a bad day and a good day.
I don't have to understand things to be grateful, I don't have to feel God in every moment to be grateful, and I most certainly don't have to feel happy to be grateful. Some of my darkest moments in sobriety have been my brightest. It's in those dark, lonely, depressing moments that I learn what I'm made of. When I dig deep in those moments and find a smile in my heart, my soul shifts to a place of peace and understanding.
I'm grateful for my dark past. I'm grateful for my alcoholism. I'm grateful life doesn't make sense. I'm grateful for loneliness. I'm grateful for challenges. I'm grateful for my son I haven't yet met. I'm grateful I have to be different. I'm grateful people question me and say mean things. I'm grateful, because God is bigger than all of that. With gratitude, I am complete.
Challenge: Write down 3 things you're grateful for. Dig deep. Name the "awful" things. Think about what's missing in your life, and be thankful you don't have it. Because if you had it, you wouldn't need God.
Bonus challenge: Donate to CLTIVATE today. I work really hard to do all of this. Gratitude is more than "thank you" - it's an action :)