I found this great passage relating to A.A. and gratitude - and I love this part -
"Gratitude. It's a weighty, high-dignity word, but in truth its close companions are humor and joy. As Bill W. observed early on in the Big Book (p. 132), "Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others." What greater cause can there be for rejoicing than this?"LAUGHTER. People are sometimes horrified that we joke about these awful terrible things we did or what happened, but if we didn't laugh about it, we would constantly be in the fetal position crying and terrified. So I say, let's LAUGH! I just want to give back what was so freely given to me by so many who walked this path before I did. And laughter and humor are a huge part of helping people who are trying to get better. I laugh so much harder and more genuinely since I got sober, than I ever did when I was drinking or even before I ever drank. Being a drunk has led me to happiness. True happiness.
Honestly, I am so grateful to be a drunk who is not drinking because I never would have known about gratitude if not for that whole LOSING EVERYTHING thing.
I talk about gratitude lists a lot. Because they are critical to my sobriety and my keeping everything in perspective. I can be so grateful because I have been so hopeless. I haven't been hopeless for a long time, and for that, I have sobriety to thank.
You've seen my standard gratitude lists before -
- roof over my head
- my dear sweet husband
- my job
- nutritious food and clean water
- friends and family
- these two babes in my belly
That is just the base. It builds from there and can go into as much detail as you like. All I know is, being grateful for what I have and laughing about just about everything helps me to stay sober and help others every day. You certainly don't need to be sober or working a 12 Step program to do gratitude. It happens when you are thankful and open to the little things that make this life so great. It's all around us.
We don't have a lot. But we have so much. Instead of whining and complaining, for the most part, I choose gratitude and hope. Even for the shitty parts. I have my moments, OF COURSE, every human does. But I accept every part of what has been my life and try to learn and grow from it. Sometimes it doesn't happen for years that I understand what things meant or why they happened and there are many things I will just never understand and that is OK. I don't need to understand everything.
Here's what I do know, as I posted last night -
I'm pretty sure the stinky boozey homeless dude sits next to me on the train because I've been the stinky boozey homeless dudette. And I look him in the eye. Compassion doesn't take time off.
and then -
I always ask "where you headed?" And say oh I've been to a good AA meeting around there. We try. That's the best we can do. Some are more open to chatting than others. Ill happily share my experience strength and hope with someone who wants to hear it.
I have compassion, but it had to be learned. I had to go through what I did in order to feel compassion for those who are suffering and less than in society's eyes. I can't force people to listen, and I don't want to. People who want change will be open to it and those who aren't ready, won't. There is nothing we can do to help except for try without being forceful. Nobody wants that forceful preaching, including me. I'm grateful for compassion. I'm grateful for what I've been through and knowing that others are going through it right now and much worse and I am here to help if I can.
So, the Thing I Love this Thursday is gratitude. Gratitude lists if you will. Try it. What have you got to lose? I should add that I am grateful for all you readers out there. I bet there are amazing gratitude lists out there. From truly amazing people. Let's be truly truly grateful. Not just this month. But for every day.