Understanding An Attitude Of Gratitude In A New Year

Dr. Purushothaman
October 3, 2013

Would not it be nice to have the feeling of gratitude twenty-four hours a day? Not just the idea or thought, but that feeling of gratitude that makes so many burdens easier to face. Unfortunately, we tend to evaluate others and ourselves continually in our search for better things, better places, and better people. We have these human tendencies. Maybe being human has something to do with it? We think comparatively.

We need to be aware non-value and negative things in order to be aware of and have feelings about what we do have. In this way we might use the knowledge and experience of out past mistakes and ordeals to easily become aware of how much, even if seemingly small, our present lives in recovery gives us and others and contributes to a better world all around. A question someone once asked me, and I try to use it as much as possible is “What could be a greater problem for you to deal with than the one you presently have?” I find this to be a very helpful way of getting rational self-acceptance leading to gratitude and appreciation for what I do have today including the problems of today. There will always be problems so long as we exist. But the awareness and appreciation of our problems means we must acknowledge that they could always be worse and more painful.

Not only did we make a decision not to die when we chose recovery; but we also made a decision to live. That decision was gratitude toward life. With that came the realization that we must live differently than we had in the past because when were in our past lifestyles and beliefs we needed to have drugs to accept living.

Today we learn to live life differently and are willing to accept new healthier methods by which to live. At the beginning stage of this change we had a very basic, very real appreciation of being alive. It seemed as if every little positive thing from breathing, to food, to shelter, to friends, on upward was a big bonus. That was gratitude. We had a feeling of value about things. We express this feeling of appreciation toward what we have many ways. Appreciation is to praise—to value. That infers that we must be aware of, and perceive value actively. To not see value in our lives and others means we are becoming apathetic toward life.

If life means a constant motion of events and activity, then I see gratitude as an action word; a way of being aware of the positive. A way of having hope and faith in our futures even today and tomorrow.

To recognize and appreciate value (gratitude) is to arm ourselves daily against apathy and procrastination. Gratitude toward life does not mean have no emotion about things and postpone everything. We made that decision when we chose to stop dying and learn how to start living. We have so many positive resources and friends available to us and experience has shown this. We need only maintain our decision to live and keep active gratitude alive.

It is like a magic shield when we have it and can help us through even the worst of problems. Where it may be a luxury to non-addicts, it is a lifeline for us. It is what enabled us to begin our journey into living without the use of drugs.

This is a New Year now and many of our old beliefs and ideas had us think that somehow our lives can suddenly change because of a calendar date. But we have learned in our new beliefs, our living beliefs, that everyday is a new beginning. Any time of the year is a time to change if we so choose. In this way I believe we have much advantages over other people who seem to believe that January means it is time (and the only time) they must set goals and expectations unto themselves. We know differently. We know that with goals comes the responsibility of being realistic. Getting feedback from friends we respect.

We have learned that expectations can be quite dangerous. So we are careful when we have them. We know that perfectionism leads us away from self-acceptance and honesty. Through our fellowship we have come to have a better more refined understanding of personal progress. We respect progress that is honest and real. In thinking of our plans, hopes and dreams for another year we have the strength of the fellowship on a daily basis. We addicts, of all people know that change and growth are a matter to be dealt with minute by minute, day by day. For that we are very aware and strengthened by our patience, perseverance and reverence for choosing to live. We go into a New Year with faith, strength and hope. We try to welcome a continuing practice of change and progress toward self-betterment. Our faith and hope toward the future is made strong by our achievements yesterday. Just for today we go into another year armed with gratitude faith and hope. Each of us as individuals within the fellowship has our own personal journeys to make, but with the group we can find support and guidance. Go well and alive.

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