- So…What is Gratitude ?
- Why Practice Gratitude?
- How to Practice Gratitude
- Some Cool Things That Happened Right Away with Daily Gratitude
- 25 Things to Be Grateful for Every Single Day
- 1. Sobriety
- 2. A Smoke Free Life
- 3. Health
- 4. Running/Walking/Exercise
- 5. Mother Nature
- 6. The Past
- 7. Music
- 8. Movies – funny films, scary films, thrillers, drama, even porn…whatever floats your boat.
- 9. A Place to Stay
- 10. A Warm, Cozy Bed with blankets
- 11. Electricity
- 12. Running water, Hot water
- 13. Laptop/Computer/MP3 Player
- 14. Cell phone
- 15. The Internet… Google, the entire online communities
- 16. WordPress and the act of blogging
- 17. Some clothes to wear, preferably clean
- 18. A Job
- 19. Support Groups – e.g AA/NA/SMART Recovery
- 20. Friends
- 21. Family
- 22. Bosses
- 23. Money – Savings, Credit Cards, Good Debt, Investments
- 24. Places of Worship – Churches/Temples/Mosques
- 25. Community Centres & Libraries
- Bonus Items To Be Grateful for:
Gratitude is one of my favorite principles/practices in sobriety and recovery to practice, write and talk about.
Gratitude is one of the most consistent things I have done in my entire recovery journey, and definitely in all of my 3+ years of continuous sobriety. This practice has dramatically altered my perspective from everything was half empty and never good enough to a wow, things are not so bad
I discovered the practice in 2008, while in rehab, where I learned about it in one of our process groups. I clearly remember the day. For some reason, even though I was there only a few days and still foggy, I paid attention. The process group counselor suggested that we list out 5 things we are grateful for. She mentioned something about feeling it and how it could change the way we feel.
So right after the process group was done, I went to my room, got out my journal and wrote down 5 things I was grateful for that day – the fact that I was in rehab and not drinking, the fact that I was still in rehab and didn’t get kicked out, the fact that I was getting healthier each day, the fact that I had my own private room, that I could afford rehab paid by the health insurance I was under, the fact that I still had an apartment to return to after rehab, and that I had a job to return to after rehab. . Whenever I have stopped practicing gratitude, since I started doing it in 2008, I have eventually relapsed… Nowadays, I fear having a shitty day or week if I don’t practice gratitude. I know I become “restless, irritable and discontent”. Everything becomes inadequate – the world is not enough.
So…What is Gratitude ?
In my view, Gratitude is an appreciation for someone or something. This can be just a simple “Thank You” or a “oh how cool is that”. I am sure there are a ton of meanings for it, but this is the one that works for me, that has helped me change my perspective.
Why Practice Gratitude?
Well, for me, I noticed some immediate results in my mind and body. I basically felt better, a lot better, especially after visualizing how worse things could be if I didn’t have the things or experiences I was having. For example, that day in rehab, in 2008, I wondered what it would have been like if I wasn’t in there… I pictured myself still drinking alone, shaking, seizuring in my dark, terrifying apartment, with the curtains closed, no one calling, while the world and my life disappeared right in front of my eyes and I could not do a damn thing about it… Then I felt better, that I was at least in a safe space away from the booze, for the time being…
Here are a couple of articles that describe how it could affect one’s life and sobriety.
How to Practice Gratitude
- Write it down, every day – Either in the morning before your day starts or before the day closes.
I write my gratitude lists at night just before going to bed. This works for me because it allows me to recap my day and go through all the good/not so good things that happened or that exist in my life for that day. Sometimes I even write out the negative things, as somewhere down the line, through some retro/intro-spection process, I will get the lesson from the experience.
- Say it out loud – to people, to yourself, to the Sky – It is amazing how wonderful it sounds, especially when you feel it, and even when I am in a crappy mood. Saying thank you to strangers – waiters, bus and cab drivers, people who open doors, parents, siblings, friends, bosses, dogs, cats, birds, the rain, the sun, the trees… Simply saying thank you never ever hurts anyone. It is the coolest thing to say to someone. I have said it so many times since 2008 that it has become natural for me to say it, for which I am really Grateful. Of course, this doesn’t permanently remove negative feelings… I still feel all those and still get derailed sometimes, but I always have my gratitude list to return to…
- Do not expect anything in return. When I started saying thank you, I expected people to respond and when they didn’t, I would feel frustrated and it would affect my hour or day. I have since learned not to expect anything. Just say it and move on, though it’s easier said than done and I’m working on it.
- Check it out – Gratitude makes people happy. Next time you interact with someone, make it a point to say thank you at least twice in the conversation and watch them. Some people will smile and perhaps say “no problem” or “you’re welcome”. Some others, who are not used to hearing it, won’t say anything and look bewildered. People who are thanked want to do more naturally, for whatever reason. I think everyone wants to be appreciated for being here on earth.
If none of these work for you or you want to try other ways, check this great list of 25 ways of practicing gratitude
The amazing thing about Gratitude is that you don’t have to even believe in anything to be grateful. How cool is that ? – The Zed Writer
Some Cool Things That Happened Right Away with Daily Gratitude
- I became eager to write down the gratitude list each day, like a challenge almost – I remember when I first started writing gratitude lists, I would look forward to the day’s closing, to clock off one more day Sober and all the good stuff that happened that day and it made me feel good before going to bed…even though I was in rehab and my whole life was destroyed by my drinking/alcoholism, but for that one day, I was good…
- I became more aware of the good around me – I started to notice good things in people, places and situations
- I started feeling better generally
So, without further delay, here they are:
25 Things to Be Grateful for Every Single Day
I believe anyone who can read this blog post, can be grateful for the following. If not, look closer…
Sobriety is not exclusive to any one person or group of people. Anyone can have Sobriety, if you really want it and Everyone deserves sobriety. Even those that don’t have issues with alcohol.
