Thanksgiving Gratitude List

Years ago, in early recovery, when I was in the midst of feeling sorry for myself because something didn’t go exactly as I had planned or because I was having a hard time finding work or a date, I got on this negative track–The “pity pot” as many in recovery refer to it.

It wasn’t just an internal state, I wanted to share my negativity with the world. I wanted a “pity party.”

I wasn’t thinking about drinking, I was just unhappy. I wanted more. But then again, I didn’t know what I wanted. Needless to say, I was a bundle of raw, unbridled emotions, mostly about me; selfishness and self-centeredness is a common condition of many addicts and alcoholics. I was no different, but I thought I was. After all I had six months of sobriety I shouldn’t be feeling like this right?

I felt like I was like being in a deep pit with muddy walls. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get out of that pit of despair. I called my sponsor to whine. He asked me point blank, have you written a “gratitude list”?

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Do you have a roof over your head? A job? Are you sober?”

I nodded and grunted, “Yes.”

He continued, “Then you have a lot to be grateful for. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down all the things you are grateful for. Then go help someone else.”

I did as he suggested and it worked.I got out of my funk.

As I wrote, my attitude began to shift. Instead of thinking about all that I didn’t have, I began to become grateful for all that I did have.

Why am I writing about this? Because the holidays are a time of joy for many, but for some, they are a time of strained nerves.

On the eve of Thanksgiving I desperately want to feel more grateful than I do. Yet I am consumed by negativity. I long for joy; for the company of family over a delicious meal. Instead, I’m consumed by thoughts of all I want to have, be, and do race through my head. So much to do, so little time. Why is there so much chaos in the world around me? I want to retire, but I don’t have enough set aside to____.

My mental pit of negativity could go on and on if I want to keep digging.

Someone once asked rhetorically, “How do you get out of a hole? Stop digging.”

Therefore, I’m going to stop digging and write a gratitude list.

If you’re reading this, I hope you find it helpful.

I’m grateful for…

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Love
  • Sobriety
  • More money than month
  • A fuel efficient car
  • Health
  • Intellect
  • The ability to complete a full sentence
  • The ability to take care of myself
  • Eyes to see
  • Ears to hear
  • Nose to smell
  • Body to feel
  • A wife who loves me
  • Love of my wife, kids, friends and family
  • People who care
  • TP for morning movement
  • Running water
  •  A hot shower on a cold fall day
  • Electricity
  • A home in a quiet, clean neighborhood
  • Education
  • Good bosses
  • Gainful employment
  • Opportunity
  • Faith
  • Compassion
  • Determination
  • Willingness to laugh at myself
  • Warm socks
  • A down comforter
  • Good coffee
  • An I phone to listen to music while I write
  • Generosity
  • Ability to cook
  • Willingness to admit my faults
  • Vulnerability
  • Willingness to learn
  • Insatiable curiosity
  • Ability to read
  • College educated
  • Successful
  • Caring
  • Soul
  • Faith
  • Courage
  • Hope
  • and so, much more…

I feel better already.

In 2013 , I was fortunate enough to visit the actual landing spot of the Pilgims in the town of Plymouth. The featured image is the actual Plymouth rock. Below is a bit of the history and part of why we celebrate thanksgiving.


Be safe and let your family know you love them.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

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