Today I’m going to take a cue from positive-focussed sobriety blogs such as Gratitude4Gratitude (—check out the solid panel of gratitude-marked days on his blog’s calendar! That is quite the visual!—) and focus on what’s already good in my life.
This is something I really need to work on. I tend to constantly turn to what is missing, what could be better or ways in which I or the people around me appear (in my own mind) to have failed. Yet gratitude, as many of us know, is the key to true connection with positive power and thus to making good things happen for us and for everyone around us as a result.
There was a time when I was really into gratitude as a creative tool. Honestly that was the happiest time of my life. I let go of that, for a lot of reasons that I tend to blame on the unfortunate souls in my immediate vicinity (lol), but the truth is it takes conscious effort to remain focussed on what is good, in spite of whatever unpleasantness, whether minor or major, is happening around us. But just like forcing ourselves to move our bodies a little, to drink glasses of water, to eat fruits and vegetables, and to create more than consume, practicing gratitude results in exponential, long-reaching benefits.
In practicing positivity we can completely turn our lives around, and not only that, it’s contagious. We can improve the lives of others quickly and easily by expressing gratitude. At first it may feel insincere, or like there are no immediate rewards. But like anything else, it’s when you leave immediate gratification aside, and continue with the practice anyway, that good stuff really starts to happen for you. Or at least, that’s how it went for me, in the past.
It’s like building a lighthouse tower in my imagination. The first day, maybe I put a ring of stones on the ground. This doesn’t look like much. But if the next day I add mortar, then do the same thing, and the next day and the next day, I will have a tall tower after a year of not that much effort. The mortar, what holds the stones together, could be seen as my commitment to continue.
But what about the steps? Spiral steps are out of my league. I will have to call in help as I go along! Hopefully, by then, people in my immediate vicinity will have stopped believing the project is not worthwhile, and will begin to get interested of their own accord. I know someone who is a wizard at building just about anything! Perhaps he’ll help when the time comes. Who knows, maybe the neighbourhood will join in!
In the end the lighthouse will not be mine. Instead it will be a refuge and a beacon that I can look up to and, occasionally, out from. In fact, there are many of them already. But still there can be more!
Oh crap I’ve gotten lost in mixing metaphors again. (There, changed my tagline!) Anyway, here goes my gratitude list:
- I am grateful I have a quiet, warm, dry bed.
- I am grateful to be home with my family.
- I am grateful my kids seem healthy and content.
- I am grateful my husband makes amazing meals. Yes, sometimes it seems our lives revolve around too much food, but better too much than too little!
- I am grateful that my parents arrive soon for a visit. I hope to soak up as much time listening to them and serving them as I can. In the past I have over-concerned with my own agenda. This time I hope to “let go and let god.”
- I am grateful for this laptop. A decade ago it was only a dream that I kept wishing for. I believed it would change my writing life, and it did. I am grateful to my husband for his part in making my dreams become reality.
- I am grateful for my body. I don’t treat it as well as I should, but it serves me very well. I can run and jump if I want to. I should probably take advantage of that more often.
- I am grateful for the Internet. It’s amazing way to connect with like-minded people around the world.
- I am grateful for the spring. Renewed life; lambs being born in the neighbouring fields. Calves still close to their mothers; birds making nests out of bits of my flyaway hair. The apple trees are white with blossoms and our wisteria has just begun to bloom. The lilac perfumes the driveway.
- I am grateful we have plenty of money at the moment. Our house may not be stylish and may feel cramped at times, but we don’t need to stress in order to pay bills. There is enough cash to buy things as we need them, to make repairs as they become necessary, to take a holiday here and there. I remember a time when money was a very, very stressful factor. Sometimes I forget to be grateful for the basic things.
I am also grateful for my total sobriety. I have already accomplished much more in these past 25 days than I would have done were I to have stayed in my old patterns of either attempting to moderate (and never feeling satisfied) or periodic dipso-wining. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I know my situation, my body and my mind best, and I function much more fruitfully and peacefully without alcohol. Yes I experienced momentary extreme highs while drinking, but those were countered by crippling self-disgust and/or pervasive, gradually-destructive dullness afterward. My life, in my own eyes, regardless of what it looked like from anyone else’s perspective, had in fact become unmanageable.
Since returning to total sobriety, I’ve found increased confidence in my own decisions and actions, dealt with a stack of years-old to-do’s, and I basically am learning to like myself a whole lot more. The confidence-development factor can’t be over-emphasized. I feel like a new person, once again, in that regard. I pray that this time the confidence doesn’t get the better of me. Please, please Universe, keep me humble.
Finally, I am grateful for each of you. When I am here, in this blogging community, reading and writing, I know I’m not alone. I’m grateful for all of your stories, including and especially the “Day Ones,” whether repeated or not. You help keep me on this path, and you’re also part of the reason I found it in the first place. I may stumble, I may fail, I may make mistakes, but the fact that we are in it together keeps me going and makes it worthwhile to continue. Thank you for your stories, your shared experiences, your honesty, and your willingness to keep carrying on. You inspire me!
one sober tree-(and lighthouse!-)lover
Image: Refuge and inspiration. Lighthouse photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.