When I was drinking, for 20+years, initially as a heavy binge drinker and then at the end as a chronic alcoholic, the idea of Sobriety was so bizarre. I thought it was ridiculous. I just wanted some of the negative consequences to stop, so I could continue drinking and have a grand old time. Alcoholism slowly robbed me of my Self – my passions, desires, needs, values. It happened very slowly and I was completely unaware, until the very end.
Sobriety has been an enormous Gift of Life. A genuine, raw perspective on Life that slowly unravels itself, through an upward Spiral – the exact opposite of alcoholism and addiction. Sobriety has brought me so much Life that I could never dreamed of having. I am writing in here, because of Sobriety. I am able to travel around the world and be completely aware and present for pretty much everything, because of Sobriety. I can wake up in morning and be Grateful that I slept well, that I don’t have to wonder when I am going to have another drink, smoke or when the next party is going to be or who was laying next to me. I can just appreciate the beautiful morning as it is, no matter whether it is raining or sunny or grey or whatever. I just know that I am Sober this morning and it is the most precious gift I have and the most affluent thing I have to protect and share with the world.
Sobriety has become my highest value and priority in Life. With this principle all else has unfolded and continues to unfold. So therefore it ranks up there as the most important thing that I can be grateful for, yet it is beyond a thing. Without Sobriety, I am nothing.
Through the lens of Sobriety, I know I have stepped into another dimension of Life and I am sure you can have this too, even if you were never an alcoholic or a heavy drinker. Sobriety is a letting go….
SO, how can you be grateful for sobriety ?
- List out the things you have because of sobriety – whether its Peace of mind, physical health, emotional health, Spiritual health, friends, family, a job, money, etc
- List out the things you could lose without sobriety – job, money, relationships,
- Now for each one, take a few moments, and imagine not having or having them. Really feel it. Let those emotions come up in your body – whether in your stomach, legs, chest or elsewhere
2. A Smoke Free Life
OK… Who can not be grateful to be smoke free ? I know, for all the smokers out there, this is hard to imagine…but think about it. How awesome would your life be if you were not smoking ?
I used to smoke… I quit smoking at the same time I quit drinking… Within weeks. First booze, then cigarettes. Yes, in the beginning it sucked but it got better and better and then I was like, holy smokes I have an extra lung and I ran 11 marathons…Seriously ! J
Yes, so, with a smoke free life, I no longer need to hustle out in the cold (or in the heat) to get a few drags, reeking of tobacco, feeling embarrassed in public, as every non-smoker quietly contempts you for lighting up in public and feeding them toxic second hand smoke, constantly wondering if you are smoking in a legal place, and if you are, then thinking about all the things you would say to anyone who challenges you…
Yes, all that drama is gone…with a Smoke Free Lifestyle.
In the last few years of my drinking, I was hospitalized over 40+ times… including a couple of psych wards and 13 detoxes… Yup… all because of alcoholism/addiction.
Since I’ve been Clean and Sober, I have not had to go to a hospital, detox center or a psych ward. Knock on wood. I have had a cold a few times in the last 3 years but that’s it…and I have travelled the world.
Besides being Sober and Smoke Free, reading and practicing Louis Hay’s affirmations has been tremendously helpful in getting to this state. Her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” was a massive game changer for me and till today, I continue to practice those in my journal.
What a gift it is to be able to walk, run or do other forms of exercise that allow our bodies to sweat and release physical and emotional toxins. This activity is one of the key activities that helped keep me sane and centered after getting sober.
5. Mother Nature
6. The Past
Aren’t you glad we don’t live in the era of legal slavery, where it was totally legal and encouraged to own human beings and trade them for money…
Aren’t you glad you are not a teenager or in high school anymore ? (if you are over 18 reading this of course)
8. Movies – funny films, scary films, thrillers, drama, even porn…whatever floats your boat.
9. A Place to Stay
10. A Warm, Cozy Bed with blankets
12. Running water, Hot water
13. Laptop/Computer/MP3 Player
14. Cell phone
15. The Internet… Google, the entire online communities
16. WordPress and the act of blogging
17. Some clothes to wear, preferably clean
18. A Job
Of course, having a job to pay bills, rent, etc
19. Support Groups – e.g AA/NA/SMART Recovery
Whether its 12-step meetings or other recovery groups or even non-recovery groups, like a running group, a writing group or any group of people engaged in a common, constructive purpose, where you, me and anyone else that has the willingness to attend and participate gets *something* out of it… And these are all *FREE* ! Imagine that.
I have had issues with all these groups in the past, but one thing is certain. They have all contributed one way or the other towards my well being, for which I am really Grateful. There have been times when I felt really shitty, ashamed & terrified of my past, petrified by the future, super lonely, depressed, and yet extremely reluctant and afraid to go back to drinking, that I would show up at a meeting and would feel better, even if I didn’t believe anything that was said or even if there were people that I really disliked. I recall on several occasions, my very presence in the company of other human beings, regardless of who they were, made me feel good. I was alive and ok for that hour or 2. And sometimes, I would hear something that would be relevant to what I was dealing with at the time.
23. Money – Savings, Credit Cards, Good Debt, Investments
24. Places of Worship – Churches/Temples/Mosques
25. Community Centres & Libraries
Bonus Items To Be Grateful for:
The Microsoft Word Blog Post template
So that I can create this blog post offline and have Word upload it whenever I am done and I don’t have to use the online WordPress editor and depend on an active internet connection and lose my work in case I don’t save it online… Yes, this happened today. So Thank you to Microsoft Word J
The city/town/village/other place we live in