I am Grateful, Thank-you

I remember being at meetings early in recovery and people said that they were grateful to be there, grateful for their disease, grateful that they got to be in recovery. I didn’t get it. I wanted to slap them up the side of the head to knock some sense into them. I sure couldn’t find anything to be grateful about! I had basically sentenced myself to a life of boredom and gloom. Yes, the party was over. But I really didn’t want it to stop.

Flash forward a year and my group asked me what I would like engraved on my first year medallion. Without hesitating, I said ‘Gratitude’. Now I was the face that some new guy wanted to slap. So what changed?

My attitude.

The process of going through the twelve steps of recovery changed me. I saw that everything in my past was just part of a larger puzzle that ended with me finding myself and resetting my personality to someone that I could look in the mirror and say that I liked. It was my disease that brought me to the point where I was finally able to learn some tough lessons about life. By doing the inventory and making amends, I now had a base; I knew who I was and could work from there. After all, when you hit bottom, things can only get better.

One of the best things that my sponsor shared with me is this:

“There is no room for resentment, anger or fear in a heart that is full of gratitude.”

If I live with gratitude I am out of myself. I see what has been done by others. I know that alone, I couldn’t have risen above that lowest sense of self where I found myself the morning before my first meeting. At first I was grateful that I could make it 24 hours without, then I was grateful that I could make it for 24 hours without thinking about it. Gradually I became grateful for what I still had and for what I was being given. Like the heart of the Grinch at Christmas, my sense of thankfulness grew to where I could say I am grateful that I have the disease of addiction because it has brought me to where i am today.

I speak gratitude daily. I write it in my journal. When I am feeling low, I make gratitude lists.  I even make them when I am feeling wonderful! I like going to gratitude meetings. I like to find things to be grateful for when I am alone and with friends. I do it because it really works for me. When my heart is in that place, the troubles I think I have vanish. My need to be ‘right’ doesn’t seem as important. And I know that tomorrow will work out fine because I can look in the mirror and see that in spite of everything I did in the past, I am still here, carefully looked over by my Higher Power.

To my friend from the USA and everyone, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Gratitude isn’t for the month of November or a single day; it is too wonderful for just a day. I give thanks everyday!  Gracias, Amén!

Mother's Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Mother’s Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Perseverance

The person standing on the mountain top did not get there by falling…Neale Donald Walsch

Getting to the top of the ladder of success involves actually climbing the ladder.  I can’t get where I want to go just by sitting down and watching Netflix or surfing Facebook.  I don’t know how many self-help books I have read, but there are many I never finished reading and even less that I applied to my life. I see that I am pretty good at starting, but my follow through leaves a lot to be desired. Buying a gym membership alone won’t get me into shape: I have to do the work to get the results.

A dream is just a dream unless it is followed up by action. How many people seeing a Jackson Pollock canvas say, “I could’ve done that!” And they could have, but they didn’t. I need to work my dream for it to become a reality.  How does an artist become an artist? By working at his art. Perhaps some of us are born with innate abilities.  Perhaps all of us are born with great abilities and we just haven’t discovered them or we are lacking in the confidence to develop them. The point is, if I don’t act, if I don’t move, I am not going anywhere. And yes, we do fall as we go up the mountain, but we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again!

To get to the top of the mountain is, as they say, 10% inspiration and 90% percent perspiration.  I have to keep telling myself this over and over again.  Why? Because I have this entitled belief that it should just fall into my hands and if it doesn’t, then I am not worthy of it. I don’t believe the Universe/God/Source works that way. I have to keep reminding myself that my faith in a Higher Power can move mountains, but it is up to me to bring a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

Falling as you go up the mountain of whatever you define as success is just part of the process of getting to where you want to be. But it doesn’t have to signal the end of the journey. I have to persevere and persist in my quest to get to where I want to go and keep faith that I will eventually get there. I need to do the work and give myself a kick when I don’t.

I want to be a writer so I have to write…a lot! The words don’t just magically appear on the page (or screen). I have to plan, organize and think through. There’s one workshop I took that basically said that everyone’s first book is crap, so write it and get it out of the way so you can move onto the next one. Those are really difficult words to digest to someone who is a perfectionist. But they are probably true. Yes, it may happen, there are prodigies in every field. I don’t count on me being one of them. I need to take action to move forward toward my goal.

Enjoy this cute Youtube video, and then get to it!  Diana Krall: Pick Yourself Up

Success from Failure

It’s not our successes that matter. Rather it’s our failures: here is where we grow.

I don’t remember where I heard this first or who said it, but it hit a chord with me. Fear of failure often stops me from embarking on projects or setting goals because, well, I might fail. However, it is in the act of recovering from failure that I learn and grow. I see that walking the smooth path to get to a destination is all well and good. I can check out the sites along the way. And it’s all nice and good when I arrive at my destination, but I haven’t learned anything.

I’ve aged, but I haven’t grown.

Ask yourself the question: which vacation do you talk about the most? Is it the one where everything went completely as planned or the one where everything went wrong? It’s the unplanned events that happen in a vacation that make it memorable: the trip to the local emergency ward, the flat tire in the middle of a river, even the visit to the police station to report a robbery. It’s the out of the ordinary things, the unpredictable, the ‘failures’ that give us the stories of our lives.

In failing, I learn. By falling I learn how to get back up again. By being road blocked, I seek another way around. This is where the growth happens. By learning what doesn’t work I am one step closer to learning what does work. And once I have learned what does work, I don’t have to repeat the lesson the next time I am passing through a similar situation. I can learn from my missteps and mistakes. I am a different person from when I started out.

It’s still a struggle for me. I don’t want to fail. I don’t like to fail. Sometimes I don’t even attempt things because I fear I might fail. That’s the perfectionist in me coming out. So I push myself to try new things, to go new places and meet new people. I am not satisfied in maintaining the status quo: I want to move forward. And part of that includes trying things that don’t or won’t work.  So I am working on changing my perception of failure, one day at a time, one step at a time.

Actor Will Smith gives us his take on Failure in the following video: Fail Forward