Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some Reasons for Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving from Christina and me^

Perhaps the single most important lesson I've learned in my decade and a half of membership in Alcoholics Anonymous is that gratitude trumps anything else that is going on at the time. If I'm grateful, there simply isn't room for negative emotion.

It is an almost impossible lesson to learn for a sober person, so imagine coming to it as a recovering drunk. It means taking responsibility for everything that happens in my life--everything, no exceptions. If I'm hit by a bus, it's on me. That's the only way I can be in a place where I can make the most of the situation. If I own it, I can change it by changing me or the way I look at it and gratitude sets that up nicely. It's a simple acceptance of the world as it is, not as I would have it be.

If that sounds a smidge fatalistic, it isn't. Why argue with a force as powerful as God or nature or however we choose to frame that power greater than we are? Fatalism is expecting the negative. Gratitude is being thankful for ability to see the opportunity.

I want today to live with gratitude in the following:

1. I don't get to see all of my family often enough, but I love them all and they complete me with their returned love. I am full because of that.

2. Our country is deeply flawed, but for the first time in eight years, I have the feeling that even though we're involved in a number of wrong policies (war, for example), I'm seeing so much more good being accomplished, especially internationally.

3. Valley Business FRONT is not as financially stable as we'd all like, but we're paying our writers and the magazine has been greeted with a kind of enthusiasm that evolves into excited anticipation each time we have a new issue go online. This has been 45 years in the creation for me and it is as much fun as I've ever had doing anything. I really love what I'm doing and the people involved in it with me.

4. (This one actually supersedes and makes possible all before it.) I'm sober and drinking is not a daily issue for me any longer. I don't smoke, either (16 years) and my diet is finally leveling out without meat. All these changes have been happy challenges, met head-on.

5. I have friends that I absolutely treasure; smart, good people who make me smarter and better.

6. My Tennessee Vols are coming back strong in all the sports I care about (OK, this probably doesn't belong here, but if you looked at the amount of orange in my wardrobe, you'd understand).

7. I get to fight for things I think are right, without fear. Thanks, AA, for that one, too.

8. I'll stop here for no reason except that there are so many more, it would take all of my Thanksgiving Day to give thanks for them and we'd be late in picking up Christina's mother to go to the Peaks of Otter for Lunch.

I hope your day's as good as mine.


  1. Stellar job. Amen. And, thank you!

  2. Another thing about gratitude; it's very, very contagious.