Finding the silver lining


Today I am filled with gratitude.  In fact, it’s my theme for today.  In the rooms it’s said that you cannot be in fear and gratitude at the same time, so today I choose gratitude.  I really have to be mindful though, because there is a lot going on in my life right now that scares me.  Staying in gratitude isn’t something that comes easily to me, I’m naturally a worrier.  But I have found that if I focus on the good things in my life, then my fears subside somewhat, and having them lurking around the corner is better than having them stare me in the face.

One of the first times that I used gratitude to combat fear was at the suggestion of my sponsor.  I was dealing  with some of the wreckage of my past, in a situation that I found scary because I didn’t know what was going to happen.  As I sat in a waiting room, I was filled with anxiety and worry and remorse.  In the middle of the shit storm of panic and fear, I called my sponsor.  As I poured out all of my worries and woes, I expected a little bit of sympathy and reassurance.  Instead, she told me to stop what I was doing and write down three things about the situation that I was grateful for.  What!?!  I wasn’t grateful for any of it!  It was a crappy situation, caused by a crappy alcoholic (me), and I couldn’t see anything good in it. But being the direction-following sponsee that I am, I said okay.  I sat there, while waiting to meet my fate, and thought about what I could possibly be thankful for.  It took a while but then it hit me –  things could’ve been a whole lot worse.  That’s something to be grateful for, right?  More thinking.  I was facing something that, in my drinking past, I would’ve avoided and hid from for as long as I could.  Two!!  The last thing on my gratitude list was easy:  I was grateful that I was sober that day.  As I sat there thinking about those three simple things, I felt better.  And the meeting that I was so dreading turned out alright.  Imagine that.

Today, when I make a gratitude list, the things I’m thankful for are much more evident to me.  I try to find something good even in the worst moments.  I’m not always successful at the time that I want to be, like last Friday, but in the end I’m sure to find something worth thanking God for.  Right now, amidst all of the upheaval I’m dealing with I am so very grateful for my friends.  I don’t have a lot of them, but the ones I have are exceptional.  I’m grateful that I have a job, even if I’m super stressed out with work.  I’m grateful that the days in which I experience joy outnumber the ones that I don’t.  And I’m grateful that on the bad days, I’m able to muddle through…sober.

8 thoughts on “Finding the silver lining

  1. I love grat posts and lists. I am a sucker for them. I don’t do them enough for myself, but before I close my eyes for the night, I have already thanked the Creator for things and so that’s my grat list in a way. But I agree what your sponsor suggested – and to add to it, it’s when we least feel like doing a grat list is most often when we need it most. I am exactly the same that way.

    Thank you for sharing this – brought a smile to my face.


    • Thanks Paul. What you said about finding gratitude when we least feel like it is exactly what I was talking about. That’s the time that I need it most. It’s still pretty difficult for me, becuase I tend to catastrophize things, but it’s getting better. I’m getting better. 🙂
      Thanks for the feedback.

  2. I’m big on gratitude but I’ve never thought to use it as a tool during a difficult situation like that. That’s probably one of the many things I’ve missed out on by not doing AA. 😉

    • Karen…
      you didn’t have to go to AA to get this tool, and I know several people that aren’t even in recovery that do this regularly…
      Give it a shot, it really does help turn things around!

  3. Gratitude lists are one of my favorite tools. I am involved in an on-line list, which really keeps me accountable to making one daily. But in the moment, when I really am having a hard time, THOSE are the lists that are the best. Digging deep to find something to be grateful for when things are not going my way is just what I need. When I do it things turn around. Even if I don’t come up with a lot of helpful gratitudes, there is something about the practice of doing them, of forcing myself to find the grace in the situation, that just makes it better, and often times makes me laugh right out loud. The laughter can diffuse the situation too, turning the pitiful to the absurd which I always prefer!
    I also find myself directing others to make a list when the negativity is flowing…..I usually get a thank you!
    Thanks for this blog….exploring a bit. Love your honesty and great attitude!

    • Isn’t is amazing that the simple act of finding something to be thankful for can completely change your perspective? I heard a woman in a meeting say that one time she attended a meeting where the topic was gratitude. When it was her turn to share she couldn’t think of anything to be grateful for. She looked around the room, and saw a bald man, so she quickly said that she was thankful that she had hair. Her comment got a lot of laughter, and she felt better. I’m sure in that case, the laughter was more healing than her gratitude, but whatever works, right?

      Thanks for checking out my blog. I really enjoy reading yours.


  4. Pingback: Healthy Habit #7 – A Month of Gratitude | Sober Grace

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