22 May 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude


My sponsor used to introduce himself at meetings with the closing, “Hi I’m —-, and I’m a grateful alcoholic.” It took me awhile to realize why he said it and why it was important. For me, the first thing I was grateful for was a second chance. Well, actually it was a third chance. It was a gift I threw away numerous times, but that “one more chance” I’ll be forever grateful.

But besides that second chance, I learned how to appreciate how spiritual we all are. I love an old saying that goes, “We are not human beings, with occasional spiritual experiences, but rather we are spiritual beings, with occasional human experiences.”

As a spiritual being I need to constantly search for the gifts my Higher Power has bestowed upon me. An example is my writing. When I drank and did drugs I had no use for writing. Yeah, in my fantasy world for some unknown reason I dreamed of becoming a world known author. But I never had a plan to make it a reality.
But when I started my recovery, I did pick up a pen and began journaling. Over the course of my first two years of sobriety I had filled 18 - 3″ binders with my writings. And to this day, I still have all these doodlings and thoughts of mine at that time. In fact, one of those binders was the premise for my second book War Zone, Backing Out of Hell.

But then, my Higher Power told me to expand those writings and I began writing poetry. And what was amazing was the amount of people who paid me compliments for these poetic verses. I sent them to different publications and some were published and the dreams my Higher Power had for me began to take shape.

The turning point though was when I began reading poems for friends and family at funerals. By the end of those poems, I’d look out at the mourning family and see them openly weeping. My verses had touched their hearts.

From there… I guess you can say is history. I share this story of watching my dreams come true because now I am so grateful to watch the dreams of other newcomers come to life. Years ago I met a young man (early 20s) trying to turn the corner. I judged him by his looks. He had coke bottle type glasses and after a month of clean time, he was ear to ear grin because he began drawing again. I thought this guy could barely see - how could he possibly draw something?

A couple of weeks later he brought some of his drawings to a meeting and I was in shock. They were beautiful works of art. I learned a lesson that day about judging others by their looks. Now when I see a newcomer, not only do I pray for their long term sobriety, but I wait with excitement to see what dreams come to life for them.
The latest one for me was a veteran who hadn’t picked up his guitar in many years. A couple of months into his sobriety he began to make his guitar sing again. Yeah, we are spiritual beings waiting to come back to life… and Creating Dreams.

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