Gratitude list

29 08 2009

In January of 1977, I was struggling to break free from an alcohol and drug addiction. I began going to AA meetings and I asked a lady who had been sober for six years (consecutively!!!!) to be my AA sponsor. She was vital to my getting clean and sober. She had done it and her life looked pretty serene and functional to me. I, on the other hand, was living in a cottage that was so old and decrepit that the ground beneath it had settled and the foundation leaned. If you were to place a marble on the floor in one corner of the living room it would roll across the floor to the opposite side and land with a soft thump against the floor board. I discovered this by using a beer can. Apparently I had lost all my marbles by this time. My sink had dirty dishes piled high for weeks at a time and whenever I decided to wash a dish (usually because I was out of clean ones) I would find mold on them. I had no money for curtains and so I linked beer can pop tops together and hung them in strings from my windows. Wine bottles lined the walls because I thought they were pretty. Some how, I had acquired eight cats, all with fleas. This was a sad way to live but sadder still is the fact that I had a little girl living in this mess with me. I was on welfare and food stamps and my rent was paid with a section 8. My Mom had given me her car and it sat under the pine trees in my yard because I was too afraid to learn how to drive it.

The further away from a drink and a drug I was getting, the more observant I became of my surroundings. It was overwhelming to me when I realized how much of my life was completely upside down. I called my sponsor one morning when I was on the verge of hyper-ventilating with anxiety and I poured out all my frustration and fears to her amidst a sea of tears. At the end of my tirade she told me that she wanted me to make a list of things that I was grateful for. “What?? Has she been listening to me at all? She is either stupid or crazier than me!” That is what I was thinking but I managed just to say, “What do I have to be grateful for?” She started my thinking process off by naming two things. “How about the roof over your head? How about the fact that DSS has not taken your daughter away from you? Now, you finish the list. Get paper and a pen and start writing and call me back with your list when you are done.”

I was surprised to have a whole paper covered with things that I was grateful for. I have continued to make a gratitude list over the past 32 years. It always contains some of the same things that were on that first list. Somethings I am just constantly grateful for. Here is my “Top Ten” gratitude list today.

  1. I am clean and sober and reasonably sane.
  2. I have a conscious contact with my higher power. He knows my name.
  3. My daughters have grown into a women of faith and integrity.
  4. I am married to my soul mate and we have made a good life together.
  5. I have made amends to the people I have harmed and I continue to take my own inventory.
  6. I have everything I need in order to live comfortably.
  7. I have a few real friends today and I can recognize the ones who cannot be real.
  8. I am forgiven and I have forgiven.
  9. I like myself even though I am not perfect.
  10. I recognize self pity and deal with it swiftly by making a gratitude list.

For You have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. Psalm 63;7



One response

29 08 2009

Coni, It’s so funny that you should write about this. The gratitude part is something that God has been REALLY dealing with me lately, and is exactly where I’m going with my current blog story. Although I do not even remotely claim to know what it’s like to have been in your shoes, I can totally relate what you stated here: “I recognize self pity and deal with it swiftly by making a gratitude list.”

I am amazed over and over at the way God has transformed your entire life everytime you relate details of your past life. When you describe the way you used to be, it’s honestly a little hard to comprehend that as being you because it’s so far from what is reflected in your life now. Only God could take the mess that you describe and turn it into someone that reflects His glory and redemption so beautifully.

I love you and am so proud to stand along side with you and worship the God who has rescued us all from ourselves. Keep the blogs comin’! 😉


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