I’ve been meaning to begin a daily gratitude practice. You know, writing things down every day to get my head straight and opened up for whatever the day brings. And, as my friend Kelly puts it: build up the gratitude muscles so they are automatic when bad shit happens.
But I haven’t done it. Maybe once a week I’ll write a list. Or think about the good things. I sometimes force myself to think about the incredible unlikeliness that I got born, let alone the many days that I’ve gotten to live post cancer 8 years ago.
But then I think that my gratitude lists are too grand and broad. I need to get more specific. Treasure the little stuff, too. Then I get tired and give up. There are just too many small good things in my life – in life, period – to write them out every day.
This is my first world gratitude practice problem.
But today I want to go public with my thanksgiving, because this week will mark my second holiday season sober. And I am amazed that I am here. Now. Still sober. Not worried about the in-law family dinner tomorrow. Whoa.
The last year and a half sober has taught me some things that I’m grateful for:
1) I’m still an escape artist. My recovery from escaping has really only just begun. But I’m excited to tackle it, free from the bonds of alcohol addiction and diet mentality, but recognizing I’m still in a prison of easy boredom and fear of nothingness. And the prison of my fragile ego. Work has become an active battleground against my lesser self- my reactive, easily knocked-down ego fueled– yet also commandeering– self. Stupid sobriety has lifted some veils that I’m only starting to peek through.
2) My friendships and family interactions have started to feel normal again, for better or worse. Everyone is used to my sobriety now (or possibly only I am used to it now), and no one is suggesting I drink again. Go figure. So I am grateful I made the decision to quit, likely just a few seconds before someone forced me to.
3) My husband and I know each other better now. We see each other and sometimes even listen to each other. And remember things. And remark on kindnesses. And I feel safe and loved in a way that I never have before. Way more than when we met and got married. I am starting to understand why people choose to partner up for life. This is going to sound gross, but I’ve started to feel like my husband is like my sister. Or lifelong friend. It’s that “I have to tell you this thing or I’ll burst” feeling. I’ve never trusted a man with that part of me. I don’t know if it’s something special about my particular relationship or husband, or if getting sober changed me – gave me the willingness to trust and open up. But it’s a new thing and I’m grateful for it.
That’s it. That’s my second Thanksgiving gratitude list. Kelly would be proud.