Peace and gratitude are intertwined.

I can still recall, as though it were yesterday, complaining bitterly to my early sponsor that nothing seemed to be changing in my life.  I was still filled with anxiety.  I was still obsessed with what others might be thinking of me.  I was still doubting that I’d ever feel like so many of my new companions seemed to feel. Getting up every morning felt like a chore.  I was just plain scared.  I didn’t want to drink but I didn’t know how to live in my skin.  And she had the gall to say, “When did you last write a gratitude list?”

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to begin one.  I was a slow learner, a very slow learner.  My slowness was partly due to not wanting others to know that I didn’t get “the finer points” of the program, thus asking questions was a no-no.  So many had gone to treatment and they all seemed to have an inside track on how this “new life” was done.  I got sober on meetings.  Not treatment.  And I often felt in the dark.

Gratitude was a word that seldom crossed my lips.  I heard others talk about their lists at meetings.  Many claimed to have a running list that they added to every night.  Many even reread the list every morning to set their mind for the day. Fortunately, at one of the meetings, we went around the room and mentioned things we were grateful for.  I got a glimmering then of what I had been missing.

There were many experiences that were gifts that had nearly gone unnoticed by me.  Many “near-misses” had been occurring all my life.  I just hadn’t seen those saves as representative of the hand of my Higher Power.  Indeed, I did have a lot to be grateful for.  Always had had.  I just hadn’t known how to read the signs.

I began my own daily list from then on.  I still take note of the things I have to be grateful for all these many years later.  I don’t always write them down but I do think about them and treasure them and every recollection gives me a deep sign of relief.  God is always working on my behalf.  God was always there and will remain so.  And peace is the by-product.  I am comforted by that belief. Aren’t you?

When was the last time you made a gratitude list?  Would today be a good day to start a fresh one?  And what you learn from this experience you might pass on to others.  Peace is in short supply these days.

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