We asked these clean and sober individuals with various lengths of recovery time how they remain grateful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BY PAULO MURILLO
A STEP BACK
“Although being grateful can be difficult during these times, I am grateful for a lot of things. I was diagnosed with HIV back in 2018 as a result of my behavior while using, but I’m grateful for my meds, that I’m able to get them during this time and that I’m relatively healthy. I am grateful for the fact that it has allowed me to take a step back and stay in place and focus. I’m definitely able to do more things now that I’m sober. When I was using, it was like being in quarantine. There were things that I aspired to be or do and the drugs and alcohol always came first and I never got anything done. COVID has put into perspective the little things like having a roof over my head, having friends I can talk to and knowing at a certain point of day I might be able to help somebody else out. I just do my best to put gratitude into action.”
—Danny Suazo, sober since March 1, 2019.
DOING THE WORK
“I stay grateful by knowing that without sobriety, I don’t have anything else. I remember to be grateful, especially in light of the circumstances of the pandemic, when I see the amount of homeless people on the street. When I realize I have enough to pay for the roof over my head and cover my necessities like food and clothing, it really puts things into perspective. All my essential needs are met and I’m grateful for that. I don’t do it perfectly. I had a brief relapse over a hundred days ago. It was definitely not an enjoyable experience. I felt disconnected. Although it was only two days that I was out, it was the reset I needed to get into action, get back into the Program and start doing the work. I know I can’t do this on my own. When I practice gratitude, everything seems to work out.”
—Kevin McMahon, sober since May 3, 2020.
“The first thing I do every morning is I write a gratitude list and I send it to a handful of people. It gives me perspective of where I am and where I was in the past. That gives me a lot of gratitude. I’m reminded I wouldn’t have this life today if I didn’t put my recovery first. I have gratitude for the things that I have and more importantly that I’m rounded and of sound body and mind. I have a great connection with my Higher Power and an amazing connection with all of my friends. It’s challenging to stay grateful during COVID. The lack of physical meetings have definitely taken a toll, but I have found that if you’re home and alone and you’re bored, it’s not that you’re bored, it’s that you can’t handle being alone. That’s a tough one, because a lot of us are home alone with our thoughts, which could perpetuate the craziness that addicts have. I try to stay connected to people and stay grateful for the life I have.”
-Jany Molina, sober since March 22, 2014.
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