We hear so much about the attitude of gratitude in recovery that it can become cliché. Lose its meaning. Gratitude needs to be kept fresh in our spirits. Without gratitude, we suffer...sometimes to the point of relapse. So how can we keep our gratitude vibrant and alive?
We can start by reminding ourselves of exactly what gratitude is. Gratitude is actually comprised of several aspects. It is a feeling or emotion of thankfulness and appreciation. We can feel this emotion so strongly at times, that we might feel it physically as well. Gratitude might feel like a gentle breeze flowing through us. It might feel tingly on the tops of our heads or in our chests. Or it might feel like weights being lifted from you.
Another aspect of gratitude is action. It is one thing to say "I feel grateful". It is another to show gratitude. If we feel grateful to be clean and sober and living in recovery, we can show it by being of service. Welcome a newcomer, take a meeting to detox, set up and clean up, etc. If we feel grateful for a roof over our heads, we show it by keeping our place clean and organized. If we feel grateful for our friends, we show it by respecting and spending time with them. Gratitude without action can become cliché and meaningless rather quickly.
A third and especially powerful aspect of gratitude is its polarity to resentment. A spiritual axiom asserts that gratitude and resentment cannot coexist. Quite simply, if we are feeling grateful, we cannot feel resentful. And as we know, resentment can be a debilitating enemy to those of us in recovery. So if we are struggling with feeling grateful in various areas of our lives, we need to use our wisdom and our Source to discover who or what we resent. Once we find this, we need to immediately go to work at letting it go. Once we let go of resentments, our gratitude returns. And so does our serenity.
We can return to basics when we are struggling with gratitude. Feel grateful for breathing and clean water and food. We can write gratitude lists. If you don't feel sincere, keep writing...the sincerity will come. We can include gratitude statements in our prayers and meditation. We can talk to our loved ones about gratitude and show appreciation by thanking them for listening and sharing with us.
Or perhaps you just want to sit by a lake on a crisp, starry night and just be a molecule in the universe. Without even trying, gratitude will find you.