Gratitude is a funny thing. Some days, being grateful is as natural as breathing. During these times, I walk through the world with a genuine sense of wonder at how everything can actually be this good.
Other days, gratitude is the furthest thing from my mind. Only pain, frustration, and resentment occupy my thoughts. These are times when I feel spiteful towards the people who tell me that gratitude is a choice, because it just feels impossible to appreciate anything. I get vexed that I can’t be grateful more often, and I ask myself: Why?
This past September I celebrated 3 years of sobriety. A lot of beautiful, unbelievable things have come together in my life over the course of these past several months!
Other things have fallen apart.
Back in September, 4 days after I celebrated 3 years sober, my relationship with my then-girlfriend came to an end. The aftermath of the breakup was a tumultuous but transformative experience. To make matters worse, I parted ways with my 12 step sponsor and had to find a completely new group of sober people to connect with.
I had to dig deep into myself – further than I have ever been before, in order to embrace the ugliest and most fear ridden parts of my life so that they can be healed.
The past few months have brought me some clarity in regards to the original question of, “Why can’t I just be more grateful?” In the weeks after my breakup, there was very little gratitude. When my old sponsor and I were not seeing eye to eye, there was no sense of appreciation in my heart.
Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m feeling grateful AF. Life is beautiful. So, how did I get from there to here? Is my state of mind just random happenstance, completely outside of my control? For me, the answer is yes, and no.
Some things I can’t control, and sometimes those things will be shitty. Events in life will knock me down, and when I’m down I don’t necessarily believe I have the strength to get back up. Those are the times when I tend to be ungrateful.
For me, the key to finding gratitude again has been effort.
I jumped head first into my faith, and became a leader in my Buddhist organization. I became bff’s with my therapist, who constantly reminds me to appreciate how much I’m worth. I do my 12 step program like it’s my fucking dream job and I get paid way too much for it.
I also found a new sponsor, who’s amazing! I stay connected with my people, and my days are filled with positive, life expanding experiences.
Right now I put a lot of emphasis on self care. In fact, I just switched on the essential oil diffuser in my room, so as I’m writing this the air smells like lavender.
At some level, I always have control of my own behaviors. Maybe I can’t always make an immediate choice to be grateful, but I can definitely make the choice to do something good for myself. Even if I don’t have the strength to stand up again on my own, I can ask someone else for help. I can choose to connect, rather than isolate. I can choose to be grateful to the extent that I can put effort in doing good for myself, right now. And if I consistently choose to do good for myself day after day, inevitably, I’ll find myself in that familiar place of gratitude again.
Today, I’m grateful for the amazing people in my life; all of my family, friends, and trusted mentors.
I’m grateful that the universe always wants the best for me.
I’m grateful for a life with infinite possibilities.
I’m grateful for my sobriety, which is the foundation for this amazing life.
I’m grateful for all of my experiences, which have taught me essential lessons and have made me stronger.
I’m grateful that for every door that closes, another one opens that’s even better than what I could have imagined! 😉