The feeling of gratitude.
I immediately felt that my first week being sober because I was not in prison and was in my third and final rehab center.
I was looking at up to ten years in prison so I was very graterful for the opportunity at freedom. I’d love to say that I practice gratitude perfectly every day but that’s just not the truth. I often forget where my addiction took me (usually not for long) and I start to get hungry for “more”. Nothing wrong with wanting more of life or more of yourself. But when I fall into this and lose sight of gratitude, it usually doesn’t work out well for me.
First couple of years of my recovery I had so many milestones and things to be grateful for. Each new month sober was a big deal, getting a job with a felony arrest record was a big deal, having a place to live and paying my own rent was a big deal, paying off sur charges and getting my license back was a big deal.
Showing up to probation office visits without having to sneak in fake pee because I was dirty was a big deal. It just felt so good to be able to walk into a probation office meeting and knew that I would be walking out of there without handcuffs. Showing up to family events and not asking for money was a big deal, not having to wear long sleeves in the summer because of track marks was a big deal, getting pulled over and just getting a regular speeding ticket and not have to worry about warrants was a big deal.
I could probably go on and on and about all these and many more things I would wake up grateful for. But most importantly, I was loving the person I spend all day with: AKA me.
I was learning to like myself and no longer poisioning myself just to numb out. I learned how to have a healthy relationship with my creator and myself. And to top it off, I got to help people, like SERIOUSLY my crazy near death and negative experiences served a purpose at this detox center where I would volunteer at every Sunday. My mentor assigned me the task of taking a twelve step meeting to the detox center. It would feel me up with so much joy to know that my past was serving a purpose by catching these guys attention and offering them hope that, I too, was where they were and was able to find a way out. And all they had to do was ask me how- the same way I asked my mentor to show me.
I then started to sponsor these guys which initially freaked me out and I would ask my mentor, “YO how do I help these guys” and he would simply respond with “do what we did in the step work” and bam! Just like that I started to walk new comers through the twelve steps and it took my gratitude to a whole new level.
Not only that but after about a year of this service commitment, the treatment center said they were hiring and said I was pretty reliable (I was still getting used to the idea of someone thinking that about me) and asked me if I wanted a job. I was working at a coffee shop at the time, so I said SURE!
That was almost nine years ago and what I used to do for free literally became my career. In my opinion, God saw my passion for helping people so he made it possible for me do it on a greater scale and do it almost full time.
I love to tell that story but I hope no one walks away from this reading feeling that you need to work in the addiction field in order to be sober because that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My mentor used to work in the field but wasn’t too fond of it so he left, and he’s still sober and lives a kick ass life. And soooo many other peole who live a life of recovery.
This is just my story of where gratitude brought me. Gratitude has brought me to a place that, even when I have bad days or months, I still rest on the gift of not having to shove a needle in my arm in order to escape and for that I will be forever grateful.
The feeling of gratitude.