What is gratitude?
Gratitude is appreciating the benefits you have received. In Twelve Step recovery, gratitude is often referred to as a state of grace. It means being thankful for the good things that come your way. It also implies humility because it doesn’t come from an assumption that you deserve those things. Instead, gratitude reflects a humble appreciation simply for the good that has graced your life today.
Why is gratitude important to your recovery?
Gratitude is an antidote for many of the character defects you have learned about in treatment. Self-centeredness, denial, isolation, and living in the past dissolve in the face of a few grateful moments. Gratitude requires that you check your ego at the door.
Gratitude also reinforces the practice of taking a daily inventory. You can learn to be grateful with a little practice. Take a daily inventory of only the positive gifts you have been given each day. Force your inner cynic into silence and replace negativity with a litany of the positives—take the stance that the glass is always half full.
What are some reasons for gratitude?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m grateful that I’m an alcoholic?” This statement acknowledges that recovery from addiction leads to a life of restored integrity and vitality. You can be grateful that you have been given the gift of a design for living in the form of the Twelve Step program. What you have found is so much more than a way to stay sober. It is a way to greater spiritual growth and meaning in life.
The fellowship that comes along with the Twelve Steps is another gift, one of friendship and new connections. Within the program, you have also found forgiveness, a sense of belonging, and hope. You have the chance to clear distorted thinking and gain self-knowledge. And the gift of making amends means you can let go of the past and live well today.
Recovery Action Step
1. List some things or people in your life that you can be grateful for.
2. Write down a few ways you can express your gratitude.
Discuss them with your sponsor, or talk with others in recovery for more ideas.
Why is it important to tell your story?
Storytelling the AA way involves three stages: what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. The purpose of this structure is simple: it gives others in the fellowship a look at what you are grateful for today. The story of what it was like grounds us in Step One and reminds us of the insanity and unmanageability. The story of what happened in the past is key to understanding the gifts you enjoy in the present.
I am grateful that I found a program in AA that could keep me sober. I’m grateful that AA has shown me the way to faith in a Higher Power, because the renewing of that faith has changed my way of life. And I’ve found a happiness and contentment that I had forgotten existed. As long as I stay grateful, I’ll stay sober.
Am I in a grateful state of mind?