Gratitude List 21/12/2018

I wish this story was fictional.

For me, the 21st is the day after payday and on more than a few occasions panned out something like this. I would start with confidence that today was going to be different. I was going to be sensible. Not being aware of the dishonesty, I would begin by searching pockets and handbags for any discarded money, this way I wouldn’t need to touch whatever money I had left from the day before. See… sensible. Excitement grew at the prospect of transforming this small pile of coins, not into a mountain of cash, but into several hours of my favourite pastime. I would leave the house with a skip and a jump and make my merry way to the nearest bookies with my pockets jingling. Seeing those keys still in the door was always a huge disappointment but eventually I’m in. My plans go out the window and I’m back out after 5 minutes because my patience couldn’t overcome the 8:32 at Lucksin Downs. My skipping and jumping now resembled a battle charge as I made my way back home to collect the debit card I swore I was not going to touch. Why couldn’t I just cut it into pieces? On my way back I told myself ‘it’s still ok, I can control this.’ After several trips of frantically running to and from the ATM looking like I’m fleeing from the Police I leave the bookies well before I had planned. Now there is no life in my legs as I stagger home resigned to a depressing day ahead. The thought of the consequences of my actions start to dawn on me. The bills? The lies? The harm? The…….. payday loan!! Yes, I’m back!

Today I am grateful my day hasn’t started like this. Absolute insanity. Today i am blessed. The fellowship, my sponsor, my greater power, service, diligent effort and the recovery program has given me my sanity back.

Not complaining

Gratitude List 20/12/2018

I really can’t complain. No matter how much my ego wants me to. Even my darkest days weren’t that bad, especially when I compare it to what others in the world have to go through.

Today I am grateful I do not live on the streets.

Today I am grateful I am not living in poverty.

Today I am grateful my life is not threatened by famine.

Today I am grateful for our extensive health service.

Today I am grateful I do not live in a country at war. There are many.

Today I am grateful I am not suffering with any serious health conditions. Physical or mental.

Today I am grateful I have a support network.

Today I am grateful I am not a victim of exploitation, oppression or dehumanisation.

Today I am grateful for my freedom.

Today I am grateful for my life. I have no idea when it will end.

At any unknown given moment, many of the above can change. I’m determined to stay grateful and appreciate what I have.

Found the lessons

Gratitude List 19/12/2018

With regards to a particular situation, I really do not want to be where I am. Within this situation I find myself in a management role, a role I don’t want. I already fully admitted my life was unmanageable when I was in control, yet here I find myself in control of a difficult set of circumstances, and I am doing a poor job. I honestly try to let go and let God but I always seem to get dragged back in one way or another.

Today I am grateful for this learning experience. It’s been difficult to do so, but I think I have found the lessons.

Today I am grateful my greater power has challenged me in this way. Maybe I’m the best person for this role.

Today I am grateful I have a greater power to turn to. I need His help more than ever with this. I have faith that through His will, in time this situation will improve.

Today I am grateful I have a place whereby I seem to have a strong connection with my greater power. I’ll be heading there regularly.

Today I am grateful that this could be a lesson in responsibility and a way of making amends to the people I’ve harmed the most.

Today I am grateful that despite the difficulty, I am still handling this better than I ever did before. I would have made this so much worse. I am progressing.


Dressed up regression

Gratitude List 18/12/2018

Progression – ‘the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state.’

The word progression is often used in recovery. It’s what I aim for.

Today I am grateful for what I have learnt about progression….

– ‘Progression not perfection’ is a common phrase and reminds me not to be harsh on myself when things don’t go as well as I hoped.

– It’s easy for me to use that same phrase as an excuse when in fact, if I am honest, I am actually regressing. ‘Regression not perfection’ doesn’t work!!

– Standing still or not developing is not progression.

– For me, ‘standing still’ and ‘not developing’ is dressed up regression. If I’m not slowly moving forward I am slowly and subtly moving backwards.

– Perfection will never be reached. That’s not a bad thing, it means there is no limit to my progression.

– When I reflect on my past, my progression is clear. One day at a time, it gives me hope for how much I could progress in the future.

– Progression requires consistent action.


Gratitude List 17/12/2018

Co-dependency. My serenity used to depend so much on the behaviours and actions of others. Accepting the things I cannot change, in particular people, has ironically changed that dependency for the better.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone being rude to me.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone expressing an opinion that opposes my own.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone’s success.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone not doing as I would.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone’s unhappiness.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone’s criticism.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by someone displaying defects.

