Every time I get all twisted up inside (and it does happen much more than people may think) I do exactly what I was taught to do…..call my sponsor. Of course after working with him for almost six years, I pretty much know what he’s going to tell me before he opens up his mouth..LOL. Like a child being told to do something they want to do, I huff and puff and bitch about it, but at the end of the day, I know what he’s telling me is right (which makes me huff and puff more…LOL)
“I think you need to make a gratitude list.” That’s what he’ll tell me nine out of ten times. For those who don’t know what that is, allow me to explain. As human beings, we have a tendency to get all wrapped up in things we can’t control. Things in our personal lives, things in our jobs, things with family and friends. In spite of the fact that we can’t control them, we lose our train of thought and allow those uncontrollable things to consume us. We forget about the good things in our lives. A gratitude list is a list of things you’re grateful for. The purpose of making one, is when you are all twisted up inside and bitching about things that are going on in your life that you can’t control, you make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. No matter how big or small the things are, you list them. When you look at it, you realize that you have a lot more to be grateful for than you thought. In addition, it gets your mind off the things that you can’t control because you have to sit and think about it.
In the beginning, making such a list was difficult for me. I usually could only think of a handful of things I was grateful for. Over the years, the list has grown and continues to grow. Usually the things that are on the top of my list are:
1. My sobriety, 2. My Wife, 3. My sponsor, 4. My Higher power, 5. My classes, 6. My children / grandchildren……
The list goes on and on. There have been several times over the years that I’ve made one of these lists without my sponsor having to tell me so. It’s become a very healthy habit. When you see all the things you have to be grateful for, you realize the other problems aren’t so devastating.
You don’t have to be an alcoholic / addict to do one of these lists. Anyone who is all twisted up inside and needs a look in a different direction can do it. It’s definitely a way to get your mind off all the negativity and gives you a better in-site on the positive things in your life. It’s been my experience that when you hold on to nothing but negativity, you literally become a negative person on a regular basis. If you can’t see the positive things in your life, how are you supposed to move forward? Constant negative thinking will sink you lower and lower and put you in a very dark place. By making a gratitude list, you SEE with your own eyes what you have to not only be grateful for, but to strive for.
It may seem like a stupid thing to do, believe me, I thought it was in the beginning of my own recovery. I didn’t want to do it for just that reason. But I did it any way because my sponsor told me to. Since that time it has become second nature to me and it really does help.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist.