Day 9 of 12 Days of Emotional Sobriety
One of the most powerful tools in your recovery toolkit is gratitude. It’s impossible to feel sorry for ourselves when we are being grateful. That does not mean dismissing real emotional pain. There are lots of things that are hard in life. Working these issues through is important to have a life worth living. But often, our ‘stinking thinking’ is what keeps us spinning our wheels. It’s the tendency to see the glass of life half-empty rather than half-full and becoming help-rejecting complainers. We become restless, irritable and discontent – primed for another drink. And trust me – no one likes being around us when we are like this.
Gratitude, much like happiness, is a state of mind. Cultivating gratitude is a good, intelligent habit in recovery. It gets us focussed on what we do have, rather than what we don’t. The neuroscience is very convincing on this topic. What we focus on is what we become. When we decide to stay connected to the small and large ways in which we are blessed, our lives improve. It’s an upward-moving spiral.
Tip for Today
Each evening through the holiday, make a list of 3 things you are grateful for. Make sure you create a unique list every time. This will allow you to stretch your reach to include more aspects of life than you may have thought about before. Take time with each item on your list to let it travel the long road from your head to your heart. See if you can let yourself experience gratitude in your body as well as your mind. Then practice ‘random acts of kindness’ with others so that you could (potentially) be one of the items on their gratitude list.
Don’t forget to share this with your friends and family who could benefit from 12 tips to keep you emotionally sober this holiday season. See you tomorrow for tip #10!