Gratitude is a powerful healing balm for tortured thinking and emotions. I know this from hard-won experience.

Prior to the start of my spiritual recovery in AA several years ago, I took all of my blessings for granted, either feeling entitled or oblivious to them. In the midst of my suffering from inadequately treated Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism, I was like a person with a toothache. Extremely focused on my pain, to the exclusion of nearly all that was good.

On top of that, my Bipolar/Addict mind had (and has) a natural propensity to zero in on the negatives and discount the positives.

Early in my spiritual recovery, my sponsor taught me to create and use a gratitude list. I found that once I wrote down everything for which I was grateful (from the granular like each breath to the macro like my children), and started praying thanks for these things to my Higher Power, there was a gradual but significant paradigm shift in my attitude and perspective.

Instead of pitying myself, I felt blessed by my Creator for all of the amazing aspects in and of my life and this world.

It has taken years of practice for gratitude to become my state of being. And it’s a bit disconcerting how quickly I can spiral out of it (if I don’t do my gratitude prayers consistently). But by the grace of God and my efforts, I am here.

And when I do slip out of “gratitude as a state of being,” I have the choice and the means to get back.


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