Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grateful for Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for the learned ability to be grateful.

Don't underestimate that simple response, because it is part and parcel of getting well for those whose lives have been controlled at one time or another by addiction. In addiction, there is no gratitude and no ability to feel it, express it, learn from it.

When getting well, learning how to be grateful often represents a turning point in becoming human for the first time since before the addiction began. Gratitude for the smallest, simplest and most ordinary of our experiences--expressed gratitude--helps create a real appreciation for everything, even the painful experiences, because they teach us.

I remember my old friend Mattie, who died sitting on a park bench, peaceful and content, suggesting gratitude as a topic at AA meetings. Mattie, who gave me my 5-year chip because "you finally deserve it," would often say, "I'm not asking for a litany of things you're grateful for. That's easy. I want to know why you're grateful, how you express it, what it does for you. It's about the concept of gratitude because that's what getting well is all about."

It is about learning and when we open ourselves to being grateful, we become full and educated in humanity.

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