With Thanksgiving in mind, we asked a few local sober folks with various lengths of sobriety, why staying grateful is an important part of their recovery.
BY PAULO MURILLO
“It’s important to be grateful. I’ve been doing this for 26 years and it’s the first time I ever reached a year and it is exciting because I feel like I have a life now. I’m also very grateful for L.A. recovery because there are so many different options. Los Angeles is a great place to get sober. We have so many different fellowships all over town, and a great mixture of people with shares from all over the world. I’m grateful that I don’t have to live in the way I used to live. Before, I was never really grateful for anything. I was just getting by. Today, I’m happy again.”
—Trey Savario, sober since October, 2014.
Keeps Me Humble
“Gratitude keeps me humble. I don’t take things for granted today and I count all the blessings I have in my life, because they can be easily be taken away, so I appreciate every little thing I have, which reminds me of when I had nothing. Before recovery, I had nothing to be grateful for. I didn’t really have much in the realm of true friendships in my life. I didn’t have people I trusted, or that trusted me. I didn’t have self-respect. I remind myself on a daily basis of God’s given gifts and to be grateful for them.”
—AJ Brody, sober since March 2009.
“Gratitude is especially important in recovery. I remind myself to be grateful when I’m crazy, which is pretty often. That’s when I write a gratitude list and I also remind other people who are acting crazy around me—I ask them how they’re doing and I tell them about writing a gratitude list, because it’s not just for sober people. I did not think of gratitude in the same way before I got sober. Gratitude really means so much more to me now than it ever has before. Today I have a lot to be grateful for.”
—Michelle A. Enfield, sober since August, 2007.
Balance Things Out
“Gratitude is important in recovery because without it, I tend to fall into thinking of myself as a victim, which can lead to my desire to use and medicate and escape from my reality. Life is full of difficulties and you don’t get what you expect, so it’s very easy to fall prey to old kinds of thinking. Gratitude is what keeps that from happening. I have a lot of little things that I can be grateful for. When you remind yourself of the good things you have in your life, you can balance things out.” Gratitude is like a lifeline for me.
—John King, sober since April, 2006.
What I Have
“Gratitude keeps me grounded. It keeps me attached to what is important on a day-to-day basis and it reminds me to look at things from the aspect of the glass being half-full. Before I got sober I would often look at things with a negative spin and worst case scenario, instead of being a little more positive and being happier with what I have, versus what I want. Life doesn’t stop happening just because I’m sober, but today life is good and I’m at peace.
—Mark O’Neil, sober since June 2008.
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