Sunday, 01 April 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude

Part 2/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by London (See all authors)

London Responds:

Dear Bruce,

You are now at a junction in your life and you have two paths in front of you. You can either carry on the acting out path with devastating consequences, or you can start on the recovery path. If you choose the recovery path (which I hope you will), this is what the founders of AA write in the promises for those who seek out recovery sincerely:

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

  • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  • We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
  • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
  • That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  • Self-seeking will slip away.
  • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

-- Alcoholics Anonymous p. 83-84"

Bruce, I can tell you from my own recovery (which I am not half way through), that my life today bears no resemblance to when I was in the heat of active addiction. It is very easy for us to look around at our peers and feel self pity about our lot - I used to do this regularly but it got me no where. Hashem has a plan for me. I do not know what it is, but it includes my addiction and recovery. The same applies to you, you are young and you have your entire life ahead of you. Stop looking around at your friends. Who knows what's going on behind closed doors?

One of the tools I have learned in recovery is gratitude. I have a "daily gratitude list" which I give over to a friend in recovery. Even without knowing you - just from reading your posts, I can think of many things that you should be grateful for. My only hope is that you will take the tools of recovery as suggested in the GYE Handbook and work through them thoroughly and honestly until you find what works for you to get recovery. And then those promises mentioned above will materialize in your life before you know it. I have seen the transformation in my life and in the lives of countless other people in recovery who are prepared to do what it takes to get well.

Keep coming back,

OK, London. Just for kicks I'll call you out on it: What can you see in my posts that I should be grateful for? I'm curious to know if you can get any of them right or if you can show me something I never thought of.

Dear Bruce,

Your challenge to me reminds me of when I first got into recovery. My therapist asked me to give her a list of 10 things that I am grateful for and I was stumped, I could not think of one. That's how closed off my mind was. But as for you, here goes:

1. You're alive
2. You write that you have friends / room mates.
3. You are extremely articulate
4. You are very intelligent
5. You have found the recovery path at a very young age
6. You are studying
7. You have your entire life ahead of you
8. You spent 2 years in Israel

That's just from reading your posts. I am sure that if I were to get to know you better, I could write a lot more. I have found that for me, developing an "attitude of gratitude" is one of the cornerstones of my recovery. I have so much in my life that Hashem has bestowed on me, but when I am acting out I cannot see His blessings in my life,all I can see is what I don't have.

There are so many people out there who are sick with this illness and are suffering a living hell. I am so grateful to Hashem that just for today I do not need to live a life like that, that Hashem has allowed His Grace to come into me to get recovery. I hear at meetings that recovery is a gift from Hashem, that I can do Teshuva and that I can make living amends for my past. What a blessing! My worst days in recovery today are still 10 x better then the best days of when I was acting out.

Keep coming back,