At the beginning there was nothing but despair – a sense of hopelessness of never having a life I would really enjoy. Through all those years of struggling with life I was alone and afraid of the now and future. Recovery has provided me with a life I never imagined. I no longer struggle with life the way I use to in my past. It’s all about the gratitude for the things I have in my life today which keeps me from my own pits of despair.
Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic disease. Like all other diseases it’s primary goal is our death. “Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling and powerful (Big Book, Chapter 5 – How It Works, pg. 58-9).” Over time it gains control over our lives. It causes us to make decisions we normally would not make. Finally, at some point in our lives, we just can’t stop drinking. For many of use we are cast away into a pit of despair so deep we feel there is no way out. Hope is stripped from our vocabulary.
Today, we have found a new way to live without drinking – a concept so foreign at first and incomprehensible. Many of us have recovered from the mental, physical and spiritual maladies of alcoholism. The physical cravings and mental obsession of who, what, where and how we’re going to get the next drink is lifted. We begin to live a life we never dreamed. We have gratitude for the things we have in our lives.
For instance, I just began a new job at Wal-mart. At age 48, my alcoholic mind is saying, “Wal-mart? Really? You can do better than that!” Instead, I’m grateful just to have a job. Despite the long walk to and from work , the long hours on my feet, the back breaking work of picking up heavy boxes, stocking shelves and all the other things related to the job – I actually look forward to going to work.
I’m also grateful for some (yes, not all) of the people who I work with because they have reached out their hands when I need help. When my alcoholism is active I would be so selfish and self-centered asking for help was to demeaning for me to comprehend. Greeting people I don’t even know with “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” or “Have a good day!” were absent when I was drinking. I was so wrapped up in my own pity I despised someone saying such words in my presence. Already I’ve receive compliments from my bosses of my work ethic.
Lastly I’m grateful to have the opportunity of awareness of those things I must change. All these things are new to me. Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed. But today I know if I do the best I can, ask for help when I need it and practice gratitude throughout the day, it’s all not bad at all. In reality, the shift goes by quite quickly too!