When I first started coming to meetings and people would talk about being grateful for this trial in their lives, it made me puke in my mouth a little. I would feel anger flash over me before waves of shame.
“I am not ever going to get there,” I thought.
With Thanksgiving coming up this week, I thought it would be appropriate for us to discuss gratitude in recovery.
For me, like most aspects of recovery, finding gratitude has not been a straight path nor a quick one. Gratitude has appeared from seemingly unrelated practices and unlikely places, and it has come in its own way and its own time. I couldn’t force it. I just had to work my program and wait.
But as time passes, gratitude has become an underlying, almost tangible presence in my life. When I try to pinpoint where it came from, I believe it has come through a daily practice of mindfulness and meditation, as referenced in Step 11.
Eckhart Tolle has said,
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
A daily practice of breathing and stillness has reconnected me back to this essence of myself–the timeless, eternal part of me. This “Being underneath” transcends any of my personal circumstances. It is not defined by “my story,” my physical appearance, my marital status, or my social or financial status. This “stillness,” “love,” and “joy” is the Divine in me, and it has existed forever.
When I choose to resist the pull of the relentless treadmill of emotions and reactions, stimulus and response, I realize I do have choices that transcend my temporary circumstances.
When I take time to breathe, meditate, and allow myself to become fully aware of the Being underneath, I am absolutely overcome with gratitude.
Here I am, breathing, thinking, feeling, perceiving…I am alive! Isn’t that amazing?!? And everything I am experiencing, the good, the bad, the painful, the exquisite…it is all a gift. I am in awe of being alive!
This is the deepest gratitude I feel in recovery today.
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
As I seek each day to create space in myself for stillness, my Higher Power reminds me of who I really am, and the gratitude begins to run like a vast, sustaining river underneath all the emotions that I experience day to day.
Whether it is fear, trauma, joy, sadness, frustration, laughter, or pain…it is all a part of this brutiful life, and it overcomes me that I, even I, get the chance to experience it all.
I hope this didn’t make you puke in your mouth.
Please share your thoughts and experiences about gratitude as you work your recovery One Day at a Time!