Today I am grateful my serenity is less affected by how much someone likes me or how much they like what I do.

It isn’t always straightforward, some moments are tougher than others and sometimes my serenity dips significantly. But I am progressing in the right direction and will continue to do so if I put in the necessary action.


Gratitude List 16/12/2018

Two years ago, my reaction to being harmed would have been completely different. 24 hours on I would have still been reeling with resentment, I’d still be suffering with fear and I’d still be wallowing in self-pity. My defects of character would be running a mock and running the show too.

Thanks to the recovery program, 24 hours on I am in a much better place.

Today I am grateful:

– my resentment was over within minutes.

– a fear didn’t have time to manifest.

– like fear, self-pity didn’t have time to develop.

– I was able to forgive when I really didn’t want to.

– I saw my part and how I was to blame.

– I quickly gave up on trying to control the other.

– for my past and the lessons I have learnt.

– the relationship and our happiness hardly suffered.

– my strengths of character outfought my defects.

– that my willingness to let go and let God was strong. Stronger than my self-will.

– I only regret an hour of my behaviour and not 24.

The Promises

Gratitude List 14/12/2018

Not even two years ago I made two promises; to be willing to go to any lengths to stay clean and abstinent, and once I had been through the steps I would take others through them in exactly the same way.

Admittedly, the first one was a daunting prospect, I hadn’t ever gone to any lengths for anything…… or had I? Cunning, baffling, insidious comes to mind. Nevertheless, I signed up with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.

Today I am humbly grateful I did. As a result of doing so:

– I am amazed before I am half way through.

– I know a new freedom and a new happiness.

– I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

– I comprehend the word serenity and I know peace.

– No matter how far down the scale I had gone, I see how my experience can benefit others.

– That feeling of uselessness and self-pity is disappearing.

– I have lost interest in selfish things and gained interest in my fellows.

– Self-seeking is slipping away.

– My whole attitude and outlook upon life has changed.

– Fear of people and of economic insecurity is leaving me.

– I intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle me.

– I have suddenly realised that God is doing for me what I could not do for ourselves.

These are what the 12 step program promised me. Twelve promises, not two. Were these extravagant promises? I bloody thought so. Do I now? I know not. They are being fulfilled within me sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

They have always materialised if I worked for them.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Gratitude List 13/12/2018

Last night I was blessed to have been present (in more ways than one) at my daughter’s Christmas show. There were countless events in the past I either missed through an absent body or an absent mind. Today I am grateful for being ‘present’ during these absolutely priceless moments.

By being present I smiled throughout and was aware of it. I also saw the smiles on other’s faces.

By being present my mind didn’t wander once towards fear, resentment or dishonesty.

By being present I could hear my daughter’s voice as she sang ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ with two others.

By being present I could sense she was nervous, so gave her a gesture of encouragement and mouthed to her that I love her.

By being present I can remember exactly what she looked like, what she was wearing and how she had her hair.

By being present I wasn’t distracted and didn’t look at my phone once.

By being present I was overcome with love and pride.

By being present I was happy and serene. I was enjoying life.

By being present the memory is fixed in my mind. I can close my eyes now and feel what I was feeling, see what I was seeing, hear what I was hearing.

Missing less

Gratitude List 12/12/2018

There’s so much to life to enjoy.

When I was in action I missed so much.

When I was abstinent, it was better, but I still missed so much.

Whilst in recovery I am progressively missing less.

Today I am grateful I do not miss occasions like birthdays, weddings, Christmas and other celebrations – No more excuse for not turning up. If I did, no more excuses for why I had no card or gift.

Today I am grateful I’m not blind to the good in people – I used to be, and predominantly only saw the bad.

Today I am grateful I do not miss the opportunity to forgive and/or tell someone I love them – Resentment used to block me from doing so.

Today I am grateful I do not walk through nature without recognising its beauty – My head used to be either in the clouds or in my hands.

Today I am grateful I do not miss the lessons I can learn from criticism – ‘Don’t you know who I am’ used to be my arrogant motto.

Today I am grateful for my awareness of and my connection to my surroundings. I now feel part of – I used to feel alone.

Today I am grateful I do not miss the smiles on people’s faces, the laughter of children, the love between two people, the struggle of someone needing help – I used to be oblivious and numb to such simple emotions.

Today, as much as possible, I try to be grateful for each second of my day and for each breath I take. No more wasting time and no more wasting my breath.